Sunday, April 29, 2012

Group's Final PBL

Photo from flickr.com by Geoffery Kehrig
Photo from flickr.com by Geoffery Kehrig
By the end of the semester my group planned out a portion of the first PBL that we created.  This PBL was about getting rid of labels in special education.  Due to the fact that each one of us aspires to become a special education teacher we found this topic to be of extreme importance.  By labeling special education students with negative stereotypes they are viewed as less worthy than other students that are supposedly "normal."  When this is done special education students seem to be pushed to the side and forgotten about because people don't expect as much from them.  To get rid of these harsh labels the purpose of our PBL is to show the world that students in special education are the same as everyone through making a video.  These personal story videos are what this part of our PBL was all about.  Before we just wrote a brief outline of the entire PBL.  This time we just wrote about the video that the students would be making, what technologies they would use to accomplish this, and so on.  When all was completed, at least completed with the hand written portion of the PBL I could not believe how much work it was.  There is so much planning and decision making in the creation of a PBL.  Even though so much work was put into just this tiny portion of the PBL I was very proud of myself by the end.  I felt really good about myself that I put so much work into creating something that is so worthwhile for my students.  From my own experience I would seriously recommend other educators at least try doing a PBL.  For more information on how to do so visit this website to get an overview of how to design one. 

Podcasts

During my Classroom Computer Applications course we had the chance to create our own podcast.  Prior to this assignment I did not have much background knowledge about what podcasts are.  All I really knew was that they were audio recordings about a specific topic.  When given this assignment I thought it would be really difficult to do because I had no idea how to put one together or what to include in it.  However, when my group and I started working on our co-teaching podcast it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  With the use of Garage band we were able to put our audio tracks and music together in an easy and efficient way.  After making this podcast I was able think of ways in which I could use it in a classroom.  Instead of having the students make a power point and come up the class to present it the students could just make a podcast instead.  If you want your students to make a podcast in your classroom, follow this detailed lesson outline

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Homeless Veterans Awareness

Today, I learned about homeless veterans and the various programs that are out there to help veterans that have found themselves in this situation.  These types of programs exist because of the harsh conditions that people that are homeless are faced with such as poor health, lack of food, etc.  Lastly, awareness of this issue was a big point that was made during the presentation.  We need to be aware that this is happening and do something about it.
To get this awareness out there for people and homeless veterans to see I posted information on a specific program on a poster.  For my poster I researched different programs that homeless veterans have offered to them.  One that stood out to me was the Drop-in Centers that the Homeless Veterans Fellowship program provides.  I really liked these centers because many homeless veterans are too proud to receive any benefits, so I think it is great that they have this center where they can come in, clean up, and have a variety of activities that they can participate in.  These activities are therapeutic and rehabilitative because many homeless veterans are in a tough place and they may need these types of emotional programs.  For more information on HVF and their Drop-in Centers visit:

http://www.homelessveterans.org/dropin.html#help



Thursday, April 19, 2012

Boundless Playground

Here is the playground I made from Google sketchup.  I was unable to export it so I just took a picture of the playground.  Sorry it is so small.  It has a jungle gym, tree house, fountain, hopscotch, a sandbox, and a playhouse.  I really liked using this software even though it was tough to get a handle on the how to use it.  If I were to do this again I would most definitely play around with all of the tools more and know what I was doing because from what I can see from my finished product it very disproportionate and not to scale.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Inspiration Glog

Today in Classroom Computer Applications class we learned about Glogsters. This was my first time hearing about this new technology and I had a lot of fun putting it together.  For those of you who have never created one before try it out and spread some inspirational words to people everywhere. 

To view my glog, click the link below:
http://www.glogster.com/mpotratz90/inspiration/g-6ljn438oshm3nnmvmrcjga0

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Using Interactive Whiteboards

Photo from flickr.com by Mr. Jay Yohe
Interactive whiteboards started coming into the classroom right around the time that I graduated from high school and started college.  I distinctly remember in my senior year math class this laptop that could be transformed into a tablet that my teacher could write on.  What she wrote on that tablet was transferred to the projector which projected what she wrote onto the screen for us to see.  While this isn't exactly an interactive whiteboard it was the closest thing to an interactive whiteboard that was used when I was a student.  Well, before college anyway.  When I came to college I saw a few Promethean boards here and there in my classrooms that were mounted up onto the whiteboards or in some cases the blackboards.  And no I am not joking I have still seen blackboards in the classroom and even more surprisingly the blackboards in the classroom were being used to teach.  Anyway, let's get back to the topic on hand.  For the most part these boards were not used.  Most likely this was due to the fact that they are relatively new and most people don't have much if any experience using them.  I myself am a technology education minor and have limited experience with using and understanding them.  In fact my first experience using one happened just less than a month ago when I was doing my Level III field experience.  While there I had the opportunity to teach the students using the classroom's Promethean board.  It was a little confusing at first, and truth be told I am still a little confused, but after a while I got the hang of it's most basic functions.  And do you know what I learned from this experience?  I really enjoyed using them.  Sure they were a hassle at first, but if you think about it anything is a hassle until you have enough practice with it.  I just wish that I had more time to explore all of the different functions that they have.  As I was using the board I would think about different things I could incorporate into my lessons using the boards.  Not only would are they beneficial to the teacher, but the students can use them too and more importantly they find it fun.  When you can incorporate fun into learning then you have found an effective way to teach.  There are a variety of practical things you can use interactive white boards for here is a website that explains some of those ways in which I have used them and how you can use them, too.