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.