Thursday, December 5, 2013

Reflective Post

Photo Credit to Shanna Moss (Me) on Wordle

In the beginning of this class I truly had no idea what to expect. I anticipated the best, but feared the worst... failure. I've always had a love hate relationship with technology, but at the closing of this semester I've realized that this tumultuous relationship has vastly improved. While the book provided useful information and was instrumental in fueling the subject matter for my blog, I did not find it as educational as the hands-on experience of the classroom and assignments given.The teacher webpage and web quest were my two favorite assignments. By successfully maneuvering through those I was able to fully grasp the importance of relevance of using both, especially as a future educator. As far as the learning outcomes, those two exercises certainly made me more proficient in using the internet as a medium and goal of K-12 instruction. The website review and collaborative lesson plan provided me with the experience to evaluate and critique the usefulness and appropriateness of various educational software, hardware and online resources. Also, learning how to create a rubric was an essential task I most definitely will require in the future. To me the most beneficial objective that I learned this semester was learning how to create online portfolios that promote classroom management, administration and teaching all through technology. The teacher web page, web quest, and Wiki were three essential assignments in helping me acquire this skill. I will admit, the collaborative Wiki and lesson plan assignments drove me a little nuts, I anticipated that some team members would slack a bit, but not to the extent as they did on the Wiki project. With that said, I still learned a lot from the collaborative Wiki page and plan to use it in the future, especially with lesson planning and activity searching for my future classroom. The discussion posts and blog entries were very helpful in understanding terminology and various subject matter that pertains to technology. I especially found the assistive technology discussion post to be extremely informative, I had no idea there was such an array of tools available for individuals with disabilities. The activities and resources we explored in the classroom were great, I plan to use my Symbaloo and Delicious account to continue to save valuable internet resources. This class truly helped expand my technological horizons. While before I was content on using the same technology that I felt familiar and safe with, I am now up for new challenges of exploring and conquering the myriad of software and programs that exist. I am thankful for this newly found technological confidence and I am sure my future students will be as well!  

With that said, I bid this class and semester adieu and wish us all the best of luck with our future endeavors! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chapter 11- Engaging Teacher and Students in Learning and Self-Reflection

Photo Credit to Swaminathan on Flickr

Focus Question: How can teachers and students use digital portfolios as tools for learning?

Digital portfolios as defined by the text are:
"a collection of educational materials stored in an electronic format such as CD-ROM, website or computer file (p. 309)."
 Since these portfolios are interactive and much more accessible than paper portfolios, they provide a greater opportunity for teacher and students to expand on the classroom material in a much more thorough and deeper understanding. Digital portfolios allow teachers to share more about themselves and their lessons in a way that administrators, fellow teachers, parents and students can attain. By incorporating digital portfolios into the classroom, the teacher allows the students to explore their creativity and technological genius to reflect the lessons learned. While there are disadvantages that relate to the technological knowledge and accessibility of the user, I believe the advantages outweigh these possible deterrents.

The following video below is an example of a digital portfolio and how it can be used as one's self-reflection. The creator of the video was able to incorporate the classroom and activities done throughout the year while also expressing their creativity.

Tech Tool Link: Online Survey Building Resources: Poll Builder

Poll Builder is a really neat website where you can create a free and simple poll. As a teacher I could use this on my classroom page to incorporate technology and the subject matter. In order to build the poll you just have to set up a username and password, and the rest is so simple. Using this tool, a teacher can create an anonymous questionnaire or survey to gather data on their students and their progress. I created the poll below as an example of how a teacher can incorporate this technology into their classroom.

Summary & Connection:

There are certainly many ways in which technology can be used to engage teachers and students in learning and self-reflection. Teachers can assess not only student performance but their performance as well. Technology can help teachers and administrators organize and track the progress of students in a more organized and precise fashion. Digital portfolios are a way for teachers and students to promote the progress they've made throughout the year as well as reflect on the experience and lessons they've learned. Digital portfolios are a successful way to encourage students to explore their creativity while gaining more experience with technology. Participation systems are another great use of technology to engage and encourage students in the classroom. By incorporating polls and surveys, teachers can better assess how their students are doing and absorbing the knowledge being presented to them. For me, what is important to remember is that today's technology offers many ways for teachers and students to improve their experience in the classroom. Although I can become a bit intimidated by new technologies, this text and class has made me realize that they can be extremely beneficial. I guess when faced with a seemingly daunting technological task I can always remember what President Theodore Roosevelt said, "it is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."
It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed


Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5

Photo Credit to Adam Melancon on Flickr

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Chapter 10- Promoting Success for All Students through Technology

Photo Credit to Massachusetts Education Secretary Matt Malone on Flickr

Focus Question: How does assistive technology support efforts by teachers to reach all learners?

Assistive technology as defined in the book: "modifies the interface between students and material so that the material becomes more accessible" (p. 284). The addition of assistive technology has made education a much more tangible pursuit for students with disabilities such as hearing, sight, mobile and cognitive impairments. While assistive technology has bridged a path for such students, it is also a successful means to reach all students. The electronic speller and dictionary is an example of an assistive technology that is beneficial for all students. This device allows the student to read, listen and practice vocabulary words and definitions. With text on the screen as well as an option to listen to the words via headphones, the device is accessible to nearly all children, no matter the impairment. Calculators, speech recognition software, text reading softwares and interactive storybooks are more examples of assistive technologies that can support a teacher's effort to reach all students. Although there is controversy regarding how much technology is appropriate in the classroom and lives of children; I don't think anyone can disagree on how beneficial assistive technology can be for the educational experience when used appropriately.

The assistive technology in this video is a great example of how it can be beneficial for all students. While the technology program is marketed for children with learning disabilities or ESL students, the creative and writing process can be difficult to master for anyone. I will add, I was surprised to learn just how expensive the software program is!

Tech Tool Link: Extra-large and Online Calculators

Extra-large calculators can be very beneficial because they are light weight, yet easier to read due to their bigger size. According to the text:
"Students are more interested in this product than a smaller one because of its different size and style (p. 286)."
This can also lead to a classroom discussion on the ever shrinking screen that comes along with technology. Students could brainstorm on the positive and negative consequences of being exposed daily to smaller print. By introducing the technology, discussing it and investigating it the students will be more inclined to try it out for themselves. Online calculators are another beneficial tool for not only students, but all individuals. Jim Martindale's Calculators On-Line Center allows for students to try out many online simulations and modules. This is a great tool for practice outside of the classroom. Personally, I have used an online calculator and math program, and it helped me so much. I was able to step-by-step review the material while inputting the data all on the same screen, I had fewer distractions and a better comprehension.

Summary & Connection:

I believe the main purpose and goal of teaching is to give your students the tools and guidance necessary to succeed. Technology has become a major assistant in this process, and while it is not entirely the forefront of educational experience; it's collaboration with differentiated instruction and UDL help promote and effective learning environment for all students. Assistive technologies are extremely beneficial for students with disabilities, and they are also highly important for students without. All students can gain support and knowledge with the support of the teacher and assistive technologies. Teachers are not at disposal of technology, they have the opportunity and option to create their classroom using technology. Low tech, middle tech, and high tech options provide the teacher with various choices when incorporating technological changes into their room. It is no longer a question of why one should incorporate technology into the learning environment, it is not a how question and that question is being met with endless opportunities.

And remember...
Photo credit to Scott McLeod on Flickr


Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Chapter 9- Creating and Sharing Information with Multimedia Technologies

Photo Credit to krissen on Flickr


Focus Question: How can teachers integrate podcasts and vodcasts into their teaching? 

Prior to reading this chapter I did not realize their was such thing as a vodcast; I assumed that a podcast included both audio and video. According to the text a vodcast is comprised of both audio and visual, and just like podcasts is available for access online from a computer or portable media player. There are an abundance of educationally appropriate podcasts and vodcasts available for teachers to present to their students. iTunes and Podcast Alley are just a few of the sources that enable a teacher to search for specific educational topics presented via podcast. Podcasts and vodcasts can certainly be used to improve and enhance the educational experience of the student. If the teacher has a class blog, he/she can post a self made podcast of the lessons or material for students to further review outside the classroom setting. There are endless possibilities when incorporating technologies such as podcasts and vodcasts into the classroom. From presenting outside material to further the subject matter of a lesson, to incorporating a personal podcasts reiterating and reflecting classroom material, this integration of technology can be beneficial and a successful alternative to traditional lectures and reviews.

The following video is a perfect example to show how a teacher may include a vodcast into the learning experience of the student. This could be posted to a class blog where the student can access and reflect from home or any other location outside of the classroom. By providing a vodcast to their students, the teacher enables the opportunity for the students to expand on the material.

Tech Tool Link: Digital Storytelling

This makes me so excited, like five year old Shanna excited! The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling website is run by the University of Houston and provides a plethora of resources, videos and directions on how to creating a digital storybook. Digital storytelling allows one to create an interactive story using digital media. The stories can range from personal, historical, narrative, and more; the possibilities are endless. In the classroom, having a student create a digital story not only allows them to train their technological muscles, but it also provides an opportunity to incorporate the lesson materials in a fun and different manner. With such a range of different technology based tools, there leaves little excuse for students to be inundated with the mundane archaic approach to instruction of non-interactive lectures.

Summary & Connection:

Multimedia technologies allow teachers to create a learning experience for their students that expands from the traditional two-dimensional text. With technology, information and instruction can be presented via video, text, picture and audio in the interactive realm. Power points, pod and vodcasts, digital images and movies are just a few of the wonderful ways a teacher can incorporate multimedia technology to enhance the learning environment for their students. By using multimedia technologies, students have a more hands on approach to learning and are more engaged into the material. Multimedia technology also gives the teacher an opportunity to provide further reflection outside of the classroom via blogs or classroom websites, allowing for an ever accessible classroom no longer inhibited by four walls and time frames.

Photo Credit to jsgeometry on Flickr


Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chapter 8- Communicating and Networking with Websites, Blogs, Wikis, and More

Photo Credit to mnotta on Flickr

Focus Question: How can teachers use email or instant messaging to foster information exchanges with or among students?

In today's technology driven world, communication is no longer inhibited by time zones, oceans or even continents. Technology has created a mode of communication between students and teachers that is multidimensional, email and instant messaging are two prime examples of this innovative exchange. Statistically in the United States, more than one in four people use instant messaging as a form of communication; according to the text, four in every five adolescents use the internet (p. 215). As a teacher by using these forms of communication with students, that are familiar and comfortable with them, you can incorporate lessons as well as extend classroom time with online office hours. Not only does using email and instant messaging enhance the correspondence between the teacher and student, it can also be used to enhance the curriculum. While most students are "Lol'ing" and "OMG'ing" in their exchanges, teachers can utilize the ever popular instant messaging and email vernacular to teach lessons in spelling and grammar. Allowing the students to email libraries, museums, elected officials, etc. will not only help them develop their professional letter writing ability, but also allow them to obtain more information and develop internet literacy. While I admit I am not a big fan of the word abbreviations that are credited to the abundant use of email and instant messaging, I will say that from a teaching standpoint its usage proves to be very successful in collaborating communication and knowledge.

Photo Credit to The Shifted Librarian on Flickr

Tech Tool Link: Posting and Publishing with Digital Image Scanners

Digital image scanners are a really great tool for any classroom, especially a classroom that has a blog incorporated with it. With a digital image scanner any tangible work that has been created on a piece of paper can be transferred to a digital image on the computer. As a middle school science teacher, I can upload the DNA worksheets I had my students color and fill out onto my classroom blog by using the digital scanner to convert the pictures. Digital image scanners also allow individuals to scan various published works to a digital image to use as a handout or learning tool. I think of all of the tech tools I have discovered in this book so far, digital image scanners are the most exciting. The possibilities are endless with what a teacher can do with their students work. They can have an online gallery for students and parents to have access to 24/7. Very cool!

Summary & Connection:

Communication and networking is an essential key in the classroom, and technology has made this even easier. Teachers can incorporate both synchronous and asynchronous online communication with students by the use of email, instant messaging, blogs, wiki and web pages. No longer is the educational experience limited to the four walls of a classroom in a 50 minute time period, students now have the ability to access their classroom and teacher in an online setting. There are so many different types of blogs, websites social media outlets and wikis available for a teacher to construct that will be appropriate and enhance the experience of the student. I personally can see myself having a classroom blog, what a great idea. I especially like incorporating the student's personal work with tools such as the digital image scanner. While the teacher must ensure that the students are safe and protected while accessing these networking outlets, I truly think the possibilities are endless when it comes to the myriad of forms of communication and collaboration available.

This video shows that there is no age too young to start incorporating digital aspects and social media into the classroom. Our students are already inundated in their everyday lives with this technology, why not incorporate it into their educational experience.


Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chapter 7- Problem Solving and Inquiry Learning with Software and Web Tools

Photo Credit to Tomasz Stasiuk on Flickr

Focus Question: How can teachers use computer games and simulations as learning resources?

While there is much debate regarding the influence computer games have over children, both positive and negative, it would be naive to neglect the idea that they may be beneficial to the learning experience of a student. Skills-learning games are used to engage the student in the academic material while providing the element of game play (p. 189). There are games available for nearly every subject; the games not only allow the student to practice the skill at hand, but they can also introduce new skill sets in an environment that appears less threatening. This does not mean a teacher will provide Grand Theft Auto to a student as a lesson in social studies, there are digital games for learning that are developed around education rather than entertainment. According to the text there are strategies available for teachers to effectively involve computer game use in the classroom:
"Minimize the use of games that teach isolated skills; scrutinize games that function solely on points won or lost; discuss games and their content; play games together" (p. 196).
 The following video is an example how computer game usage can be effective to the educational experience of a student. As teachers we cannot forget that there are many different types of learners in our classroom. I believe that incorporating educational computer games helps bridge the gaps between the various learning styles.

 Tech Tool Link: Discovery learning using Squeak and Scratch: Scratch

Scratch is a website that allows students to create their own online games, interactive stories and animations. Scratch gives students the opportunity to explore their creative mind, with the help of technology no idea seems too far-fetched. According to the website, Scratch is really designed for students aged 8-16 so for early elementary age students it may be a little too advanced. Although, teachers in any grade level may find Scratch a useful resource to create stories or games of their own to incorporate into their lesson plan. The activities on Scratch promote critical thinking skills and allow students to advance their knowledge and ability in technology. I think this website is extremely useful, there is even a Scratch online community for educators to exchange ideas, resources, etc. to enhance their curriculum. I would certainly include Scratch in my classroom, consider it added to my Symbaloo and Delicious accounts for future reference!

Summary & Connection:

It is really amazing how much software is available that will enhance the educational experience of students. While I feel there are aspects of direct instruction that can be useful, incorporating the many facets of educational software really ties learning directives together. Educational computer software programs are more than just an activity to occupy time in a classroom; many require higher order critical thinking and analysis, active research, and facilitate the student's ability to learn and retain the information of a given subject. Like in many instances with technology and internet usage in the classroom, the teacher must be proactive in ensuring the material is appropriate for the child and for the curriculum. Teachers must evaluate educational software to be certain it is encouraging a higher level of thinking for the students. I think if the software is appropriate, and it not only meets but exceeds the standards listed in the curriculum then it will be a great addition to the classroom. It an be guaranteed that in one classroom exists a diverse group of learning styles, why not appeal to masses? 

Photo Credit to cproppe on Flickr


Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chapter 6- Teaching with Educational Websites and Other Online Resources

Focus Question: What is information management and digital content?

In a broad sense, information management is the collection and organization of data. For businesses information management plays an important role in decision making and policies. According to the text for educators
"...information management means organizing and utilizing all the different kinds of electronic information one must handle professionally and academically" (p. 144).
Digital content is the information that is acquired online. Digital content for a teacher can provide information, resources and tools that will enhance the teacher's classroom curriculum and academic material.

Photo Credit to Choconancy1 on flickr

Tech Tool Link: An interactive online field trip: The Cave of Chauvet-Pont-D'Arc

Let's be honest, the majority of students in the United States are not going to have the resources to expand their horizons and travel throughout the world to conquer great discoveries. The Cave of Chauvet-Pont-D'Arc contains hundreds of paintings that date back 31,000 years. Without the advancements of technology, students would only be able to experience the awe through a two-dimensional picture in the pages of a textbook. Thanks to the website there are no barriers that would inhibit a student from being able to explore this amazing discovery. These are the technological innovations that really help make the world more accessible to any person, no matter where they're from or what their socioeconomic status may be; no longer are we held back as teachers or students from exploring unknown frontiers. It's truly amazing.

 The video below shows the Paleolithic paintings that were discovered in the Cave of Chauvet-Pont-D'Arc. The video itself is a bit lengthy, but it would (or something similar) would be an interesting way to lead into a classroom discussion, then the virtual tour through the cave.

Summary & Connection:

This chapter really makes me grateful to be becoming a teacher in such a technology centered era. Technology is certainly friend not foe in the classroom. There are so many innovations, websites, programs and resources that help teachers makes the best of their curriculum. Technology also allows teachers to better organize themselves, and make certain that their lesson plans are meeting state and federal mandated criteria. Educational websites are a way for teachers and students to be engaged  by the knowledge the internet has to offer. Interactive activities that not only enthrall the student, but also present them with creative information that they will retain is such a plus in the educational world. I look forward not only to what I can discover and use in my classroom, but also for what the future has to offer in regards to technology. To infinity and beyond!

Photo Credit to flickingerbrad on flickr


Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5