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