Thursday, March 14, 2013

Web Technology Reflection

Using Blogs to Integrate Technology in the Classroom

            This article was written by a veteran teacher of 22 years who found the web technology of blogging to be a very successful tool in the classroom. A blog is an online tool that allows individuals to easily publish written texts, pictures, links, etc. onto their own webpage. The article addresses four main ways that blogs can be beneficial to students. These include: 1) highly motivating for students who might not otherwise participate 2) excellent opportunities for students to read and write 3) effective form of collaboration and discussion 4) enables scaffolding and mentoring to occur. In the classroom, they can be used by teachers and students alike. However, it is important to remember that anytime students are on the internet a risk is involved. For this reason, it is important to remember some main points before allowing students to enter the blogging world. These include: 1) inform parents and receive permission 2) teach students safe and appropriate behavior as online readers and authors 3) review rules of student access 4) warn students about not posting complete names, email addresses, or so forth that might reveal identity or location. 

            When the time is appropriate, there is a number of different ways that blogs can be used in the classroom. The article lists several main ways which include: 1) classroom management: teachers can post assignments, handouts, notices, and classroom assignments on blogs 2) collaboration: teachers can post feedback to students’ writing and students can peer review each other’s work 3) discussions: teachers and students can post ideas and comment on other’s ideas 4) student portfolios: students can display and store all of their classwork on a single webpage that is easily accessible and can be viewed by teachers and peers. I believe that blogging can be used with a wide variety of students in grades ranging from K-12. However, for lower grades, I believe that it would be more beneficial for the teacher to create a blog and the students make contributions with the teacher’s help. However, higher grades would be more able to create their own individual blogs as they would have more computer skills. As a future high school social studies teacher, I could definitely use the web technology of blogging in my classroom in a variety of ways. I really liked the idea of using blogs as a way to create a student portfolio. Teachers often require students to create their own portfolios on paper. However, a blog would reduce the use of paper and make the students work easily accessible. It also would allow students to view each other’s work which I believe sparks even more imagination. If I wanted to use blogging on a smaller scale, then I could just incorporate it into a class project. For example, a student would have to create a blog about a historical figure or event. In any shape or form, blogging is an excellent tool that should definitely be taken advantage of in the classroom.

Mobile Technology Reflection

Mobile Learning Technologies for 21st Century Classrooms

This article focuses on the advantageous use of mobile devices within today’s classrooms. It begins by stating that mobile devices allowing learning with the use of technology to occur not only in the classroom but also outside of the classroom. For example, this could include using technology to learn on field trips, in the school yard, gym, study hall, and so on. In addition, the article addresses how today’s students are being exposed to more technology than ever. A majority of these students use technology on a daily basis outside of school especially through cell phones. This article proposes that students will relate better to learning if it is presented in familiar ways. It is thought that this can be done by incorporating technology into the classroom.

This article focuses specifically on the use of mobile technologies including the Ipod Touch, e-reader, Ipad, and cell phones. It describes different ways that these devices can be used to enhance the learning experience. Concerning the Ipod Touch and Ipad, there are a variety of educational apps that can be downloaded and used. Apps provide a wide variety of resources. For example, The Elements is an interactive periodic table, Alphabet Fun teaches handwriting and letter recognition, and the Beautiful Planet HD gives virtual tours of countries. Next, e-readers have revolutionized the world of books, including textbooks. These devices allow students to carry their books anywhere and have access to with the touch of a finger. Finally cell phones are gaining a new reputation within schools. In past years, they have been forbidden within schools; however, more recently benefits of in school use are being recognized. One way cell phones can be incorporated within the learning of the classroom is through websites like Poll Everywhere. This site allows teachers to create questionnaires that the students can respond to via text messages. In addition, most all of these devices (with the exception of e-readers) allow wifi internet that is accessible to students at almost any location imaginable.

As a future teacher, I believe that it is ideal to incorporate technology within the classroom whenever possible. All of the various ways this can be done would be very beneficial to all students in the learning process. Having mobile devices takes learning through technology to a whole new level within the schools. I will one day be a high school history teacher. I can use mobile devices to allow students to be exposed to a wide variety of tools that can help them in learning, researching, creating, and displaying.

Educational Technology Reflection

Beyond Gaming: A Technology Explosion in Early Childhood Classes

            This article by Nancy Hertzog and Marjorie Klein focuses on the impact of technology on learning within early childhood classrooms. It is based off of research proving technology, specifically computers, has lasting effects on five different areas in young learners including:  social and emotional development, cognitive development and learning, creativity, language and reading, and mathematics. Through such research, the authors of this article claim that the use of computers in instruction open new possibilities for students’ learning and creativity. The article reads, “When computers are used as “Mindtools,” students must “conceptualize, organize, and solve problems.” The article’s authors work at a primary school where they have implemented a system of inquiry to help guide the students’ learning. This system is made up of three phases which include: Phase 1 – students share information and experiences about topic; Phase 2 – students are allowed to investigate any questions they have about topic; Phase 3 – students create ways to present information to other classmates. Through this entire process, students are provided technological resources to help them. This certain primary school emphasizes the use of computers using softwares that include Microsoft Word, Reader Rabbit, Power Point, and Internet Explorer.

Overall I felt that this article made adequate claims about the use of technology within the classroom. Computers have been proven to have a great impact on students learning. They provide a wide variety of resources and means of expression for students. Besides the research that has been made on this topic, I know it is true from personal experience being a recent high school graduate and current college student. However, I did find that this article appeared to be somewhat dated. There are currently many more technology resources to use in classrooms. This article focused mainly on computers with students using the Microsoft, PowerPoint, and so forth. These are great tools; however, there have been additional resources that have recently become available that students can use to express their creativity. For example, there are Prezis, microphones for recording, cameras, video cameras, and so forth.  

I hope to be able to use these different technologies within my own classroom in various means of instruction. This article was directed at children in primary schools. I am going to be a high school teacher. However, I believe that technology is useful and important to incorporate in all grades from kindergarten to high school. I can use it in direct instruction and my students can use it their independent work.  

Personal Technology Reflection

Personal Technology Reflection
In today’s society, technology is ever growing and becoming more relevant and important in the modern world. Almost every career path requires a basic understanding of how and when to use appropriate means of technology. It was not until I entered college that I realized how big of a role technology plays in the field of education. Now more than ever teachers are encouraged to incorporate technology in the classroom to ensure students have various avenues toward learning. As a future educator, I feel that I have a basic understanding of technology so that I am able to accomplish certain tasks. However, I feel that I could have a better grasp in this area so I can help all of my students excel in the classroom with the help of technology.
On the technology skills assessment, my results showed that I am overall competent enough to take part in online learning. However, I showed a somewhat weak score on the technology at home section. This is not surprising as my personal computer is several years old and I honestly do not put much effort into keeping it updated and protected. This is probably because I am not very educated on how to do so. In the rest of the sections, I scored mainly proficient in my technology skills. This helped demonstrate that I do have the means and capabilities of completing work technologically.
I do have the confidence that I am able to use basic technology and complete work in this manner. However, besides this, I do not have much confidence in this area. I know that there exists a great amount of technological resources that will enhance my work as both a student and future teacher. I am excited to learn about such resources and glad I get the opportunity to do so in this course!