Sunday, November 27, 2011

Clickers, Rubrics, Kidsperation, and what I've Learned So Far

I recently learned about clickers, rubrics, and Kidsperation.  Clickers are instruments used to text in your information to a poll in the classroom.  I found it interesting to use them as a way to rate your lectures instead of waiting until the end of the semester to have the students rate your class.  I also like the fact it is a way to make the whole class get involved by allowing all the students to click in their answers.  The idea to use an incentive such as a dollar or small reward to encourage everyone to participate was a good suggestion as well.  Rubrics are an organized grading system usually set up in a grid type them.  All my college professors use these each semester in my classes and I think they are very useful.  It can be as broad or as specified as you like and it is very useful and effective to use when you have several people needing to grade something as well.  Kidsperation is a form of Inspiration that is used for the younger children around kindergarten to second grade.  It is a software used through an interactive white board that allows the teacher and the students to create semantic maps and different types of graphic organizers.  I found it to be fun and very useful for myself and future students.  All these tools are very helpful and resourceful for the classroom.

This class has taught me several valuable tools and information.  I love all the sources provided and wish I had a list of them all to revert to in the future.  I am going to school for All-Level Special Education; therefore, all these tools can be used regardless of what grade or area I teach.  I can't wait to use clickers, Kidsperation, and all the Web 2.0 tools we learned in this class.  I am excited about creating webquests, and allowing the students to create voicethreads in the classroom.  This class has been very informative and provided me with so much knowledge and ideas to use with my future students.  I now have realized you can use technology in just about any and every lesson plan in some form or fashion.  This class has given me a new found confidence and I am so excited to practice my new skills with my future students.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Technology Application Standards

This weeks assignment was to explore the Technology Application Standards. I found the them to be very interesting.  I didn't even know there was TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) for Technology available.  We were asked to pick a TEKS of our choice and display it in our blog.  I picked the following:
(7) Solving problems. The student uses appropriate computer-based productivity tools to create and modify solutions to problems. The student is expected to:
(A) use software programs with audio, video, and graphics to enhance learning experiences.
I chose this one because it can be used in so many ways.  I think it's the "fun one" of the TEKS that were provided for the Elementary Level.  It can covered by using games, group work, and even independent strategies if necessary.    It also gives you a wide coverage of usage by including the options of audio, video, and graphics to enhance the learning experience.  I can see this TEK being used quite a bit in my classroom and other classrooms as well.

As another part of our assignment, we were asked to pick a subject and grade level's standards.  We were then asked to pick any TEK that can be related to the usage of technology, and then decribe how we would use it in our classroom.  I chose fourth grade Langage Arts as my standards and I found the following:
1)  Reading/Fluency. Students read grade-level text with fluency and comprehension. Students are expected to read aloud grade-level stories with fluency (rate, accuracy, expression, appropriate phrasing) and comprehension.  This can be accomplished by children reading aloud ebooks instead of paperbooks and worksheets.2)  Reading/Vocabulary Development. Students understand new vocabulary and use it when reading and writing. Students are expected to:
(A)  determine the meaning of grade-level academic English words derived from Latin, Greek, or other linguistic roots and affixes.  This can be accomplished through using an online dictionary verses a hardback one.  There are also several TEKS listed for speech and writing parts.  There are wonderful websites that can accomodate students and cover these TEKS.  One is  It is free and a wonderful tool to use from pre-k on up through elementary.  There is so much that we can cover using technology.

We were last asked to write about what we thought was the most important TEK in Technology and how we would apply it in our classroom. There were several good ones and it made it hard to choose just one, but I narrowed down to the following one:  1.16s demonstrate proper etiquette and knowlege of acceptable use of electronic information and products while in an individual classroom, lab, or on the Internet or an Intranet.   I feel this covers a wide area; from plagarism to how to treat the equioment.  Bottom line, it specifies respect for the equipment, individuals, and laws.  I would incorporate this by cohersing with my students to create a list of rules to keep in the classroom and follow.  Some of the rules may be "No copying other people's work including classmates and what is found on the internet," and " push your chairs in after you get up and make sure the computer has properly been logged off and turned off," also " please keep your audio at a minimal level to respect others who are working."  I think it is important to incorporate a lesson plan using technology to assist in learning laws and etiquette in the classroom.  I think this rule is very important and is the foundation to using and implying technology in a proper and respectful manner.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Visualizing with Technologies

I think that visualizing with technologies is an awesome thing.  I never even knew that graphing calculaters where considered visual tecnology.  I always thought of them as just calculators. Having visual technology is extrememly helpful because it allows us to be able to "visualize" from all aspects the situation and the solution to the problem.  Chapter Nine does a really good job of using examples of how such programs as Tinkerplots, Spartan, and Sketchcast benefit students by allowing the students to use their programs to create examples and solutions to their problems and assigments at hand.  GIS allows students to graph and map ideas for geography assignments.  Tinkerplots alllow students to visualize and work out problems for critical thinksing skills.  Spartan allows students to have a visual of what cetain strands and molecules look like.  Google Earth allows us to see different parts of the Earth through zooming and/or providing an address.  These tools allow us to get a thorough image and answer what we are trying to gather for a solution to a problem, plan, or activity.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I learned quite a bit on podcasting for this week's lesson.  I never thought of video on demand, digital video recorders, and other instant media forums to be considered "podcasts."  I just seen youtube as a video website and an MP3 Player was just a new modern music player with the option to download movies, books, and music.  I now realize all these new-fangled things with different names are all commonly under one idea...podcast.  The paraphrased definition of podcasting is to record either media, voice, music, etc. and display it through the use of various media objects using the Internet, a computer, and a recording device.  Television shows can be watched when convenient.  Music, lectures, books, and videos can be heard through an ipod whenever demanded.  With podcasting, it allows us to have more ways to accomplish things at a convenient time in our busy lives.  I am an All-Level Special Education major. So, if I were to use podcasting with secondary level students I would probably implement it as a podcast of my lectures for MP3 Players or computers as a second option for after school homework.  For my younger grades, I could use podcasting  to show videos to watch on computer during an appropriate class lesson when it calls for it.  I think as soon as I have the opportunity to implement podcasting in the classroom, I will discover more ideas to using it.
Podcast is similar to the other Web 2.0 tools we have used so far because both have to have access to the Internet and have to a form of technology to expedite them.  However,  podcasts cover a wide range of technology and Web 2.0 is more created and stabilized through computer technology only.  I have witnessed Voicethreads, Wiki, and other Web 2.0 tools to be mainly used in education, and business environments; but I have also noticed podcasting to be part of a bigger part of daily lives for a much bigger audience.  I think increasing the work on combining the use of podcasting with web 2.0 would not only benefit the world of technology, but a world full of digital natives and learners as well.
I personally own an Ipod and I use it mostly for music; even though I can use it for much more.
I could use it in my classroom in a few ways.  I could allow those who aren't digitally priveleged at home to use it.  I can also use it as a sample tool in explaining and demonstrating how podcasting can work though an MP3 player.  I can use it as a reward incentive for those who have earned it.  Computer time is a big hit for positive reinforcement, so I feel an MP3 player could be also.  (I would of course have to delete all the music and add only school approved material on the player for the students.)  These are just a few of the many ways the MP3 player can be used.  As far as the advantages of using online tools, I think they are wonderful when it comes to sharing moments with others when they cannot be present such as those in the military or family/friends in another area.  However, there is such thing as too much technology. They can cause a separation in reality when it comes to the communication of other people.  I had to add a no cell phone rule at the dinner table because everyone was either trying to text, watch youtube, or play games on their phone.  I also notice the thing for dating nowadays is for students to exchange their numbers and communicate through texting on everything.  Technology can either allow the opportunity to make things more personal (such as Skype) or it can be overused all cause the ability for things to become less personal.  There is a fine line between the two and it's up to use to divert the difference.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Web 2.0

I found the web 2.0 tools that we learned this week in class to be very interesting.  I now know the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, amongst other things.  I never even knew that there was a Web 2.0.  I just thought it was the internet.  I also never noticed that the interenet was actually "changing."  I just though the  people in the world were becomming more tech savvy.  The first thing that hit me was, "  Facebook is a combination of Web 2.0."  I just started using a website called and it is a form of social bookmarking.  I had no idea until this lesson.  I hadn't even heard of some of these tools until now.  I guess I took for granted the things I see everyday though technology.  I checked out one of the websites given to see how voice thread can be used in education and I thought it was awesome!  It was the one about the women of the world and it was neat how they had the kids read the history of each one of the women represented.  I think this would be a great thing to do with  reading curriculum.  You could have kids create their own active reading story book by using the voice thread.  It is educational, entertaining, creative, and fun for the students and the classroom audience.  I am glad I have the privledge to learn all these great new things, and I can't wait to get the opportunity to try  them in my classroom.  I am finally crawling out of the cave of techno-illiteracy and walking into the world of digital natives!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Copyrights, Fair Use, Cyberbullying, and Netiquette

     I found this assignment to be very informative.  I found myself calling my teacher friends and letting them know about some of the public websites shared with us for their personal information....Perfectly legal I assure you thanks to my new found information!  I discovered all the petty small-time inaccuracies that could lead to lawsuits if you as an educator, or any individual, are not careful.  I have never heard of Bebo until today.  I also never though about cyberbullying going on past chatrooms or texting, but I found out that it is pretty common on social webistes such as Facebook and Myspace.  I learned nifty websites to use with my future students that helps with netiquette, copyright laws, and cyber safety.  I learned the difference between fair use and copywright laws, and that just because something has a permissive copywright doesn't mean that you can use it freely as you wish.  I also learned that just because it gives permission for public use also doesn't mean that it's open game to use as you please.  I am very thankful for this useful information.
     I feel glad that I am now aware of all the laws and things going on inside the web nowadays.  However,  I am also nervous about all the tid-bit descrepancies on copyrights and fair use that I am afraid of voilating the laws if I don't walk a fine line of observancy.  The first thing I tought when I started reading about all the laws was, "Man, I know so many teachers that I had growing up that could have been sued.  I am sure that they had no idea that they were breaking the law, but instead merely thought that they were just doing their job at educating us through media."  As for the netiquette, I wish that this was discovered and implemented a long time ago for all people.  It is a very good lesson for individuals to have, especially students.  As for the cyberbullying, I think it's incrediably sad!  Kids have always bullied throughout the years but its never been so out of hand that so many kids are taking their lives!  As a kid I was bullied and it was never pleasant, I can't even fatham what lengths these bullies are going to in order to push kids over the edge.  Stomp out bullying indeed!  As for the internet safety, it's a wonderful lesson!  When my child is old enough to start using the computer, internet safety and netiquette are the first things I am going to implement for them.  I am really thankful for this assignment.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mapping Information Activity

Before the mapping information activity,  I would search websites by whatever "looked" good or legit.  This assignment took me a long time to accomplish because I am not computer-literate past the basics.  However, I was very thankful that I was asked to do it because I know it will be extremely helpful for me and others as well.  I used to always use google most of the time for my search engine because it was the most popular and helpful when it it came to researching something and I always picked what looked more simple in the URL first.  I also would go through sites and use what would seem the most informative on what I was looking for.  I also thought that all the mumbo-jumbo that was in the URL address was just computer language for transmitting the webiste.  I didn't know that it could mean anything particular to regular individuals surfing the everyday net.
After the mapping information activity,  I realized that there is a lot to be learned by the URL site.   I also now have some cool resources to use when I need to validate a website.  I decided to look up "Feline reactions to bearded men."   I am still not sure if the webiste is valid, but I do know that it is not a good source for research due to the fact it was created for strictly humor.  I was pretty convinced it was legit until I got down to searching the author, and found that the site had been "slightly moved" as verdict for the search engine  I also realized towards the end of my search that it was stated "used for humor purposes," and the title showed that it was created to make people laugh.  Besides, the actual name of the website says it all, ""  The assignment was long and detailed, but it was kind of fun too, and very necessary as well.
In conclusion,  this assignment and new learned skills will be very helpful in my classroom.  It will help me to locate legit and proper websites for my students and their assignments/research.  It will also benefit me as well when I am searching for useful information and doing homework for my classes.  I now know that the URL is not just computer lingo,  but instead a lot can deferred from the meaning.  I also know what to look for in search engines.  I found that to be the most interesting part of the project.  It kind of inspires me to go back and disect some of the regular webistes that I use, or have used in the past just to see how they play out on the validity factor.  I will take my newly gained knowledge and share it with my future students as well.