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Virtual Class

Thought it was great to be able to have our class virtually and the class went well.  Unfortunately, it can be difficult with system requirements and additional items required, such as headphones and/or microphone.

The above YouTube video talks about a virtual classroom tool that can be downloaded for FREE, and has many if not more of the same tools we saw on Friday during Steve’s broadcast.  I thought it was difficult to find something that suited an early elementary school teacher.  It is not realistic to think that anyone below approximately 3rd grade would be using such a tool.  I can see if being far more effective when there are several snow days in a row and middle and high school teachers can ensure their students do not fall behind.

It is an excellent tool for college students!  Espcially those of us with children, it can be a life-saver when you have a sick one at home and can log into your class yet still be home for your child.

Social Web or Not

I have a Facebook account but I am hardly on it.  I have on occasion used it to instant message with classmates when we have assignments due.  After doing that one evening, I can certainly see how teenagers can spend hours on the computer and not get any real work done!

As for Twitter, I don’t get it.  Why would I care when you left your desk for lunch, etc! 

For me, it’s all about e-mail!  I very frequently e-mail friends/classmates with questions about classes or assignments.  I think it is much more user-friendly for that sort of thing than Facebook.  If you don’t catch your friend on Facebook…then what?  In e-mail, I know they will see them message sooner or later and get back to me. 

Being that I am a digital visitor, I think I find it hard to use these unique tools that have become very fashionable in the past few years.  My daughter was talking last night about the different social sites from Facebook to blogs (she uses Tumbler), even MySpace was mentioned.  However, it was quickly pointed out that no one uses MySpace anymore although someone (I can’t remember the name) just bought MySpace for really cheap!  Amusing to hear teenagers talk!  Justin Timberlake bought MySpace, I am informed by my 9-year-old 🙂

Just some food for thought…

Digital Book

I had the opportunity to read a story that was interactive with my kindergarten students.  I logged into readinga-z.com and presented the interactive book about sink or float on the Smart Board.  The students were able to predict which items would sink or float and move them to the appropriate location on the page according to their prediction.  When it is a hands-on activity like this the students are very engaged.  Since we do not do it very often, they loved every minute of.  The next pages were the answers to their predictions.  I thought it was a great way to incorporate some additional experiments and their predicting ability within our science unit.  I’m not sure if all the books on ReadingA-Z.com can project onto the Smart Board, but it was nice to see the excitement in the eyes of my students.

Digital Storytelling

I have not had the opportunity to present a digital story in the classroom.  I believe doing so with kindergarteners might be tricky because it would have to be fun and exciting.  I think it would be neat to use it for science.  Showing students different types of science experiments that you might not have time for in the classroom.

It would be a great way for students in upper elementary to use an option in lieu of a presentation on a topic.  Second graders make trading cards to present about different animals as part of their science unit.  It would be fun to turn these trading cards the students design into a “mini commercial” for the other students to watch.  Very involved for the teacher though.

 

Google Tools

I really enjoyed learning about all the features that Google has to offer.  It was a bit overwhelming and I don’t even remember how everything works!  I was excited to share Google Squared with my husband and high school daughters when I got home, one is in biology and the other in chemistry.  They were all impressed with my new-found tool; however, I am not sure how it might tie into chemistry.  My daughter in biology could have used that when she was working on the genius and species early this year.  In fact, she wished she had known about it.  As an elementary teacher (kindergarten this year), I’m not sure I would ever use this cool tool. 

I would definitely like to take advantage of the questionnaire that you make in Google, except I don’t remember what it was called.  I think that would be an excellent way to collect information on parents and children at the beginning of the school year.   There could be a lot of important information collected, such as contact numbers and emails, birthdays, allergies, anything important a teacher might need to know, and how students get home at the end of the day, or even if there are siblings at school and who the teacher is.  This would be a great asset to any teacher to easily access the data on their students.

Chapter 12

I remind my own children, that I could not watch television while I was traveling in the car and we did not have vans back then…we all had to cram into the backseat. 

Today’s tech savvy student is very different from the student I was.  Students in the digital age have some many options and opportunities available to them for learning or fun.  May of these tools, can be used to help enhance students’ learning or aid them in analyzing their work and why or what they could have done differently.  Many students take these tools for granted and do not think twice about them.  Teachers should be taught how to use the tools to have an impact on their students’ learning.

These tools in our digital age can enhance student creativity, even their writing skills.  Students are more likely to do the work when technology is involved.  It is something they enjoy and can relate to.  Additionally, it is more fun to have an interactive lesson using the Smart Board then it is using a chalk or white board; students are far more engaged in the lesson and learning.

Students can do homework assignments via the Black Board, making submission and assignments easy for both student and teacher.  Additionally, students can have access to MP3 files to review for quizzes and tests.  I have even seen it used by the chorus teacher in high school, so students have access to the music and lyrics for practice.  All in all, if teachers take advantage of the many digital tools available to them, students will reap the benefits.

Lots of words for thought shared tonight in class.  It is difficult to integrate technology in the classroom with students when not everyone has access to technology at home.  This is where educators have to be able to differentiate instruction for their students, those who have access to computers at home and those that do not.  It is much easier to make adaptations for older students, whereas they could stay after school or during lunch to complete tasks.  This becomes more difficult for elementary students.

I use technology to enhance the lessons I am teaching in my kindergarten class.  I think children should have opportunities to use technology as well as traditional resources, such as libraries.  I have a Blackboard site that I am required to update once a week; however, it is not for student use since I teach kindergarten.  Unfortunately, many of my parents feel it is easier to just e-mail me rather than using my Blackboard site for information on the classroom activities, etc.  This is very frustrating.

My students enjoy working on the computers within our classroom, in our computer lab, and when we use the Smart Board.  The Smart Board is very engaging for my students.  When I use the Smart Board students are more engaged and focused on the lesson, because I do not use it everyday it is very exciting when we do use it.  I think we are still in the middle of a transition period before technology will be totally integrated in the lives of students, parents, and educators.  My personal frustration stems from inadequate training on the use of  the technology I have available to me to enhance the learning of my students.