Monthly Archives: March 2013

Digital Textbook Report

Standard

What is a digital textbook? It is a textbook that can be accessed by computer-based technology, such as a computer, iPad, or e-reader.

Examples of using iPads in the classroom:

*Elementary Math classes can use the Math Quizzer app to learn, practice, and improve their skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Students  are asked to use this app on their devices at home for homework and studynig and during the class lesson. The teacher provides a “Try It Yourself” time in between teaching the different topics, which allow students to take a break from just listening to the teacher and have the opportunity to see if they have learned a particular skill.

I would give my students time during the lesson to practice each skill anyway, but this app gives the students a more interactive experience. I might also want to make it a class game and divide the room in half, so they can play against each other and learn along the way.

*In order to teach elementary school students about the different parts of a story and how the relate to each other, teachers have used the app “Toontastic.” This app allows students to create their own story and share it with friends and family. The lesson starts out with teaching or reviewing the elements of a story that are found in the app, then the student can create a story. Students share their story with other classmates and are asked to retell their classmate’s story and maybe answer a few questions.

I might also create my own story as an example to show students both how to use the app and what the different sections of a story are.  

My readiness for an iPad classroom:

*I know how to use an iPad, the app store, and how to connect an iPad to a computer or television for a larger view. However, I think I need to continue researching the different ways I can incorporate the use of an iPad into lessons to keep instruction interesting and interactive. I enjoy iPads for personal use and understand their practicality and usefulness in a classroom; however, I still don’t think they should replace paper textbooks. I like the fact that iPads elminate paper, but if students lose and damage textbooks  it will be much more expensive to give them all iPads. I think that it is also a lot easier to break an iPad and there could be wasted class time due to technical difficulties.

I think that the paper vs. digital textbook debate does not have a right or wrong answer. It is based on personal preference. My personal preference is a paper textbook, but I understand the advantages of digital textbooks. Maybe I need to have my own iPad in order to fully understand its various uses and how it could improve classroom quality and participation.

Post #9

Standard

I bet many of us forget that there are types of technology that are not computers and that they can be just as useful in the classroom. I think that peripherals and non-computer audio-visual technologies are underappreciated for their usefulness. Printers are peripherals that are used every day. Teachers can use printers to print students’ work and for giving out worksheets and letters/forms home to parents. Flash drives are another common peripheral that allows the transfer of computer documents/files. In my classroom I will use those items in addition to projectors, which allows me to display a normal sheet of paper as a larger size for the entire classroom to see. I might also use an audio or video recorder to record lessons for students who either want to review later or for students with disabilities. All of the peripherals and non-computer technologies can go hand in hand with other computer-based technology. For instance, a flash drive and a printer need a computer in order for them to be useful and a video or other recording of a lesson should be put on a class website, blog, or email for the students and parents to access.

I think Quizlet is an interesting web-based resource for teachers and students. Quizlet is basically online flashcards that can be shared or kept private. The site also provides two games, two other ways to study, and a test with the cards you create. Teachers can use this resource to post flashcards of new vocabulary terms or test review. A teacher could also turn it into a homework assignment by either telling students to play one of the games, go through the cards, or take the test the site creates for you. A student could utilize this site by creating his/her own cards to study and maybe sharing their set with his/her classmates.

I would use Quizlet in my classroom for various reasons, the first being that it eliminates the use of paper. In addition, if students will have iPads in the future for their textbooks, there is an app for Quizlet, which would allow their flashcards on this site to be portable. I would also use Quizlet because it offers two types of games to help students learn the information. Regardless of age, people love to play games. I use Quizlet as a college student to study for exams and I think elementary school students would also enjoy it. I could assign the games or other form of studying through Quizlet as homework or allow them to play during the school day in the computer lab. Quizlet also has a great function that allows you to print out your cards in different formats such as note cards and study guides. Although that is not the “green”-est approach, it could be useful to have a classroom set and/or to provide students who do not have access to computer-based technologies with the tools to study.

I am not very knowledgeable in using Excel, but I am always excited to learn something new. I think for my own personal purposes Excel could be useful, but I do not think that it is a program that would be suitable for elementary school children and their projects. I could use Excel for budgeting my money (personal use) or to keep a record of students’ grades and progress (school use). I could then create graphs or charts of student progress to show their parents. I think I will stick to Microsoft Word for most things. Word documents can be easily distributed, opened, printed, edited, and I am most comfortable with this particular program.

I enjoyed working on both PowerPoint assignments and I learned a few new things. I learned how to turn a symbol, picture, or word into an action button, how to disable clicking to the next item or slide (linear navigation), how to add sound when an image appears, and ultimately how to create a Jeopardy game! I don’t understand the full purpose of disabling linear navigation and I don’t think I will personally do that as a teacher. I think it is better to be able to decide when the next item should show up rather than it popping up at a set time or having to click on an action button. It would also be difficult if the presenter only had a clicker with the “next” button and not an actual mouse to click on an action button. My past teachers and fellow classmates have made jeopardy games before and I could never figure out how they did it. The final product is awesome and it is a great way for students to review material, but it takes a very long time to finish. I would like to use PowerPoint to create jeopardy for my future class, but I hope I will have enough time to make it. I also plan to use PowerPoint to make interactive multiple choice questions, which I learned how to create last week.

Post #8

Standard

I think there are more advantages than disadvantages to using presentation software in the classroom. Presentations benefit both the speaker and the audience. The speaker can use the presentation as notes to guide their lecture/speech. The audience can look up at the screen to catch material they missed as well as to write down the key facts from that slide/topic. The only disadvantage I could see with a presentation is that some people might read ahead on the screen and not pay attention to what the speaker is saying. So to solve that problem, I would hide the later information/points until the speaker is ready to talk about them. This way, the audience doesn’t jump ahead and/or miss something important that the speaker said and the speaker can stay on topic and follow the order of points they originally set.

The digital divide is the divide between those who do and don’t have access to technology as well as the knowledge and skills of using various technologies. Students who learn how to use technology, especially computers, early in life will have confidence and more job opportunities, while those students who did not have access to computers could have a disadvantage later in life. Jobs in technology, like information technology, are growing, so it is important to provide every student equal opportunity to enter that work force if they so choose. As a teacher, you should provide class time to allow students to complete projects that involve using the computer as well as teach basic and necessary computer skills. I have been privileged to have as much technology as I have and to have grown up that way. I never had to worry about how I would complete my projects. However, there will always be students who may not have access to technology, even as technology increases over the years. So I will be sensitive to those who will not have access to a computer and provide alternative/additional ways to get the projects done.

The digital divide is always a concerning issue. I imagine it will sometimes be difficult to make enough time for the computer lab to complete projects, but everyone deserves a fair chance to learn and to do their work to the best of their ability. Another issue regarding technology in education is online plagiarism. For high school, and maybe even middle school, students they can turn in their papers to an online site that checks for plagiarism. However, younger students do not necessarily know what plagiarism is and there is also not a very good/effective way to check if a student copied their project. Most projects are physical at a younger age; meaning they cannot be turned in over the internet, they are handed in in their physical form. It is important to teach students at a young age what plagiarism is, that it is illegal, and how to cite the websites they used (even if it has to be in a simple form).

Here is a link to the top 10 technology issues in education today: http://www.education.com/reference/article/ten-issues-shaping-today-technology/

Post#7

Standard

I think presentation software, like PowerPoint, is a great tool for teaching. It serves as a visual aid for students to look at and read if they missed something the teacher said. Teachers can choose what comes up on the screen at what time; so if they don’t want students reading ahead they can prevent the next set of information from showing up on the screen. Or teachers can put a question on a slide to get a class discussion going and provide the answer later. Presentation software allows teachers to display information in different formats. They can add videos, graphics, change the font color, and add effects. PowerPoint presentations are also good for student projects. PowerPoint is easy to learn and is a great way for students to connect ideas and show their understanding of the information. Studies have also shown that the act of organizing information or seeing information presented in an organized manner helps students learn more efficiently. I am also a fan of Prezi, which is a more entertaining presentation and is online and free. It might be a little more difficult for younger students, but it is great for teacher lectures and middle and high school student projects.

Every teacher will have a student with a disability during their career. It is important to understand the various technologies that can help all students to learn, participate, and understand the information and tend to each student’s individual needs. This technology is called adaptive or assistive technology. The Americans with Disabilities Act says that no one can be discriminated against because of his/her disability. Teachers must (and should want to) make accommodations or adjustments for students to reach their full, learning potential. There are alternative input and output devices, magnification tools, and so much more. Students with a learning disability or who are visually impaired can also get all of their course materials in a digital format that is read to them. Teachers should be aware of the different disabilities they could come in contact with and should definitely know all of the disabilities in their own classroom. It is important for teachers to also be aware of how they design worksheets or display information on the computer. Some students might be sensitive to or cannot see certain colors, and students who have technology that reads their material for them will not be able to see graphics, so it would be beneficial for them to have alternative descriptions. Utilizing assistive technology, modifying instruction and materials, and learning about various disabilities does take some time, but it is all worth it when your students are able to reach their full potential.

I took a web design class in high school, so I know how to write my own code using HTML and CSS or Dreamweaver. However, even though Dreamweaver is a great program that allows you to create any website design you can think of, it costs a lot of money. I enjoyed this week’s assignment because I enjoy any type of design and I liked that we were given a list of websites that help you to create a website for free. The simple drag and drop option on Weebly is very similar to using Dreamweaver, but is a little more restrictive. If you know HTML and/or CSS Weebly gives you access to the code, so you could go into it and change certain aspects if you wanted to. Or if you didn’t like a specific aspect of your page and don’t know HTML/CSS, you could ask Weebly employees for direct assistance. It was very easy for me to create and design my website and add information. I plan to use this web design site, or one similar to it, when I create the website for my future class.

Image