Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Journal #12: Reflective Post on class EME 2040 Introduction to Technology for Educators

I will start this particular blog off by saying that I found this class to be pretty difficult!  I am taking three classes and I spent WAY more time on this one.  I don’t know about others in this class, but I felt I had a pretty good working knowledge of technology and was excited to use it in the classroom.  I know other teachers and have seen other classrooms where technology isn’t used much (if at all) and I knew I didn’t want to be one of those.  Yet this class has taught me that I knew….well, not much at all!!  I will admit that at first I was like “Seriously?? We need to learn and know all of this?” 

As time went on and I learned more however, I realize that it wasn’t about using it ALL every day.  It is about knowing what is all out there and having a repertoire of knowledge to use for different situations and finding what works best for MY classroom and students!  So I get it now.

I believe I will start off with some things I did not like about this class.  The first thing I had a hard time with was working in groups.  The only reason I didn’t like it was because I felt I tended to put more effort in than most of my group (although not all of them).  I did learn however that may not necessarily be true.  I do have high expectations of myself and so I tend to require that in others, which isn’t always good since others may work different than I do.  I am the TOTAL opposite of a procrastinator, while others may work better under pressure.  I like to start right away and get things done early; while some are comfortable waiting and as long as they get it done on time they are good.  The finished products turned out well so this showed me that it doesn’t have to be done a certain way or in a certain time frame to be good work and also that I can use some “loosening up” when it comes to that.  I did feel that one group project was enough for this particular class.  I thought the Wiki Page assignment could have been done separately since a lot of it was done alone anyway.  For me, it was stressful to wait on others for such a little amount that was “group” related.


I also did not like the amount of work, which may sound lazy, but in truth I am FAR from lazy (I was working, taking 3 classes, taking care of my kids & their ball games/activities and my home) and love to read and learn, but I did feel this was a large amount of work and a lot more than in any other class I have taken so far.  I am not sure if that is a fair critique or if the course could do with a little less work, it is just my opinion.  With that being said, I do feel that I am MORE than prepared to use technology as a tool in educating my students in the classroom, and that my students and I will benefit greatly from what I have been able to accomplish in this class (and there is also a sense of pride with how much I have done and was capable of).  Just in creating my own “Teacher Website” digital portfolio to showcase what I have learned in this class was very beneficial and even got me pretty excited about creating a real one when I am actually a teacher.  Seeing my work on a website like that let me see in ‘black & white’ just how much I was able to do this semester.

I did really enjoy a few things in this class!  The Tech Tools in each chapter in our textbook (Maloy, Verock-­O'Loughlin, Edwards & Woolf. 2013) were extremely helpful and showed me so many things to make things easier in teaching, grading and my own continuing education.  I also enjoyed looking at websites or material and critiquing them to see if I would like to use them as a teacher or if I thought students would enjoy them and learn from them.  I have often just skimmed though a page and decided it wasn’t useful.  Actually taking the time to really evaluate them from not only my view but from a possible students’ view was one of the main lessons I learned in this class.  Learning how to evaluate information properly and taking the time to really see what they offered was especially enlightening.

The discussion post in this class I actually liked a lot.  I got to research and post my opinion and findings on various issues.  My favorite was the Legal an Ethical Issues Discussion.  I am a “Black & White”, wrong/right kind of person so I do tend to live my life based on what is considered to me to be moral and base my beliefs based on basic human compassion.   It was interesting to see that so many people chose the same topic of Cyberbullying as well.  This showed me that it is a major issue that has hit home with a lot of people.  I am glad to have been a part of that discussion and to tell my own story and to provide others with information and tolls like Stopbulling.gov that gives tips on how to stop bullying.  I hope it helped others as well.

The last thing I will talk about is all that I learned about technology and assistive tools to help teach diverse/special needs and English Language Learners.  Teaching these students has honestly given me more anxiety than any other aspect of teaching.  I live in Southwest Florida, so ELL students for example are a way of life.  I was not afraid to TEACH these students.  I was afraid of FAILING them as a good attentive teacher!  The strategies and tools I learned in this class (one of my favorites was Brainpopesl.com) helped ease some of my anxiety and showed me that there are so many tools out there to help these students and help ME help them.  I also found information about assistive tools for everything from Autism (Stokes, 2013) to severe allergies in my research and the research of others in the class for assignments.  I wasn’t aware there were so many helpful tools available for these students and their teachers.

Now that I have neared the completion of this course, I can say with certainty that I feel capable of tackling the task of incorporating a variety of technology, assistive learning tools and educational strategies into my lessons, and use the skills taught through our textbook, technology based assignments and the material & feedback given by Professor Coleman to enhance my teaching style.  I believe it will give me the ability to give my students all the effort I can put into their education and my own.  That IS and should be our goal in this and future classes.  To that end, this course did just that.

BrainPOP © 1999–2014. BrainPop ESL Tour [Video]. Retrieved from the Web.

Hogan, Chrystal. April 2014. ‘Seriously??’ [photograph].
Maloy,R.W., Verock-­O'Loughlin, R., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2013). Transforming learning with new technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.
Stokes, Susan. Assistive Technology for Children with Autism. Special Education Services. Web. 13. Feb. 2014. Retrieved from Web.
Stopbulling.gov. Website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved from Web.

YouTube. “Cyber Bullying Virus”. Daniel Fraser. March. 2013. Retrieved from Web.
YouTube. “The legend of Pig and Chicken, and effective group work”. Maryna Badenhorst. Nov. 2008. Retrieved from Web.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Journal Entry #11, Chapter 11: Engaging Students in Performance Assessment and Reflective Learning

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

For teachers, digital portfolios are helpful in two ways.  The first is that is allows them to save material that will help them with current and future classroom instruction.  Just as in this class, where we are saving website and bookmarking them for later use, teachers can do the same.  This enables them quick access to material that was helpful to them.  This makes lesson planning and information gathering much quicker, saving the teacher time, but not taking away from the quality of instruction.

The second way is that can show a sort of time-line of the growth of a teacher, not only for themselves, but for being evaluation purposes.  Anyone can see how far a teacher has come and how the quality of work has increased.  From their resume to their accomplishments, a digital portfolio will help in all aspects of teaching and evaluating.

Students also use digital portfolios for the same basic reasons as teachers do, to keep their work and show what they have done and to show their progress.  This helps with performace reviews and helps the teachers, students and parents work together to know what needs to be worked on and what the student has mastered. 

Tech Tool 11.2

Tech Tool 11.2 explains what Polls & Survey sites and Apps are available to use for educational purposes.  For instance, one of my recent Sunday School classes used a poll on SurveyMonkey to see if the students liked the lessons that had been taught that month.  Other sites such as Zoomerang can be used and offers so many different types of surveys and options to formulate the exact type of survey needed.  Sites like this can make it more fun and engaging for students.  Students can use these sites to do their own surveys and incorporate it in their projects and assignments using real data they collect from the surveys and their peers.

Summary & Connection

Chapter 11 goes over the topics of student assessments and the use of digital portfolios for both students and teachers.  I believe Performance based assessment is the best tool for evaluation as it allows for us to see the real application of the knowledge learned throughout the year.  Seeing what a student has learned through actual applied work and assignments shows how well they have grasped the concepts of the lessons. 

There are a lot of benefits for both teachers and students to use digital portfolios to enhance and showcase their work.  They have quick access to all their achievements later.  This can be used for evaluation or for help with lesson planning in the future as well.  For students, it can also be used as a tool for refreshing on a subject they haven’t worked on in a while. I have had my son save his work from previous grades in a folder on our computer and label them so he can go back when he needs help.  


Textbook- Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
YouTube. “Teachers e-portfolio.wmv ”. Author: samispil. May 2010. Retrieved from Web.
YouTube. “Introducing SurveyMonkey, the World's Largest Survey Company  ”. SurveyMonkey. April 2013. Retrieved from Web.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Journal Entry #10, Chapter 10: Promoting Success for All Students through Technology

Focus Question: How can technology engage and inspire learning for diverse students?

One of the most important ways that teachers can help diverse students learn is having them work in small groups.  Not only does this help the student learn the subject matter, but it gives the student a chance to work with their peers and have their peers get to know them.  For diverse students, the social interaction aspect is often overlooked and deemed unimportant.  However, especially in a safe learning environment of a small group, social interaction may be even more important at times than the actual subject matter itself! 

Technology can play a very important role in teaching a diverse student body.  Using computers for internet or working in small groups to complete research and projects promotes learning and positive interaction with peers.  The feeling of accomplishing something together starts to break down the barriers that diversity can cause.  Diversity is a wonderful thing and if used properly, can be a great learning tool as well.  It is a great way for students to tell others about their culture through technology such as videos and pictures on the web, or even interacting with a classroom from another country.

Tech Tool 10.2

Chapter 10 Tech Tool 10.2 discusses the types of calculators that are available with technology these days.  There are regular handheld, online and app calculators available for the use of students and PARENTS.  Just last week I needed to check my 6th grade son’s homework and found that it had been too long to remember how to convert some things.  I was able to find a conversion calculator, along with some helpful sites to “remind” me how to do the problems.  One of the tools mentioned in this section is Web 2.0 Calc which is an actual calculator you can use and put into blogs and as a widget. 

Summary & Connection

Chapter 10 discusses how different types of technology can help the diverse student body.  The rapidly growing number of students who are cultural or linguistically diverse has changed the way teachers are expected to teach their students and technology is the way to bring these diversities together.  Whether it is in the form of small group learning, letting students share their culture with their fellow classmates or sharing lessons with classes around the world, teaching students about diversity and how to welcome it and benefit from it will help our country and communities thrive in the long run.  What I have come to understand is that diverse is not just in culture or races.  Diversity is ALL the ways that students are different from each other.  I think we sometimes get caught up in the line of thought that only 2nd language learners or different races counts as diversity.  Diversity can mean so many different things.  The key is understanding that even if two students come from similar backgrounds and speak the same language, they may have very diverse learning styles.  As we have talked about before, getting to know your students is a very important part of the job as a teacher and will be critical in making a diverse classroom work in the favor of who it matters to most……The Students!


RaceBridges for Schools. 2013. Cooperative Learning and Diversity. [photograph]. Retrieved from Web.
Textbook - Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
YouTube. “Top 10 Reasons to Use Technology in Education: iPad, Tablet, Computer, Listening Centers”. Bob AmpliVox. Oct 2011. Retrieved from Web.

YouTube. “Using the iframe gadget in Google Sites”. Author: ipt287instructor. Jan 2012. Retrieved from Web.