Friday, April 29, 2011

Challenge-based Learning Reflection

I think challenge-based learning is very beneficial to students.  I think it helps them connect to the real world that they live in.  Students can learn so much by learning about how they can change the world.  I think it is important for students to realize the impact each of them can have on the world as a group and as individuals.  It is very inspiring, and I think we need to emphasize what kind of impact we want students to have on the world.  Of course, we want students to have a positive impact, and we want them to change their world for the better.  I think presenting problems and issues in the student's community, state, country, and world helps students develop critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills.  These are skills students will need in the future, and the skills that will help them succeed.  Also, by exposing students to problems or issues in their own community, state, and country gives them a head start on helping to solve these problems as an adult.  I am very passionate about civic service and helping one's community, and I think we need to teach this passion for others.  Our students will soon be the ones that have to take over and take care of our communities and environments.  We need to help them realize their impact and how they can essentially change the world.  One of my favorite quotes is by Margaret Mead.  She says, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."  We can teach our students that they can be that group of people.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Podcast Reflection #12: Moving at the Speed of Creativity

I listened to another Moving at the Speed of Creativity podcast by Wesley Fryer.  This podcast was called iPads and iPod Touches in Kansas Elementary Classrooms.  There is a video shared that shows a MACE conference and Lansing, Kansas educators using iPads and iPod touches in their classroom for differentiation, high-ability groups, low-ability groups, and as a way to enhance learning and instruction.  One benefit of using iPads over netbooks is ease of use according to the video.  You can see in the video that the students are engaged and enjoy using the iPads.  One of the teachers listed out some of her most used apps in her 1st grade classroom.  Discover these by clicking here.  Also, in the video, they emphasized using iPads and iPods collaboratively in the classroom instead of just giving each student one.  According to the presenters, using the iPads and iPods in groups or in pairs will help student develop social skills.  I agree and think these tools should be used both individually by students and in pairs or small groups.  Students can learn from each other when they are working together using one of these tools.  In addition, students need to learn how to work together using these technologies and learn how to collaborate.  Collaboration and cooperation are some of the 21st century skills these students will need in the future.  I think if we start with the students young using these tools collaboratively; there is no telling what they will learn, create, and discover.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Podcast Reflection #11: Learning in Hand

I listened to another Learning in Hand podcast called iPods Episode #20: Classroom Dos and Don'ts .  Tony Vincent discusses how teachers can successfully use ipods in their classroom without unneeded stress or work.  There several dos I think would be helpful for teachers to be aware of before using ipods in their classroom.

1) Sync all iPods to one designated computer
2) Label ipods in classroom to keep them organized
3) Make play lists to organize information in iTunes
4) Delete content after you are done with it
5) Make procedures for using Ipods in classroom
6) Get ear buds for each student
7) Make sure students know consequences for misuse
8) Make students sign usage contract before using iPods

There are several more dos, but I think these are the most important for educators to consider before using iPods in their classrooms.  Also, the podcast discussed don'ts.

1)  Don't buy expensive accessories
2)  Don't give iTunes password to students (you never know what they'll download)
3) Don't sync everyday, only when you need to (plan in advance)
4) Don't just use free apps (there are more than just the free apps)

See more dos and don'ts by clicking here.  I think iPods could be a very interactive learning tool in the classroom especially if your school doesn't have computers readily available.  I think there are two things to remember before introducing iPods in the classroom.  They are organization and planning.  If the educator is organized and plans in advance how they will use the iPods, I think the implementation of the iPods in the classroom will be successful.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Podcast Reflection #10: Moving at the Speed of Creativity

I listened to the Moving at the Speed of Creativity podcast titled Podcast375: Technology Leadership Advice for 60 New Oklahoma Superintendents.  Wesley Fryer, the author of Moving at the Speed of Creativity, attended a conference at the beginning of April for new superintendents in Oklahoma and spoke about how technology can be used to enhance education today. He spoke about how technology can increase students' opportunities to learn.  He discussed how technology helps us share, create, and connect in ways we really would never have imagined.  I can relate with this.  I never thought I would be blogging about educational resources and that people in other countries would be reading my blog.  It really is mind-blowing to me!  Wesley Fryer seemed to be calling the new superintendents to embrace technology in the classrooms rather than deny it.  He asked the superintendents to think about the increase of technological devices in our lives and made the conference listen to Brad Paisley's "Welcome to the Future".  The song discusses how technology has changed our lives, and the way we do everything. 

 Next, Wesley discussed how we need to move from being technology "consumers" to "creators".  He emphasized how kids need to be critical thinkers, and how he thinks technology can give them an outlet for this.  I agree, I think technology can be used to help students learn, think, and grow in new ways.  Wesley suggested for the superintendents to think of all the untold stories of veterans and other important people.  He emphasized the importance of these stories to our history and community.  He suggested students use technology to capture these stories.  This reminded of a similar such project being done in Kansas.  This project is called Celebrate Kansas Voices.  Wesley talked about how these kind of projects can get students, families, and communities excited about technology in education.  I agree with Wesley and think these sort of projects can capture some great stories and can get people excited about technology. He discussed several other ways technology can be integrated into the classroom as well.

Wesley also discussed how the superintendents can either embrace technology or stand in the way of it.  The superintendents discussed some issues they were concerned with technology.  They discussed the "digital divide" and how many teachers are fearful of technology.  Wesley seemed to enjoy the questions and told the superintendents that they are the "gatekeepers" of technology in their schools and can make it easy or difficult for teachers to use technology in their classroom.  I think it's important for superintendents to learn more about technlogy themselves before they decide how it's in their schools.  Personally, I think technology can enhance instruction because technology is the 21st century child's language.  Also, another important point of Wesley's is that teachers don't have to know everything about technology but giving students the chance to use it in the classroom enhances their learning.  Overall, I enjoyed listening to this podcast and thought it discussed several important advantages to using technology in the classroom.

Podcast Reflection #9: Learning in Hand

I listened to the podcast Learning in Hand.  The podcast I listened to was titled Ipods #07: iQuiz.    In this podcast,it discussed how to use iQuiz, which is a app for 5th generation or newer iPods.   The podcast discussed how educators can use this tool to create quizzes for their students.  The cost of the app is only 99 cents and can be synced to mutiple iPods through one computer.  Students can also sync iQuiz to their own iPod, but once they sync with their home computer iQuiz will be erased, which is important to remember.  The podcast discussed other resources that can be used in conjunction with iQuiz to make it more applicable for educators.  Using iQuizmaker as an educator is one way to create new quizzes for students to take.  iQuizmaker is completely free.  Students will get immediate feedback on these devices, and educators will get statistics back on each student and their performance. This pdf explains iQuizmaker more in depth.  An additional resource discussed in the podcast to be used with iQuiz is iQuizshare, where people share previously published quizzes they have used for different subjects. However,  iQuizshare seems a bit disorganized and doesn't allow the user to search through the iQuizzes.  I don't think I would use it.  A resource similar to iQuizshare is iQuizr.  This website allows educators to search, create, and share iQuizzes all in one spot.  It seems to be very convenient, easy to navigate, and more geared toward educators. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Comics in the Classroom

ToonDoo is a great tool used for creating cartoons.  I believe the tool can be used both by teachers and students.  Teachers could use the tool to create an interesting lead-in to a lesson, or as a way to present information in a fun and interesting way.  For students, I think it would be an excellent way to present information they have been learning in almost any subject.  Also, students could learn about the creation of comics and more about comics as a genre of literature.  The tool is fairly easy to use and figure out.  As a teacher, I would definitely do a demonstration before I let my student loose on the tool.  In addition, I would make my students have an layout or outline of how their cartoon will look before I let the students get on the website.  The site could be used as a reward for students as well.  I created my own ToonDoo introducing the concept of sight words and to explain why they are important.  Overall, I think this is an excellent tool, and a resource I plan on using in my future classroom.

Podcast, Website & Blog Mid-term Critiques

(Part 1-Website/Blog)There are two podcasts I listened to done by my DED318 classmates. Also, I explored their growing websites.  The first was Ms. Wheeler's Classroom website.  Her site was made on iWeb and is very appealing to the eye.   She even included a guestbook on her website, which I thought was a very creative idea.  I would like to add one to my website to monitor who is visiting my site.  The podcast I explored on her site is called  Ms. Wheeler's Group Podcast. 

(Part 2-Podcast)  They first resource discussed is the Magic Tree House website, which includes information about the books, games, and even resources for parents and teachers.  The site seems very interactive, and kids can even preview each Magic Tree House book right from the website. 

Another site, they talked about was For the Love of Learning Blog.  This is blog written by Joe Bower.  He discusses several interesting topics and considers himself to be a progressive thinker and educator.  The group discussed a couple other resources, but I found these to be the most interesting and helpful.

(Part 1-Website/Blog)  Secondly, I explored the podcast and website of Samantha White.  Her site was made on Weebly and is very creative.  I can definitely tell her concentration is in History.  The site is very well made.  Her site made me want to spruce my website up a bit. I would like to mine to be more eye-appealing.  I explored her podcast which helped me discover many resources for Social Studies teachers.  I will only dicuss a few.  (Part 2-Podcast)  The first resource she talked about was  She discussed how she has used the site before and how it was helpful to her in high school.  There are many resources and links on the site including timelines, Indian Ocean history, and even film resources, showing what films cover what history time period.  Beware though, some of the links on the site do not work. 

Another resource she discussed was CNN Student News website.  She discussed how students could listen to a current events discussion and then even take a quiz on it.  This could be great for helping keep high school students updated and  interested in current U.S. and world news.  The news video is geared towards high school students and helps students understand the news.  They even do a high school shout-out and shouted out to a high school in Cheney, KS today.