Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blog about Blogs

For this blog I decided to talk about how the use of blogs can be great in the educational field.  First, I will explain how they are helpful to the teacher on a more reflective basis.  Second, I will explain how they can be a great resource inside of the classroom.  As I said before blogs can be a great thing for teachers to have because they are basically an online journal.  Instead of writing about their life and what is going on they can use the blog to reflect on their teaching.  After they complete a new lesson or activity the teacher should take time to reflect on how well it went to see if it was a good choice in the end.  They could reflect on the things that went right and the things they may need to change or get rid of altogether.  Another great thing about blogs is that since they are posted online others can read them and post comments.  If other teachers read their blogs about their lessons then they can comment on things that they could change in order to make the lesson or activity better.  They could also provide other activities they could use to enhance the lesson and make it better.  This is a nice feature to have because teachers can provide feedback for one another.  There is nothing more reliable than the feedback from anther teacher.  The second thing blogs are good for is that they are great for the classroom.  When I was doing my level 2 field experience at Price Lab my mentor teacher had a class blog where she and her students posted what they were doing in class.  I think that it is a wonderful idea to have a class blog and I hope to have one every year when I am a teacher.  I think that it is important for parents to know what their children are doing in school because they spend so much time there.  On the blog you can post fun activities that you did in class as well as pictures of the students doing them.  You could also post upcoming events so that parents know what is going on.  While having weekly news letters are great the process of getting them to the parents is tricky because they might get lost on the way home from school, but by having a blog you can post more things for the parents to see and the parents will also have a better shot at seeing it.  These two ideas of how a blog can be helpful have made me want to continue to have a blog.  I think that it would be great to receive feedback from fellow teachers on how my teaching practices are going as well as being able to show parents what their children are doing in my class.  There are many other ways in which blogs can be useful in the classroom.  Here is a website that you can go to in order to find more ways in which blogs can be used in the classroom. 

Image from flickr.com by:  MNicoleM

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Assistive Technology in the Classroom

When I decided that I wanted to become a teacher the first thing I had to decide was what I wanted to teach.  There are just so many options out there to choose from.  But, luckily for me the decision wasn't to hard to make.  I knew right off the bat that I wanted to teach lower elementary and even more specifically I wanted to teach special needs children.  When I was looking at the course list for this program I saw a course that was all about assistive technology.  When I first saw this course I couldn't believe that they had a course just for what I believed was wheel chairs and other devices that help disabled students get around.  But, about a week ago in my Educational Technology and Design class the lecture focused on assistive technology and I couldn't believe how wrong I was about this course.  Assistive technology isn't just for students who are physically disable through means of walking but for all students that need something special to help with their learning.  There are so many different types of assistive technology ranging from different types of computers and computer programs to special pencil grips for students that have a  hard time with holding a pencil and being able to write.  One type of technology that I learned about during this lecture that I really liked were the types of computers and their programs.  For the students that have difficulty with speaking clearly they can type in what they want to say and the computer will be their voice for them.  If a student has a really hard time seeing they could either make the text really big or they could have the text spoken to them so that they can hear what is written.  Also, if the student is completely blind and they needed to write a paper they could say what they want to write and the computer will transcribe it into text.  I just touched on a few basic assistive technologies but there are so many more out there that teachers need to be aware of.  I think that all teachers need to be aware of these different technologies because it is most likely you will have a student in your class with some sort of special need that you will need to find a way to accommodate them, so it will be to your advantage if you educate yourself on the different assistive technologies you can have for those children use to help them with their learning.  To get you started here is a link that will take you to a list of different types of assistive technologies that you can use in your classroom.  I hope that I will be able to learn more types of assistive technologies and be able to incorporate them into my room because every child has a right to learn no matter what special needs they have and if having to educate myself on the types of assistive technologies that are available then I am going to do it.  I know that educating yourself on these new technologies might be more work but children with special needs deserve as good an education as regular education students.  Everyone and not just teachers needs to get the mentality that just because someone is disabled doesn't mean they are broken.  Depending on the disability they can do the same things as a regular education student.  Following is a YouTube video that I watched for one of my classes of a woman who has two prosthetic legs that speaks about people with special needs and how they should be treated the same.  I thought it was very moving to watch and I hope you do to. 

Image from flickr.com by macattck

Monday, March 28, 2011

Google Docs is the Way to Go!

For my Educational Technology and Design class we have been required to use the Google Docs to for many of our assignments.  At first I was a little leary about using them because I had never heard of them let alone used them before.  I didn't think that I would be able to use them as well as I can use the different Microsoft programs, but surprisingly I found that the different Google Docs programs were easy to manipulate and had a variety of programs that I can use that you can't do with the normal Microsoft programs.  Because the Google Docs programs are so simple to use and they provide a variety of options I believe they would be a great asset for a teacher to use in a classroom.  Now a days students are very much connected to the internet and they love to share their lives with their friends through the Internet.  Because the Google Docs is an Internet based program the users of the programs are able to publish their work so that others can view it.  There are a variety of programs that a teacher can incorporate in their classroom.  One of the programs a teacher could use is the traditional Google docs.  What's great about this documents page is that once a students completes their writing in the program they are able to share it with a peer or their teacher and they will be able to view and read it and write comments on it for the original writer to view and be able to make changes in their writing.  Another program they could use is the Google sites.  The Google sites is easy to maneuver and the students will be able to make a web page for an assignment very easily.  Another program the students can use is the spreadsheet version of the Google docs.  One feature that I just learned about that you can use with the spreadsheet program is that you can make an online survey.  I think that this is a great option to use in the classroom because it is a way to poll your class and to get everyones opinion on a particular concept.  Because I liked the survey tool so much I am going to display it for you.  The survey I made for this blog relates to the thematic unit on health and nutrition that I am currently working on.  Here is a link to my survey so you can view it yourself. 

Image form flickr.com by dannysullivan

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bringing Technology to the Students

Today in my Educational Technology and Design class we had a guest speaker come in and speak to us about mobile and 1:1 learning.  To be completely honest I had never heard of these terms before.  For those of you who don't know what mobile and 1:1 learning is it is a method of teaching students that is technology based where each student has their own laptop or technological device that they would use frequently in and outside of class to use in their learning.  By having technology readily available for each of the students to use in their classrooms the students will be able to take charge of their own learning instead of the old fashioned way where the teacher is the primary source of education.  After listening to this lecture and seeing how much technology is benefiting the students I believe that when I graduate and am looking for a teaching position I would want to find a school that has adopted the mobile and 1:1 learning method. With technology advancing so much and the amount of time students spend using these new devices it seems completely ridiculous to me to teach in the old ways of pencil and paper and dry erase boards.  Students get bored when they are learning through these archaic methods.  If you want students to learn and to even want to learn you need to adjust your methods with the times.  And right now the times are telling you that technology is the way to teach.  More and more technology is coming available to the public and I'm sure more is on the way and it won't ever stop.  It is your job as educators to educate yourself on these new advancements so that you are able to implement them daily in your teaching.  We are living in a digital age and we need to use these new technologies to better our teaching.  I know that this seems like it may be a daunting task to educate yourselves about all of these new advancements but in the long run you will be glad that you did.  I myself am not very good when it comes to technology and I am only 20 and grew up in this digital age that we are in.  But, if training myself to learn these new technological advancements means I will be a better teacher to my students and that my students will get more out of my teaching then I'm glad that I took the time to better my teaching. I believe in teaching my students in a way that best fits them and technology is the way to do it.  For more information about mobile and 1:1 learning this class that I am currently taking has us do these RWLDs to prepare us for our lectures.  Here is the cite to a particular RWLD that will help you gain a better understanding of this topic. 

Image from flickr.com:  by One Laptop per Child

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ed Tech and Design

My name is Megan and I am taking Educational Technology and Design.