Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Podcast- Increasing Students' Motivation to Learn with Technology

This podcast will share a few ideas about how to increase students' motivation to learn by incorporating technology in the elementary classroom.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Today's Technology in Action

"Promethean Activboards boards in Houston, TX" video uploaded to YouTube by PrometheanUSWeb, March 15, 2007.

Physical Changes in Classrooms as Technology Becomes a Factor

A Look at a Classroom from Yesterday
"Old School Room" image uploaded to Flickr by Caitlyn Willows, October 31, 2008.

A Look at Today's Classroom Infused with Technology
"Sean Presenting" image uploaded to Flickr by sridgway, August 25, 2006.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Increasing Students’ Motivation to Learn

I enjoyed this Cuil search engine assignment. I decided to take a personal approach to this two-page paper. I chose the topic suggestion about using technology to facilitate K-12 instruction. As I started this assignment I began to think back over the meager thirteen years I’ve been a teacher and the influences of technology as they’ve changed during this period of time. When I first began teaching I had one computer in my classroom. After two years I moved to a different district and was now lucky enough to have one modern computer for the teacher’s use and three older versions that only ran the Jostens learning software. There was little room for creativity in this setting, but it was still an improvement. Now I am still teaching in the same school and in the last year and a half have been fortunate enough to experience a big change in our building’s technology collection. All of our PK-4 classrooms are now equipped with projection devices, ActivBoards, and document cameras! It is like our school has been visited by the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus bringing us technology goodies with each visit!
I am still learning how to use each of the devices more effectively every day. I am continually impressed with how intrigued my second grade students are by this new technology. Last spring, not too long after the projector had been installed, I created a PowerPoint slide show to serve as a review for our math nine weeks’ curriculum based assessment. Usually, reviewing is such a bore to the kids--- ‘we’ve done this before,’ etc… But this particular day was a whole new experience. Even though the students were given a blank sheet of paper and told to show their work as they solved each math problem, a request that usually is met with loud grumbles, the students were excited and eager to review the concepts. The next day we began the test and there was some improvement from the typical achievement on these district assessments.
Since last spring I have begun to create many, many more PowerPoint presentations to capture my students’ attention. Now that I have the ActivBoard I need to learn how to create actual flipcharts that can be manipulated with the Board. So far I have been importing my existing Power Points into the ActivBoard software. This is working for the time being, but I have set a personal goal to begin learning about and creating my own flipcharts.
For my Cuil search assignment, I chose to explore some areas that will be user friendly in my classroom to help facilitate instruction for my second graders. The first site I visited that I chose to include is from the Centre for Distance Learning & Innovation and provides professional development background about teaching at the elementary level. As I read the information, I found myself agreeing time and time again with what it said. I found the information to mirror my actual teaching experiences. The article commented about the somewhat limited primary uses of computers in the elementary classroom. This rang true for me because as I read and thought about how we use computers in our classroom, the following uses came to mind: online reading comprehension support, leveled math facts tutorials, reading and math content tutorials, and general viewing of Power Points and other media such as video clips.
Two other searches led to sites that are tried and true in my classroom. I use the Discovery Education site regularly in my science and social studies lessons. Sometimes I use video clips as an introduction and other times as a review to “show” the students how much they’ve learned about a particular topic. Another gem is the Screen Actors Guild Foundation site StoryLine Online. This is a fun site for kids of all ages. Contemporary actors read current children’s books online. While the actors are simply sitting in front of a camera and occasionally holding up the book to show its illustrations, the students are very taken by this version of story time. It’s fun to witness their excitement about reading!
Finally I found another new resource that I am anxious to try out in my classroom. I found a Wiki posted by Park West School Division- Educational Web Page and it has many great links to other sites similar to those I’ve already found success with in my classroom. Second graders really enjoy the silly humor of Robert Munsch’s books, and this Wiki has a link to Robert Munsch reading some of his books aloud. What fun we’ll have with this information!
I enjoyed exploring the Cuil search engine. I am now glad to have a new vehicle to search information. I am looking forward to applying what I discovered in this assignment to my current day job as a second grade teacher. I am currently working towards earning a Master’s degree in School Library and Information Science. I can see how this exercise will benefit me in both roles.

To learn more about this topic or the resources mentioned, please click on the hyperlinks below.

Works Cited

Discovery Education Classroom Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2010, from Discovery Education: http://school.discoveryeducation.com/

Park West School Division- Educational Web Page. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2010, from Park West School Division Web Pages: http://pwsdwebpages.wikispaces.com/

PD Background. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2010, from Centre for Distance Learning & Innovation: http://www.cdli.ca/~dsulliva/issuestrends/pd_background.htm

StoryLine Online. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2010, from http://www.storylineonline.net/

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thing #23: Summarize Your Thoughts about This Program

1. My favorite discoveries/exercises:
*Just to mention a few of my favorites I must include Flickr, the online image generator, and Big Huge Labs. These are all fun sites that one can easily sit down and create something in a short amount of time. I know not everything can be completed so quickly in life, but it seems that in our professional lives, we are often more apt to include those new applications that can be mastered relatively quickly.
2. How has the program assisted or affected my lifelong learning?
*One of the best lessons or reminders while working through this program was the constant reminder that we must remain lifelong learners. Several times I thought I was on the right track and then had to make myself stop, back up, and regroup to accomplish my tasks. I have had the opportunity to work on computers for the better part of my educational career, but I do not consider myself an adventurous computer user. I pretty much keep myself in safe territory and don't go out on too many technology limbs. Working through this program forced me out of my comfort zone and proved that it's good to try something new-- and valuable because you learn along the way too!
3. Take-aways or unexpected outcomes from the program?
*Flickr will definitely be a site that I will use more frequently when I need pics. I like the aspect of using actual photographs as opposed to 'clip art' for presentations for my students. I often make vocabulary powerpoints and like to not only display the word, its meaning, but also an image. I think the kids enjoy real photos more than clip art. Sometimes the clip art generates a chuckle, but I think the actual photos are more meaningful.
4. Improvements to the program's format or concept?
*I can't think of any improvements to the program that would be necessary.
I can think of ways that I could have improved my approach, staying on track and completing a few Things per week, as opposed to craming one-third of the program into the final week, but that's just me!
5. If another discovery program was offered, would you choose to participate?
*Absolutely! How likely is this to happen?
Additionally, will we still have access to the Library2Play site as needed? I can imagine that there will be times that I will need to look back at particular 'things' for a refresher.
6. One word description of the learning experience:
7. I will now go forth and visit other blogs.

Thing #22: Nings

I can see great value in using Nings. I visited all of the listed Nings. I spent more time exploring Ning for Teachers AKA TeacherLingo. As a current classroom teacher I liked the new resource for lesson plans and ideas. It is always nice to learn from another person's prespective and this Ning allows you insight to other ways of teaching the same concept. The concept of building a community of folks with similiar interests is appealing. It's nice to know you can communicate and learn from people in your own neighborhood or from an entirely different hemisphere than yourself.
I also checked out the Teacher Librarian Ning. I think this will be an invaluable resource to me in the near future. I am looking forward to spending more time with this Ning.