Friday, November 23, 2012

Effects of Technology in the Classroom

Throughout the course of this class, I've learned several positive effects of including technology into the classroom.  One of the more visible benefits is students' increased motivation to learn during lessons.  Technology gives them the opportunity to have control over their learning, not to mention they always seem to have a lot more fun using technology.  Using technology requires certain skills.  The earlier students learn these skills, such as typing and how to effectively use search engines, the better off they will be in the future.  Technology is great in the aspect that it incorporates collaboration with peers.  From my own experience, I strongly believe students learn best from one another, and the more opportunities you give them to work with one another in a team, the more they will be engaged and retain information throughout the lesson.  Technology also helps with completing complex tasks, as it is essential for students to use a higher order of thinking.  From the perspective of a teacher, technology provides them with numerous outside resources, making lessons increasingly fun, interactive, and informative.  When students are asked to write a report, one of their focuses is writing to their audience.  Through technology, they are more able to be aware of their audiences needs and perspectives.  The role of the student changes when they use technology because they begin having a more active role in their learning.  Technology is in classrooms to support students, which means the teacher can work with students who need extra help.  The benefits of technology are endless, and as it continues to improve, so should the advantages.  The graphs below show the benefits of technology as well as the interest level among students.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

To Take an Online Class or Not, that is the Question

For those debating whether or not to take an online class, my suggestion would be "Yes."  Just like anything, there are pros and cons, but for me, the pros out weigh the cons.  At the graduate level, students have very busy lives.  Their either working a job, taking classes, playing a college sport, supporting a family, or involved in something else consuming much of their time.  Online classes give individuals the opportunity to do work at their own pace.  Juggling two or more tasks means it is difficult to find time, and ten to midnight might be your only availability.  A personal favorite of mine is not driving up to school, which is about 30 minutes.  Between driving to school and then driving back home, that's an hour taken away from me of just driving.  All the materials are online and can be easily printed out, and discussion boards keep in communication with other students from the class.

There are less cons, but still something to consider when making your decision.  Having discipline to sit down at your computer several hours a week and devoting it to the online class can be difficult for some.  If a question arises, a response will take longer to receive through email than it would simply asking the professor at the end of class.  Taking a class online, there is no feeling of support or face to face communication with students from class.  There is a real loss of a personal connection between everyone in the class, which is the biggest negative for me.

Now that you have read about the pros and cons, it's time for you to decide what is of value to you, and that will help determine whether or not taking an online class is the right choice for you.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lights, Camera, Action!

In one of my graduate courses, we had to create a short movie.  My first thoughts were, "How am I going to do this?"  Luckily, the assignment wasn't as difficulty as I thought it would be; matter of fact, it was easy and fun.  The making of the film got me thinking about incorporating the assignment into my future classroom.  Most assignments such as homework usually involve a lower level of thinking.  Making a video on the other hand involves critical thinking, using the components of application, analysis, evaluation, and creation.  Students who use this process of thinking throughout the length of the project will gain the most out of the lesson.

I would say there are three keys to being successful.  The first is taking advantage of ready to use content that is available.  Exploring websites such as or can be helpful.  The second is giving students the opportunity to be involved, whether it is through online discussions, debates, or collaborative group work.  The third is using a flipped model to create a student centered classroom, assisting with getting them actively engaged in the learning process.  It is important to connect students online, outside of class, so that they have the support network of their peers.

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Skills For Today's Students

The students of today need to develop skills such as thinking critically to translate data and information into communication.  In order for students to be better learners, teachers need to realize they need teach them to become better communicators.  Chris Lehmann, a technology coordinator for the Beacon School explains that since information is constantly changing, then our meaning of what is to be literate must also change.  Skills we view as important are reading, writing, and arithmetic, and to prepare students for the future, they need to acquire new skills.  These skills are learning strategies to search information, working with data-processing tools, expressing ideas through sounds, images, animation, and videos, and lastly, being informed of ethics while on the internet.

You can find the full article at

The New Literacy
Putting The New Literacy To Work

Sunday, October 21, 2012

iPads, Kindles, and Nooks Oh My!

Electronic devices such as iPads, Kindles, and Nooks are finding a place in classrooms while heavy books are finding their way out.  Some schools have done the calculations and learned that incorporating these into the classroom will be less expensive for the long term.  Their big screens are user friendly, the touch screen provides an interactive experience, apps enhance learning, and software updates make the device constantly feel like new, regardless of when it was purchased.  Reports related to students' learning and test scores show higher scores, and at the same time, the classroom atmosphere is left unchanged and devices give teachers flexibility.  Their popularity has increased, and combining them with online sources makes them a great resource and learning tool for all students.  Other benefits besides having an entire library in your lap are reducing photocopying, decreasing the weight of backpacks by the pounds, and saving school districts money from buying textbooks.  Educational benefits students' will receive include a text-to-speech feature, adjusting the font to their preference, getting students motivated to read, the ability to highlight and take notes while reading, to later share with others, and looking up words that are unfamiliar.  Introducing these electronic reading devices into the classroom will be a strong step in a bright educational direction.  From this movement, our students of today will become our shining future of tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Apps For Your New iPhone 5

There are thousands of apps, and more are created every day.  From apps to track your favorite sports teams to helping you find the closest Italian restaurant.  There are even educational apps for teachers and children, as well as apps related to special education.  Within the category of special education, apps are sorted from Literacy & Learning to Language Development and much more.  The teacher apps are also categorized from Classroom Tasks, Instructional Tools to Curricula Support.  The majority of the apps range from free to around five dollars.  In a tough economy, $.99 won’t break anyone’s wallet.  It’s all about the kids, and children will have a lot more fun tracing letters with Winnie the Pooh or learning about animals at the zoo with Curios George compared to worksheets or reading from blah text books.  Students will discover and master skills and concepts they need to be confident and successful learners.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Using the Technology of Today, in the Classroom Today

I found this article to be beneficial because it explains how social networking, digital gaming, and simulations are possible, efficient, and effective at conveying concepts that wouldn't be otherwise through other instructional methods.

Whenever an individual is introduced to something new, it can be intimidating because at first it is unfamiliar.  With practice, the feeling of unfamiliarity eventually goes away and the individual has adjusted to the change, feeling comfortable as a result of proficiency.  The author encourages others who are new to technology to play around with the tools/resources, work with colleagues and constantly view several resources to overcome barriers.  Technology is great for the classroom and have a positive effect student development and their educational experience.

(These Web 2.0 Technologies that center around user provided content help students to become actively engaged in the lesson at hand)