Free/Open Course: EdX

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I chose “Justice” ER22x because the description talks about human rights and debates on current controversial issues, which are very interesting to me. I don’t think this class, or type of class, is not built into my education curriculum, but I plan to study those kinds of topics outside of the classroom. I think free/open courses allow people who want to learn about a specific topic to get the information without paying for it or receiving credit. People need to be self-motivated and interested in the course content in order to be successful in completing the course. The fact that an open course can be free is another motivating factor for people to learn outside of a classroom and outside of degree requirements. Harvard’s open course initiatives imply that they want others who may not attend Harvard or who may not be able to afford higher education to have the opportunity to learn. I personally think that no one should be denied an education just because they can’t afford it.

https://www.edx.org/courses/HarvardX/ER22x/2013_Spring/about

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Post#4

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I think it is important for young students to learn how to properly search for information on the internet. I would have my elementary students use Yahooligans or Ask Jeeves for Kids or I’d pick out a small handful of predetermined sites. Web scavenger hunts are a great way for students to learn about the internet, reliable and non-reliable sites, and to get information on a topic they are learning in class. Other great online tools are online dictionaries, like Merriam-webster.com or dictionary.com. Students could use these sites to look up vocabulary words or words in their readings that they don’t know.

The internet is very important for student research. People are now able to even search for books on the internet in addition to other scholarly sources, which saves time. The time saved from searching for information in the library can be used for putting together a well thought out and well researched project or essay. It is important for students to understand how to search for credible sources and information as well as how to properly cite this material. The internet is not a good tool if students are using it to cheat, plagiarize, use incorrect information or use a site that does not have credibility.

To search and evaluate websites for school projects and papers, I mostly use google. I check first to see if the page looks professional. I don’t always check to see if the author is credible, but I have had to do that for a specific class in the past and it is always a good thing to do. Also, while reading the material I keep an eye out for spelling and grammar mistakes, and if I am unsure about a specific piece of information I will google it separately. The podcast mentioned most of those same ideas as well as noticing if the information is biased. As a future elementary school teacher, I realized from the podcast, the extreme importance of double checking websites. This is important not just to make sure the facts are right, but also to make sure the information and links are appropriate for the students’ age group.

I had never used Inspiration before this class, but I really like it! It is easy to figure out and I think it could be very useful for students of all ages. I hope Inspiration will be on the computers in my future classroom or computer lab because I think it is a fun and different way for students to organize their information, thought processes, or to make creative projects or outlines. I like that the program offers templates for various projects you might want to do as well as a blank canvas to start however you want. The ability to add pictures and graphics either in the diagram or separately is also a nice addition. I actually had a fun time playing with the colors, design, boxes, and graphics and plan to use it again in the future.

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Post#3

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The American Red Cross website is both aesthetically pleasing to look at as well as easy to find information. The home page grabs the reader’s attention using a slideshow of pictures with short descriptions. Information is organized by using different sized text and styles for headings, subheadings, and descriptions. The amount of color and bold text is limited and only used for emphasis. Text is left justified, black, and the appropriate length (not too long, but provides enough information). The name of the organization is large and in color at the top of every page. Navigation buttons are also in the same place on every page for easy access. The entire site is color coordinated using only three colors: red, black, and grey. Each page is not text heavy and uses illustrations, columns, and short descriptions to assist pictures. Uppercase and lowercase letters are utilized and paragraphs are double spaced instead of indented. This format is a good example for other organizations to follow when creating a website. (http://www.redcross.org/)

Open content and open source materials can be great resources for teachers. Many schools have limited funding in different areas like technology, so these sources can be a great way to get free information. Open source software is free and can be customized and shared. There are also various online forums if users need assistance. Open education classes are free classes for people to learn about a topic for free without needing the credit. This is a great way for teachers to learn new techniques. Teachers often share their own classroom ideas with other teachers, which is the same basic idea as these open sources. I have used open source software without realizing what it was and will continue to use it when funding and other resources are limited. It is not necessarily important for teachers to use these resources, but they will find that it very beneficial. Maybe one day I will make a contribution and share my own ideas or software.

Before the Word and Graphics 2 lesson I already knew how to use the tools we worked with, with the exception of “mail merge.” Although I probably won’t use the mail merge tool every day, or even as a student at all, it will be useful when I become a teacher. This tool will easily allow me to personalize letters to parents without having to create individual documents. I didn’t think of using shapes to design and organize a newsletter. This will be helpful for me to create newsletters for parents and projects for school as well as teach my students how to create colorful and creative projects. Creating the newsletter made me realize that it would be a good idea to have a classroom newsletter when I am a teacher. It is a great way to get information and important dates to parents. I thought it was a good idea to add a section about what the students learned that week so that parents could review with their child or at least have an idea about what’s going on in the classroom.
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Post#2

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Word has been the go-to program for both me and my teachers. I’ve used it mostly for essays and papers; sometimes including pictures in them. I often use the word count feature since most of my essays have a required minimum or maximum number of words. My teachers mostly use word to type up instructions for assignments and for their class syllabus. When I was in elementary school we would hand-write rough drafts but type our final draft so that it is more legible and edited. I realized a few activities I could do with my class using Word when reading chapter 9. Creating a newspaper or brochure is a great way for students to take information and put it into their own words and sentences in a creative way. Word also makes their writing more legible and organized and is many times faster than handwriting. To teach my students how to use Word and other computer features, putting them into groups is a great idea. Those who are experts on one topic can help others and also learn from others. One thing I didn’t think of before is to create matching activities for them using a table. Another great way to use the table feature is to have students record their grades and track their progress. At the end of the year or quarter they can graph the data.

I have heard many times from my teachers that they can’t put something on blackboard or they can’t make copies for everyone because it violates copyright laws. The podcast on copyright and fair use guidelines helps explain the reasons for such laws. As a teacher I will need to read and review these guidelines and make sure that I have permission to use certain items and works in my classroom. It is also important to teach my students about copyrighting and plagiarism so they don’t make the mistake of taking someone else’s work.

Through the Word & Graphics 1 assignment I learned that there are ways to edit a picture inside a word document, there is a feature to view two documents side by side, and under references there is an easy way to insert a citation. I think I will use these features a lot more now that I know where to find them and how to use them. I already knew how to make a table, but now I will use it to evenly space and organize information or test questions. Most of the tools we learned about in class were tools that I already use daily or have figured out how to use when I need them.

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Post #1

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I think computers are good tools to utilize in a classroom; however, I do not think they are the only tools. Computers allow for a different way of teaching and sharing information. Teachers can display information in interesting ways using programs or scavenger hunts on the computers. Students can construct their own learning and make presentations to share with the class. Many students will already know how to use a computer before they enter the classroom and some will not have had access to one. Students can then use their own knowledge to create interesting projects as well as share with their peers the different things they have learned. Using computers at a young age will better prepare them for the real world in this technological age. I do not think computers should or could replace teachers entirely because there are always problems that arise with technology or a need for further explanation on a topic that only human to human contact would fix. I also do not think that textbooks should completely go digital. Though I applaud the “green” approach, digital technology, such as computers or iPads, pose new problems that textbooks did not. For instance, staring at a screen for hours is bad for one’s eyes and, unlike a traditional textbook, the digital textbook could potentially run out of battery. Also, the technology (that has the ability to play games) could be a major distraction both in the classroom and during work time at home. Computers are a great tool to learn and present information, but should not be used as the sole tool.

I think it is important for students to have fun while they are learning. Educational games on the computer could therefore be a great way for children to learn. I will also teach my students how to use various programs, such as Word and Powerpoint, and have them use those programs for class projects. Before a test or quiz I could have them use a drill-and-practice program so they could receive immediate feedback and focus on the concepts that they need the most help on. I will also have them do computer scavenger hunts in order to quickly gather and analyze information as well as give them a break from regular classroom activities. I hope to find more ways to use technology in my classroom and learn how to effectively teach elementary school students about computers.

The label given to today’s youth is “digital native.” A digital native is someone who has grown up with technology. I think that accurately describes most but not all of today’s youth because not everyone has access to technology. I would consider myself a digital native because I have grown up using and figuring out how computers and other technology work. I think in most situations there is a visible difference between a digital native (i.e. student) and a digital immigrant (i.e. teacher). I can recall many times when my peers and I have taught our teacher how to do something on the computer. I think it is because we (as digital natives) have gradually learned how to use various programs and technologies whereas digital immigrants had to learn everything and apply it to their workplace almost immediately. Also, when people learn something at a young age it is easier to build from. I think there will always be differences among generations, especially due to growing technology. I don’t see this as a huge problem as long as the teacher knows how to use the programs and devices that they will be teaching and utilizing in the classroom. Since teachers (or people in general) cannot know everything about technology, this can provide an opportunity for students to become the teachers; whether it be to the teacher herself or to their peers. I don’t think that disqualifies or makes a teacher look bad, it allows the students to develop leadership skills.

Example Podcast

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Subject: Science

Grade Level: 4-5

Topic: Coral Reefs/Marine Ecosystem

Objective: To learn about an ecosystem and build vocabulary

Coral Reefs are an important part of the marine ecosystem. “Marine” is a fancy word for ocean and an “ecosystem” is the environment or surrounding area. Coral reefs are generally located in tropical areas, like the Florida Keys or Australia. Reefs in a marine ecosystem can act as a habitat, or a home, to many different types of animals. This habitat, as well as others, also provides food. Every ecosystem has its own food chain or food web, which basically describes what eats what. Some animals can even live inside the corals and build a symbiotic relationship with them called mutualism. “Mutualism” means that both the coral and the animal benefit from each other. For example, the organism gets a safe home and the coral gets its color, oxygen, and energy. Another relationship is called “parasitism” which is when one organism benefits while the other is harmed. Think about the two different relationships and some examples for each. Coral reefs act as a home and food source to many different kinds of animals. It is important to protect our environment, like reefs and other ecosystems.

 

Justification:

Podcasts are a good way to reinforce information learned in class; however I don’t think that it should replace face to face teaching. It could also be used as an interesting way to introduce a topic, but further instruction by a teacher is necessary for maximum student understanding. Podcasts are beneficial to verbal learners, but they do not benefit a wide variety of learners, such as visual and active learners.

Post#0

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I would consider myself technologically savvy. I have grown up using computers and taught myself how to use various programs. I used to make newsletters for fun and for my class in elementary school and worked on secondary school newspapers and yearbooks. I have also taken a web design class so I know the basics of HTML. I use my computer and iPhone almost everyday, but there is always something more I can learn!

I hope to learn more about how I can use technology as an aid in my future classroom in order for my students to get a well rounded education. I am also looking forward to learning more about excel, since I have never learned much about it.

It was interesting to take a survey and read about my learning style. I was fairly well balanced in the areas of “active and reflective” and “sensing and intuitive” although I was leaning more towards active and sensing. I do believe that I am, for the most part, balanced in those areas. I like to think about each detail as well as working hands-on and memorizing information. I am more of a visual learner according to the survey. I work best with lectures and taking notes, however I think the act of seeing the words in a textbook or seeing a picture/diagram is more helpful than listening to someone speaking. I would definitely consider myself more of a sequential learner than a global learner. I like to think out each step or detail to find a solution or understand a general concept. Overall I think the survey results reflected my personal learning style.

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