Reflecting on EDU 451: Technology in the Classroom

Technology is the Future of Our Classrooms 

Before beginning EDU 451: Technology in the Classroom, I had heard about technological resources that could be used in the classroom, but I didn’t know how to incorporate them into my lessons. Reflecting back upon this course, I have learned about multiple technological resources that can be incorporated into lessons to make them more effective and engaging. I began working on my Teacher Work Sample just a few weeks ago and I have already incorporated technology into one of my first lessons. I incorporated Poll Everywhere into a lesson plan so I could see if there were students who had read the book we are about to start reading. I really enjoyed building my personal learning network this semester and I want to continue to use Twitter throughout next semester and my future teaching. I have learned that Twitter is a great place to share resources that you find helpful and also to find resources that other educators have found to be helpful in their classrooms. I have learned so much in this course and I feel that I’m  more prepared to teach in a classroom that uses technology to engage students.

Check out my course summary!:

https://tiffanyp2015.makes.org/popcorn/2kuh

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How Can Universities Prepare Pre-Service Teachers for Technology Use in the Classroom?

Throughout my academic career, I have been in a variety of different classrooms. Most of the classrooms have been based on direct instruction while a few of them have been group/center based. Reflecting back upon my elementary/middle/high school years, I notice that most of my time in the classroom was spent listening to a lecture and then completing worksheet after worksheet. It’s important to realize that classrooms are changing, and along with change comes new opportunities for students. Just in the past four years I have spent in college, I have noticed a change in instruction in the classroom. Rather than having direct instruction in classrooms, teachers are moving towards more technology based centers and learning. It’s important as pre-service teachers that we are learning new strategies/technological resources to teach the content that our students are required to learn.

Before this semester I had heard about different technological resources that could be used in the classroom. Some of these resources I learned from my fellow elementary education majors, while other resources I had heard about from professors at Lenoir-Rhyne. I knew classrooms were headed in a direction where more technology sources would be available to students. During this Fall I have had the opportunity to be a part of EDU 451 which is a class that is based upon learning and sharing ideas of technology in the classroom. Before taking this class, I had no idea on how uniformed I was about technology in the classroom.

Now that this semester is coming to an end, I can state that I have learned about countless technological resources I can use in the classroom. Just a few of these include Nearpod, Poll Everywhere, 3-D Gamelab, Kahoot!, and many more. I have many different options to choose from when I try to incorporate these new ideas into my lesson plans. For example, I just used Poll Everywhere in my first lesson plan for my Teacher Work Sample and I’m really excited for my students to use this technological resource. It’s important to note that when I first began this course I had trouble finding technology to incorporate into my lesson plans. Now when I’m developing lessons, I try to think about all of the resources I have learned and it’s much easier to pick one to incorporate into my lesson that I think will be beneficial to my students. EDU 451 was a great class in the way that it prepared me for my future classroom and how to develop a classroom that had more use for technology.

There are many ways that a university can prepare pre-service teachers for technology use in the classroom. One way to prepare pre-service teachers is allowing them to take a course about technology. EDU 451-Technology in the classroom has allowed me to learn about different websites and apps that I can incorporate into my lessons. Another way a university can prepare pre-service teachers is by allowing them to attend a conference in which they learn about new technology. The Digital Days conference at Newton Conover Middle School had a great impact on my learning in the way that I learned about more websites/apps that I can use in my future classroom. These are two ways universities can prepare their pre-service teachers for technology use in the classroom. If universities allow pre-service teachers the opportunity to learn and incorporate technology into their teaching I feel that future classrooms will offer a fun and exciting learning experience for our future students.

The Use of Cell Phones During Class

Throughout my entire academic career, the use of cell phones during class hours has been a debatable topic. There are individuals who believe the use of cell phones during class can be beneficial, and there are many people who believe cell phones should only be used outside of school. In my personal opinion, I feel that cell phones can be beneficial for students in the classroom.

While attending my internship this semester, I have had the opportunity to see the benefits of students using cell phones in the classroom. Although they aren’t necessarily referred to as cell phones, my cooperating teachers like to refer to them as “devices for learning”. During my first day at internship I noticed there were many students who were using iPads and tablets to complete their AM (Accelerated Math). Not only were some students using these devices, there were other students who were using cell phones to complete their objectives in AM. I automatically thought back to when I was in elementary school and even high school and how I was never allowed to use my cell phone during school hours. It’s important to note that technology is always changing therefore school systems are having to change with technology. Seeing the use of technology and cell phones in my internship has caused me to look at the use of cell phones from a different perspective.

Cell phones can be beneficial in the classroom in many ways. As I mentioned earlier, my students use their cell phones to complete AM during home room every morning. One other way my students use their devices is to complete assignments on Edmodo. Using their cell phones has allowed them to post assignments and socialize with other students in the classroom. Although this is beneficial for the students, it can also be beneficial to their teachers as well. I have noticed that my cooperating teacher spends less time printing out AM papers since students are able to complete their objectives using their devices. Also, I have noticed how students are more engaged with their learning if they are able to use technology (cell phones) to complete their assignments. This allows students a chance to use technology instead of the common form of pencil and paper assignments. Since I have been at my internship I haven’t noticed any students off task while using their cell phones, but I do feel that this may occur if teachers allow the use of cell phones in their classroom. Although it’s likely to occur, I feel that if teachers monitor the use of cell phones in their classroom, it can be beneficial to the students and the teachers.

Ways to Use Technology to Facilitate Differentiation in the Classroom

Recently I had the opportunity to attend digital days (an educational conference) at Newton Conover Middle School. In one of the sessions I learned a lot about using technology to facilitate differentiation in the classroom. There were some websites and apps mentioned that I had heard of prior to the conference, but there were many that I learned about during the class session. In this blog post I want to discuss these websites and apps so hopefully other educators will find them as useful and effective as I did.

The first website/app that was mentioned was Nearpod (http://www.nearpod.com/rocking-webIE/). This website is a great tool in the way that it allows teachers to present differentiated lesson plans to students. As a teacher, you can create your own Nearpod account and add presentations for students. The neat thing about Nearpod is that you as the teacher have 100 % control of the presentation. You are able to move slides and pause the screen and students don’t have access to moving ahead in the lesson unless you allow them access. This website can be extremely helpful in the way that it offers teachers the opportunities to make quizzes for an individual student. This allows for differentiated learning in the classroom and also allows the teacher to administer a formative assessment. Teachers can also incorporate free response questions throughout the presentation for students to complete and once they do, it is shown on the teachers screen. I love this website and I plan to use it in my future classroom.

The next app that was mentioned was Todo Math. This is an app designed for students to play math games. This app has different concepts for students to work on which allows them to complete different levels according to the math concepts they have mastered. There is not a log in for students on this app so it’s important to monitor students’ activity on the app. You can monitor their progress by asking them to take a screenshot on the iPad so they can show you what they accomplished in that center. I thought this was a great app for students to use because it allows them to receive math practice according to the level they are on.

The third app discussed in the session was Raz-Kids. This is an app that is designed for reading instruction. You as the teacher can place students on a specific reading level. Also, you are able to select books for the students to read or they are able to listen to the audio recording of the book. This app highlights each word as students are listening which allows them to receive more practice with text directionality. There is a quiz at the end of each book which allows the teacher to see if the student understood the material. I like this app because it allows teachers to set students on their academic reading level which allows for differentiation.

The fourth app that was discussed in the session was Spelling City. This app is designed for students to get more practice with spelling. I found this app to be very helpful because teachers are able to upload their spelling lists and students are able to get more practice with classroom spelling. I like how you can incorporate your own spelling words because this allows students to practice spelling in a technological way. Students will be more excited about spelling if they are able to use technology. I definitely want to use this app in my future classroom.

Lastly, the app Sock Puppets is an app designed for main idea and story elements. I absolutely loved this app and how it can be used in the classroom to facilitate differentiation. This app allows groups of students to create a sock puppet play and they are able to choose the plot, characters, and main idea. Students can record a conversation between two characters for 30 seconds. This app also helps with students’ social skills since it allows them to record their voice. This app is great to use in the classroom and I’m sure students would love to have the opportunity to use this technology.

All of these websites and apps can be incorporated in the classroom to facilitate differentiation. Not only do they help students reach academic goals, but they are learning strategies that students enjoy. I found all of these websites and apps to be helpful in the way they provide differentiation in the classroom.

Using Technology to Engage Parents as Partners in their Child’s Learning

For my blog post this week I will be discussing how we as teachers can engage parents in our classroom community. Throughout my college classes I have learned that parent involvement is extremely important to a child’s learning success. Being in my internship this fall has proved how parent involvement is key in a classroom. In the past couple weeks I have learned many ways to incorporate parents in the classroom by using technology.

One technological way to engage parents in the classroom is the use of email. My cooperating teachers use email to communicate with parents and it seems to work fairly well. Using email to communicate with parents allows teachers to share information with parents about the classroom. I feel that email is a great way to connect with parents because there are some situations where contacting the parent by phone may not always be effective. Email is a quick way to communicate with parents about a student’s academic performance, behavior, upcoming events, etc.  In my educational courses at Lenoir-Rhyne I have learned how effective it is to contact parents about a student’s strengths in the classroom. All parents want to hear positive things about their child and it’s important for teachers to use email to communicate their child’s strengths in the classroom. Relaying this information to parents allows them to see how you want the best for their child. I think this is important to remember as we begin our teaching careers. I plan to use email to contact parents in my future classroom.

Another technological way to incorporate parents in the classroom is the use of weekly newsletters. My cooperating teacher is a great model for this use of technology. Each week she sends out an online newsletter to inform parents of weekly information. The newsletter informs parents on subjects/content covered that week, upcoming projects/field trips, and events in the classroom. I love the idea of connecting with parents using a weekly newsletter. If parents are more aware of their students’ success in the classroom, they are more likely to support their child. I have found this to be extremely effective in the classroom and I feel that this is a great way to reach out to parents and include them in the classroom community. Also, my cooperating teacher often asks for volunteers during certain block times and the newsletter allows her to ask for that volunteer help. Below is a link to my cooperating teacher’s newsletter for the week of October 20th, 2014.

   https://www.smore.com/uknq8-e-team-newsletter?ref=email 

(Jessica Esposito, 4th Grade, Blackburn Elementary School)

Smore (https://www.smore.com/) is a great website to create newsletters. This site allows teachers to produce a flyer that can be accessed online or printed to send home with students. In my opinion, sending the flyer via email is more effective over sending the newsletter home with students. Using weekly newsletters engages parents in their child’s learning by including them as part of the classroom community.

Although many schools have parent involvement on their school intervention plans, I feel there are ways to increase involvement in the classroom. Email and newsletters are just a couple of ways to use technology to engage parents. I feel that these methods will push for a better community in the classroom by allowing parents to be a part of their child’s learning success.  

 

Examples of Social Media Tools for Student Engagement/Deep Learning

Throughout my years in elementary school, I along with my classmates, were always thrilled at the thought of using technology to complete assignments or engage with one another. I’ve always kept this in mind when I form lessons for elementary students. By using technology we are catching the attention of our students and engaging with them on a level that interests them. I have witnessed this first hand in my internship.

One piece of social media that I have found to be very interesting to use in an elementary setting is Edmodo (https://www.edmodo.com/) My cooperating teacher uses this site to allow students to connect with one another. During the second week of school, students set up Edmodo accounts which they were ecstatic about. This site allows students to create or upload their own profile picture (similar to Facebook) and they are able to communicate with each other on the site. I know many parents would automatically think about the safety of their children on this website, but the teacher is capable of allowing only students from her class to engage with one another. I have had the opportunity of watching these students associate with one another on Edmodo. I’m actually set up on their Edmodo account therefore I can see everything that is posted as well as my cooperating teacher. This social media site is extremely beneficial to students. They are able to connect with one another on a level that is interesting to them. I log on to Edmodo consistently to see the conversations my students are having. I think this is a great social media site because students are capable of socializing with their classmates during the evenings and on the weekends which pushes for a better sense of community in the classroom. By logging on this weekend and looking at the conversations of my students, I have noticed many conversations among students. This social media site is effective in the way that it also ties in educational factors as well. Teachers can post polls and quizzes on the site and students are responsible for completing them. This allows teachers to store information on one website and allows them to cut back on paper materials. Overall I have noticed this social website is extremely effective in the classroom and allows students to engage with one another on a website that interest them.

Another piece of media I have found to be extremely helpful is NearPod ( http://www.nearpod.com/). I found out about this website through the SIOP course at Lenoir-Rhyne. I found this website to be very effective in the way that it pushes for interactive lessons between teachers and students. Dr. Linton uses this site often in her lessons and it engages myself along with my classmates tremendously. This website allows teachers to produce lessons that engage students on their academic level. Teachers are able to set up their lessons that are similar to that of a PowerPoint, but it allows students to give feedback and type responses to questions during the presentation. After students reply with their answers, they submit them and the teacher is able to see all of their responses. If the teacher chooses, she can put the responses on the screen at the front of the classroom which allows students to see all of the responses to the question. I find this very effective because students are able to connect with their classmates on an educational level. I love how this site is teacher directed therefore the teacher can move the slides herself so students are able to stay on track with their iPads. This site is meaningful in the way that it engages students and creates interactive lessons which students find interesting.

One other source that I find helpful is Go Noodle. (https://www.gonoodle.com/) Although this site isn’t necessarily set up for social purposes, I have found it to be very helpful for students. When teachers develop lesson plans for students, it’s common for students to not get a break from the lesson or receive social time with friends. This website allows teachers to give students a quick break from a lesson by getting them out of their seats and moving around the classroom. The website has songs and dances which allows students to release some of their energy. Students LOVE socializing with their friends during the dances which allows them to get a break from the teacher directed lesson. I feel that this website pushes for success in the classroom because it allows students to get a break from every day lessons. By taking a break, students are more likely to focus during the lesson if they know they will receive a break mid-way through the instruction. Also, students get rated on their dance technique by Go Noodle. This pushes students to try their best to receive a good score. I love this website and I plan to use it in my future classroom.

Lastly, I have found the website- smore ( https://www.smore.com/) to be very helpful in parent involvement. This website is designed for the set-up of flyers to relay information. My cooperating teacher uses this site for her weekly newsletters. My cooperating teacher sends a newsletter out weekly to students’ parents. She can put any information about assignments, upcoming projects, field trips, etc. on the flyer so parents are informed about upcoming events. I have found this to be very important when socializing with parents because it establishes a positive connection which will benefit my future classroom. Parent involvement is extremely important in elementary schools. Many school improvement plans push for more parent involvement and this site is one way to establish that social connection with parents.

These sites have proven there are many ways to establish social connections between students and parents. By using these social media tools, teachers are more likely to set their students up for success. Although there are countless websites that can be used in a classroom environment, I have found these four to be extremely helpful in developing a sense of community in the classroom.

Cooking with TPACK Video

For my cooking with TPACK video, I chose the task of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I had to use a small plate, a Rubbermaid plastic bowl and a spatula. In the video, I had to re-purpose the spatula so I could make the sandwich. Since the end of the spatula wouldn’t fit in either jar, I had to use the handle to scoop out the peanut butter and the jelly. In my opinion, using the handle to scoop out the peanut butter wasn’t very difficult. The most difficult part of the experience was getting the jelly out of the jar. I had to tilt the jar so it would fall out of the jar. I learned that sometimes it’s necessary to re-purpose an object to fit your needs. I feel that this experience can relate greatly to my future classroom. I may not have all the particular objects I need in the future, but the important thing to remember is how I can use what I have to fit the needs of my students. An example of this can be seen in technology. We may be capable of using different programs in our classroom, but it’s important for us to be able to incorporate the needs of students in these programs. It’s all about how we use the services that are offered to us. It may be difficult and involve a heavy thought process, but we should remember that we are capable of providing to our students even if it means re-purposing an object or program to fit their needs.

http://youtu.be/3W2oYJhYih8

Learning, Understanding and Conceptual Essay

For this essay I chose to answer the first two questions- What is learning? & How do the learning processes of experts and novices differ? While thinking about what learning is, I related my essay to the reading in How People Learn. I explained how everyone has different learning processes and learning knowledge verses memorizing it. In the second part of my essay I explained how experts are likely to notice more characteristics over novices. I related this to the book as well. In the conclusion of my essay, I explained how the reading and these questions will help future educators with relaying difficult information to their students. Continue reading