Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Digital Story

Check out my digital story!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Technology Rich Lesson Plan

Done with Brooke Holmes!
Summary of Article:
The article we read entitled "Effective and Appropriate Uses of Educational Technology in Science Classrooms" by Karen E. Irving really opened our eyes to the use of technology inside the classroom. In our class we have talked about many ways we could incorporate ways of using technology in our lesson plans, but I have never thought about using technology to teach science. One of the most interesting things in the article was when they talked about how people are more successful learners when they are presented with both words and pictures. Words alone can not help you comprehend a subject as well. Mayer argued that words and pictures were not the same and do not need to balance each other out, the simply gave complementary information to the learner. We both thought this was an interesting part of the article because it we thought that words would have a more powerful effect on a student when learning a subject. But when we thought about this in our own studying we would always look for the pictures first and then read the information (or text) afterward. This would help us retain the information for a longer period of time. Mayer gives six suggestions on designing lesson plans with the images, narration and text. The suggestion that we thought was most interesting was the temporal contiguity principle. This principle says that images and text should be shown together at the same time, because the student will more than likely store that image in their short-term memory and they will be able to recall this information faster and be able to organize it more efficiently.

How did our technology rich lesson compare?
For our technology lesson we had the students complete a webquest about a day in the life of a colonist. Before we taught them our mini-unit on the 13 original colonies we wanted them to have a chance to experience what it would be like if they had to live like the colonists did. Just like in the article that we just read, we wanted to take a normal subject that you could teach out of the textbook and make it interesting using visuals, text, sounds and animations. Before we went to the computer lab we did a KWL chart with the students asking them what they knew, what they wanted to know and when we came back from the computer lab we had them fill out things that they learned from the webquest.

We split the students up into partnerships and had them complete a worksheet with questions from the webquest. If time allowed they were able to play some of the fun games, learn how to make candles and read extra information on the webquest we selected. The students had an enjoyable time while learning.

Just as in the article we read, we combined many aspects of learning into one lesson plan. we integrated writing, verbal communication, reading, and technology. By doing all of these different aspects in just one lesson plan got the attention of every learning need from each of the students in our classroom.

Implementation of our lesson plan:
For our technology lesson we did a webquest about the thirteen colonies. We started our lesson out with a KWL chart to find out what the kids knew and what they wanted to learn. Then we split the kids into partners by their reading levels. We had the higher readers mixed with the lower readers. Then we took them to the computer lab. We had them sign in to their computers and open up the internet. We needed them all on the same website so we wrote this website on the board. Getting them all to the right site took about 4 minutes. It took longer than we thought. (What we should have done was, put the website on the top of their worksheets.) After we got them all to the correct site we had them look around with us so they would be familiar with the site. Then we handed them a worksheet with two questions on it. Their individual worksheets told them which section their answers would be from. So then we let them start their worksheets. As we walked around we saw the higher readers reading to the lower readers; which is what we expected. We told them to have one person as the reader and the other person as the writer and when they were finished with the first question, we told them to switch. So they switched when the time came and kept on going. The students seemed to enjoy the webquest and they seemed to learn a lot. They were able to answer the questions with hardly any help. Our only real frustration was that the kids were so excited to be on the computers that it was hard to keep good classroom management.

How the NETS*T fit into our growth as a teacher:
Our lesson plan fits right into the second NETS*T called, "design and develop digital-age learning experiences and assessments." Our lesson fit with this one because we took a webquest we found on the and adapted it to our lesson. We also adapted the webquest to fit with the different levels of readers in our classroom. We were able to customize the activities to our students using this activity.

How the NETS*S helped our students:
According to the NETS*S, our lesson plan fits in with their second category. This is the communication and collaboration section. This section talks about collaborating and interacting with others using a variety of digital environments. Our lesson plan fits into this category because we had the students interacting with each other using a webquest as their digital environment.

Evaluation of our progress regarding technology:
Our original goals at the beginning of this course were to learn how to blog, and to learn the tricks to integrating technology into the classroom. We learned the second one very quickly by actually doing our technology rich lesson plans. This helped us really learn how to integrate technology. We learned enough about blogging to get around but we would still like to learn more. One new goal we have would be to learn where to get technology resources and how to get them into our schools.

Here is a link to the webquest we used:

Link to our technology rich lesson plan:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Technology Interview Reflection

Getting our technology interview questions was quite a breeze. When we went and met with our teacher she told Brooke and I that she was very knowledgeable about the technology within the school building. There is a teacher that specializes in technology, but we figured we could ask our cooperating teacher our questions and she would be able to answer them just fine. She did a great job at answering all of our questions. It was nice because we sent her all the questions via e-mail and she sent them right back to us. So then Brooke and I were able to read over them together and create our lesson plan based on what they had in the school.

What did I learn from this interview?
Some of the things that I learned through the interview questions were that, this particular teacher had a lot of technological resources available to her. Though she had a lot of these resources available to her, I did not see her use many of them in her lesson plans. She did have a set of Mac computers in her classroom, the only problem with those were that, they were very slow and so this made the students frustrated when trying to use them. None the less the students loved every opportunity they received to be able to play on the computers.

One of the questions asked if they had a network, and yes our school belonged to a network, but something interesting happened while in our field experience. For a whole week the network shut down completely, this left our cooperating teacher stranded with no lesson plans, or schedules. Everything she needed was on her computer. This definitely taught me to always have back ups!

2. How will this experience affect me as a teacher?
Having technology in the schools can affect me as the teacher in several ways. First it allows the students in my classroom to have a variety of ways to learn just one topic. I think that students need to be able to get up out of their seats and try something new and exciting, this can engage their minds in what they are learning. As a set back, planning technology rich lesson plans can create for extra preparation. Always have a back-up, you will never know when something can unexpectedly crash down on your plans. I do think that technology is a great way for students to expand their knowledge.

3. How did this experience change my thinking about technology?
After reading over this technology interview this definitely changes the way I view on how technology is being used in the classroom. I never realized how much you can do with all these new resources that are becoming available to us as teachers. Projects and overheads are things of the past, it is time to move on to bigger and better things!

Reflection on Webquest

What is it, and what is it about?

I worked on my webquest with Whitney Paulsen, Erin Randolph and Lindsey Boskovich. We had a hard time at first deciding what to do our webquest on. In all of our classes we have been talking a lot about social studies context and we wanted to branch out and try something else. We decided as a group to do our webquest on nutrition and the benefits of being/staying healthy. We had the students fill out a log of their current eating habits, then after teaching them about the food pyramid they had to plan healthy meals for one day. Our final assessment was going out into the real world and seeing if they could create a healthy menu at a fast food restaurant. We had them go to the Wendy's fast food restaurant web page and create a healthy meal. We had a lot of different activities to assess their knowledge.

How did it go, what was easy/difficult?
Overall I felt that our group worked well together. We had a lot of ideas that we wanted to share with each other so that gave our webquest a variety of activities and insights. I would have to say, working in a group for this project provided some difficulties. The biggest problem that was presented was that only one person could work on the computer at a time. I think that our group came to the consistence that we all felt like we were sitting around while one other person was doing all of the work. I think that our webquest turned out well in then end, it was just difficult getting all of our group together to finish and complete our tasks.
One of the easiest things about our webquest was there was tons of information that we found on the internet. We had so many resources to pull our information from. We found a variety of webquests that guided us to our final project. I am was glad that there was a wealth of knowledge that we could use in this webquest to better ours.

Why is this webquest important?
Technology is becoming more important and used more frequently each and every day. Webquests allow the students to go out on the internet and research topics that they are learning in their classrooms. This is a great way to break up the "regular" instruction in the classroom.

Now what...Am I going to use this webquest in the future?
I am not sure I would use this exact same webquest in my classroom in the future. I want to teach and this webquest might be to advanced for my students. I do plan to use other webquests in my classroom though. Something that I would do that would be different is gear it towards my certain age group of students. I think technology is great for the classroom!

Why?...Why webquests?
Like I said in a earlier section, technology is vastly growing in America. I feel like soon everything will be done through technology in the classroom. Webquests are a great way to guide the students knowledge in the direction that you would like them to go.

Has this taught me anything about my skills of technology?
I think every time I do something with powerpoint I learn a new skill that I had not known before. I don't think that your learning ever stops. I feel like my skills are improving each and everyday. I had to learn how to do a powerpoint on a Mac, so that taught me a lot of how to use my own computer. I learned new and exciting things that I can do on my Mac that I don't think PC have.

2 things I need to improve on.
I really want to learn how to put your powerpoint up on the web, so I can do this in my future classroom. I also want to get better at using Microsoft Publisher. I think that it has more features to offer than powerpoint, and I want to become more familar with that program.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Google Docs Account

Check out what Whitney and I are going to be for Halloween.

Click on the picture...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Google Docs and Calendars

In class we learned about Google docs and Google calendars. I was so impressed with the program igoogle. I have never used that before and I found it to be very useful already in my schooling. One of my favorite things is Google docs. This can help eliminate the problem of loosing your thumb drive, or forgetting to bring it to class...which I have done multiple times. It is great to know that you can pull it up anywhere at anytime.

Some ways that I think it will be beneficial for my classroom are, using the calendar to help students to be know upcoming events and homework for the future. Google docs can also have a profound affect with accommodating to those students who lose their papers all the time. If you had a handout in class that applied to their homework you could post it on your Google docs and they could grab it right off the internet.

One thing I think that would be very useful and cool for the students to know how to do is the gab cast. You can walk your students step through step on assignments that might have been a little confusing in class. This way if students are confused on a step they can just replay it and listen to it again and again.

I am sure that all of these things will be very beneficial in my own classroom blog. When I first learned we would be doing blogs, I thought that there was no point in having them. After learning everything you can do, I will be sure to have one in my own classroom.