Integrating Technology in the Classroom Teaching and Learning

I think that it is important that teachers use technology in their classroom, and that students use technology as well.  As we all know, technology is always going to get better and better and those who don’t use it are going to fall behind.  I find it important to use technology in the classroom for this reason alone.  Not only is it important to not fall behind, but it is fun for the students.  When you use technology in your classroom, students look forward to learning and exploring.  It is important for not only the teachers to use technology, but for your students as well.  Cameras, iPads, iPods, video cameras, whiteboards, computers, programs, software, apps, etc all are useful for collages, papers, journals, review, practice, research, learning, etc.

Reading Reflection 4.24.14

Wang: Meaningful Technology

I found this article very informative. I related to the topic of purposeful learning with technology. Too often, technological tools are used in the classroom without teacher training and help in integrating the technology to enhance a students learning experience. In this case, the technology was used in a purposeful way. The children were not just given the technology. Teachers were the guides in helping students gather information, think critically, work with their peers in groups and utilize the technology to further the learning experience. While all classrooms can not afford all of the technological tools discussed in this article, teachers can be just as creative with the tools they do have. Teachers should also use tools that are age appropriate for their classrooms. Be prepared, be creative, utilize many hands on activities that motivate students, encourage students to come up with questions and then guide them in gathering the answers to those questions.

Ching and Wang:

This article seemed more realistic in the sense of how teacher may incorporate technology in the class while dealing with limited resources. The digital photo journals help students become familiar with a technological tool (a digital camera). The students were then able to photograph what they wanted and then interact with adults who helped write down descriptions of their photographs. While the study was limited in terms of having only one digital camera and one day assigned to each student to use it; for me it was a good start. If gave the children iPads, which don’t go around a child’s neck and are not as heavy. If more iPads were available, students could be more spontaneous in their picture taking. They could even possibly use an iTouch or camera phone to be even easier for a child to carry around. It would be nice to incorporate these picture-taking sessions into units being studied. Also, the physical and social spaces for picture taking could be expanded into the student’s homes or on field trips. This activity could also become more social, where students could work in groups to create photo journals, which told a story, rather than being a collection of photographs. The possibilities are endless.

Philip:

During the semester, we have read a lot of articles on the positive aspect of introducing technology in the classroom. I agree this is a way to help even the playing field for those students who are poor, ELL or special Ed. However, living in a home with parents who are teachers, I often hear complaints how technology can sometimes be a hindrance as much as a help. I really enjoyed reading this article because it brought up a lot of issues I’ve been hearing in my home lately. One quote which I think sums up my parents feelings is, “An effective teacher consistently invokes situational interests, with or without technology, through strategies such as brainstorming, observing, and introducing intriguing questions.” My parents are by no means totally against the use of technology in the classroom. But, they should not take the place of a good teacher. Perhaps we can compare this new trend in education to a car. New innovations in design for better gas mileage and computer chips to inform us of any problems are great, but we still need the driver to get us from point A to point B. Let us utilize these technological tools to help out not to replace good teachers and good teaching strategies.

TED Talk Video:

I really liked the TED talk video because it showed how children use technology to express themselves. Many children like to draw, and like computers, so what better way than to incorporate the two on a program; especially one where they can share their final product with friends, family, or in this case, the entire world. Using these technologies, was a way to show teachers and even the creators of this program that students have become fluent in technology as they are in language. With the SCRATCH program, not only were students using and creating with these new technologies, but also expressing themselves using these technologies.

Reading Reflection 4.17.14

Enedy Article:

This was a very fascinating article. I was especially interested in the concept of play as a building bock for science. It was interesting how the authors discussed children using their bodies and movement to create a situation and how this was tied to rules. These rules make children understand the real world through inquiry. I remember playing with my cousins. They were older, so they often assigned roles and set up the rules for play. Often, they would spend so much time explaining the rules, that there was little time for the playing part. I laughed when I saw this mentioned in their study.

I also liked how the authors linked a concept with participatory models. By utilizing student predictions, actual movement and review of these movements through the augmented reality software, students use the information to see if their predictions were correct. This activity stimulates further discussion. The activity was not a science lesson where students sit passively and listen, but rather participate in the whole process. This type of instruction motivates students and boosts inquiry learning.

Siraj-Blatchford:

As in the first article we read, by Enedy, I was drawn to the discussion of the power of play in an emergent science curriculum. An emergent science curriculum focus on hands on experiences. This curriculum also showcases the concept of collaboration between teachers and students. It also supports the importance of play. Why? Because it helps students in their own learning process, taking into account a child’s individual needs. The goal is for students to see science in a positive light. This is accomplished when teachers choose appropriate activities that engage children in science investigations. These activities can be a prerequisite for what students will study in the future. If science activities at an early age are engaging, then student will look forward to that area of study as they progress from one grade to another.

Murphy:

The quote “multimedia is most affectively used as a tool to construct knowledge with rather than learning from,” was a light bulb moment for me. It seems that children learn and retain information better when they manipulate their environment. The use of ICT allows students to describe what they are doing, the reasons for these actions and their results. They tend to seek out information on their own based on questions they may have. If something doesn’t work, they investigate the problem, and perhaps come up with a different path to solve the problem. They can recall scientific concepts much later because they can recall the processes they went through and any ICT used (pictures, graphs, cameras, PowerPoint’s, etc.). This method of learning also increases a child’s critical thinking skills, cooperative learning and presentation of the steps they took to give information to their peers. While teacher are there to initiate learning and act as resources, students can use concepts learned to “teach themselves.”

Math Standards with the use of Technology

I believe that we as teachers can use many different technology resources in our classroom when it comes to Math Standards. There are many programs like apps, programs, software and websites, which are geared towards children. Math is not a subject that many students love; it is a subject that is widely hated amongst many people. What better way to learn or practice mathematics in the classroom or at home than to incorporate technology? I believe we can do this in many ways.

There are apps, programs, software and websites that can make learning math fun. Parents and teachers can use these programs as a fun way to “disguise” learning math. Many of these programs find fun ways of teaching and reviewing math, which many students don’t even realize unless being told.

I realized some of these fun technology resources when I was doing my Tech Evaluation. I focused on 2nd grade math. Some of the software, apps, websites and programs I found to be helpful were ones that taught counting money, telling time, learning multiplication, measurement, adding, subtracting and sorting things into categories. When many people think of math, they think of the order of operations with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. However, even I forgot that telling time, counting money, measurement and sorting things into different categories are all parts of math. 

There are many uses for technology in the classroom, especially when trying to teach/review Math.  These are just some of my ideas, I hope you enjoy!

Reading Reflection 4.10.14

Buchanan:

Many of the articles we have read have discussed technology as play.  It seems that students need to be hooked to technology through activities that appear to be games.  I was very inspired by Merilyn Buchanan’s journey in using technology to enhance her teaching.  Most of all, her students listened to the information in the curriculum and ran with it.  One thing that struck me, was that Merilyn was willing to embrace technology.  She was offered resources and especially continued support to help her and her students.

Too often teachers are stuck in a rut when it comes to their teaching methods.  Sure, they are offered in-services that give them a lot of information and are supposed to keep them updated.  However, the paperwork is filed and never used.  Merilyn not only attended meetings but was inspired.  Her school offered continued help with the technology coordinator.  This person was valuable in helping Merilyn learn how to use the technology.  She did a ton of work to make sure that what she was doing aligned with the curriculum.  She took into account the students learning styles and intelligences.  Schools need to support teachers, teachers need to support change and students will rise above everyone’s expectations.

Nansen:

Unlike many of the articles we have read, this one discusses a web application everyone seems to be on board with.  The program names Mathletics appeals to teachers because it helps them teach the math curriculum as well as generate reports for assessments.  Parents view it as an educational tool.  It helps parents assign tasks for their children to complete.  Of course, it is a source for children to be motivated, and therefore learn.

As with a lot of programs, children often find a way to beat around the bush by using cheat codes or not challenging themselves.  I liked that the authors included this information in their research paper.  The Mathletics program makes learning fun by letting the students have an opportunity to play.  However, when interviewed about the program, students talked more about points they earned than how much better they understood math.  Some students resort to cheating using online forums or other sites to convince their parents and teachers that they did the actual work on their own.  The others state, this issue has been seen as problematic because it goes against the way the game was designed and its rules.  Cheating in the digital gaming industry seems to be just a “part of the game.”

Bratitsis:

I’ve always found it interesting that music helps children emotionally and cognitively.  I believe this is because children enjoy music.  It’s fun to listen to and easy to express yourself.  It is also easier to learn to read and do math when the concepts are linked to music.  I remember my time in Pre-K and Kindergarten, and how my teachers used music and sing-alongs to help us count and learn the alphabet.  When I saw this article, I thought that it would be easy for the student to grasp, based on my experiences, but as I read, I found this not to be true.

First, they wanted to link the teaching to the story of “The Tortoise and the Hare.”  They figured that would be a good choice because the students had prior knowledge of the story.  However, the story does not end with both the tortoise and the hare winning the race at the same time.  I could see how this would confuse young children.  I felt as though there was too much information being presented to the students in a short period of time.  There was no review, and the assessment quickly followed afterwards.  Thinking about my school experiences, the first time I was introduced to angles in math was 7th grade.  I know we can teach students at any age about anything, but usually the younger the crowd, the more basic the information.  It seemed like with this study, this wasn’t the case.  I had to reread the study a couple times because it was confusing, so I understand why the subjects didn’t do well.

Tech Evaluation

Basic Information of the Technology Items Jump Start Advances for 1st Grade (Software Program) Jump Start Advances is a great software program for only $20 that I found at Office Max. Jump Start is a 4 disk CD-ROM set suggested for ages 5-7. This program uses prior Jump Start characters, and introduces new ones for students that have used the Jump Start series before. This software teaches many skills, but focuses on the common core math and language arts. Using Jump Start, children learn and develop skills in phonics, spelling, punctuation, sentence building, addition, subtraction, fractions, money counting, life sciences, memory and more. There are also 7 different characters that are assigned a learning style they carry out for the whole program. For example, if a child has an issue reading or understanding something, the ‘reader’ character would intervene and give the child a little fun tutoring session, helping them understand the material. Features include:

  • Focuses on math and language arts
  • Familiar characters
  • 7 different learning styles
  • Creative thinking skills
  • #1 Education software

Time, Money & Fractions Grades 1-2 (Software Program) I have done a lot of my focus on 2nd grade study and lessons in the classroom. One of the big focuses in math is for children to learn how to tell time and how to count money. This CD-ROM set does a great job at just that, and only cost me $15 on eBay. Time, Money and Fractions comes with a set of workbook pages that are also in print when you purchase the CD-ROM. The children have to score 100% on all of the levels in order to get a certificate of completion. If the students get an answer right, they receive a star and can continue on. When they get the answer wrong, they can continue on, always returning to the questions they answered incorrectly. The games are fun, colorful and the best thing, there is no time limit, so children are not pressured to hurry. Not only are these worksheet games, but there are also some fun arcade games included as well, so the child can ‘take a break’ from the learning and enjoy a quick game. Features include:

  • Focuses on math
  • Tutorials
  • Includes a worksheet guide
  • Colorful
  • Narrated instructions

Interactive Telling Time Lite (iPad App) I think young children really enjoy the Interactive Telling Time app because it encourages children to do well and the best part for us is that it’s FREE. Players can select different clocks, earning stars towards a prize to fill their fish tank with as many colorful fish as they’d like. The time is displayed digitally, the clock is set for another time, and students are asked to match the digital clock with the auditory clock. Any time the child moves the hands on the clock, it repeats the current time. Once the child gets the time correct, they hear “excellent or brilliant,” and they move onto the next time. There is also an option with the use of a stopwatch. The child is given a specific time to stop the stopwatch at; once this is achieved, they earn stars. When they gather enough stars, they gain their prize of adding another fish to their aquarium. Features include:

  • Multiple clock faces
  • The use of digital, auditory and analog clocks
  • The use of a stopwatch.
  • Friendly and encouraging narration
  • Bright colors

iSort Words (iPad App) The iSort Words app does a great job focusing on language arts and is reasonably priced at $1.99. iSort Words gives children practice at quick recognition of words, letter groupings, beginnings and endings. This app will provide a fun way to build skills with words, rimes and rhymes. There are three different game activities that get a little harder as you go along. Not only does this game encourage students to be concise, but in doing so quickly. This app also includes an “exploration mode,” where students can build new words by choosing a word and blending other letters together to create rhyming words. This app is also secured which is a great feature. Before picking this app, it stated on the summary that there are no links to advertisements or social media networks, which is important, especially when dealing with children at a young age. Features include:

  • Three games
  • Three levels of difficulty
  • Exploration mode
  • Records kept for multiple players
  • Secure

PBSKids.org (Website) PBS Kids is a great website geared towards children of early childhood age which is fun and safe. When visiting schools and observing, I have noticed many children are encouraged to use PBSKids to play during ‘free time’ at the computer lab or in the classroom. There is a range in games with familiar characters such as those from Sesame Street, Roly Poly or Clifford, but also games ranging in different categories. I chose Wonder Red’s Rhyming game, but the website also gave me other game options that focused on rhyming as well. Features include:

  • Familiar characters
  • Multiple games for the same subject area
  • Videos
  • Printable Worksheets
  • Narrated Words/Games
  • Easy to navigate
  • Safe and fun

ABCya.com (Website)             ABCya is a free educational computer game website in which all the games have been approved or certified by teachers. All games are free and are modeled from primary grade lessons and enhanced to provide an interactive way for children to learn. This website focuses on math and language arts skills for grades K-5. One thing I noticed while playing on the website is that some of the games are offered in an app for iPods, iPads and iPhones. Features include:

  • Games with a focus on letters, number, typing, holidays and more
  • Games created by certified teachers
  • Focus in common core subjects
  • Bright colors
  • Interactive narration

Why I Selected These Six Items I have completed some field experience while in undergrad and graduate school, and I realized that a majority of my focus is on 1st/2nd grade learning. While picking my programs, apps and websites, I decided to focus on what the common core reflects; math and language arts. When I went shopping and looked for computer software, I found it hard to find programs for 1st and 2nd grade because a majority of learning games/software are found in the app or website form. When picking Jump Start, I was familiar with the games, as I had played them once with my best friends son, Jayden (pseudonym), who I decided to use as my focus child. I knew that he would like the game because he had played the series before at home and at school. I really liked how they had 7 different characters that were assigned 7 different learning styles throughout the game. I think my favorite part was how they taught fractions by cooking a pizza in the kitchen. Many children have the urge to cook in the kitchen like their parents, and to put fun things on a pizza like gummy bears makes it even better. Fun and interesting things make students want to learn. The back of the box was also very helpful because it give you a long list of over 60 skills that children learn while playing this program. I think this is a great idea because it helps parents or teachers filter out what their child already knows from what they want their children to learn. I also thought the colors, pictures and games on the box and in the program made it very appealing to students to want to learn, which is our goal as future teachers. One unit I focused my lesson plans on last semester was time and money in a 2nd grade classroom. When I saw Time, Money and Fractions online, I knew what I was specifically looking for the students to learn and what I wanted the program to teach. The program did just that, it teaches students how to tell time with the use of different types of clocks, how to count, deposit and disperse money using a ‘bank,’ and how to learn fractions by putting shapes together or becoming familiar with numerators and denominators. I think this program does an excellent job helping to boost children’s math skills as well as their views on math. Many students see math as something they can’t succeed at, and this program helps them practice these essential math skills at home or in the classroom. One thing I really liked about this program is that it is prized based. In order for the students to complete the program and earn a certificate, they have to score 100% on every worksheet. I believe this encourages the students to get the problems correct, without being timed, which I feel is important. The students walk away with a sense of accomplishment in the end, which is what we are looking for. While selecting the iPad apps, I wanted to keep within the theme of math and language arts. It was hard to pick only 2 apps because there are so many apps available. I selected these 2 apps because I knew that Jayden was learning about time in his classroom and I knew he was a great reader, but I wanted to see how he was when it came to rhyming and riming different words. One reason I picked the Interactive Telling Time Lite game was because it was free. I also liked the option of using different types of clocks like analog or digital. I liked how they incorporated a stopwatch into the app, because not only do you tell time on clocks, but on a stopwatch as well. I also liked that there were different speeds for the stopwatch when it came to counting time backwards. As we have learned, not every child is at the same learning level. The speed button allows you to adjust how fast the stopwatch goes depending on the child using the app. The iSort game allows you to make new words by putting endings, letters and consonance in order to form a word. I knew Jayden would really like that because he really enjoys reading and spelling words. I also liked that there were 3 different levels of difficulty because not every student is on the same level when it comes to reading. I knew that Jayden was an advanced reader for his age, but the game in itself had some challenges, which I think are important. There were also 3 different games in this app, which is important because you don’t want a child to get bored once they have mastered all 3 levels of one game. While selecting websites, I wanted to have a choice; one I was familiar with, and one I had never used before. As I mentioned earlier, when observing classrooms, I had seen many teachers encouraging students to play on PBSKids. I believe this is a great website with so many different educational games and resources. One reason I decided to use PBSKids was because I knew Jayden was familiar with the website in general. Another reason was because I knew he was familiar with some of the characters. I figured he would be comfortable with the website enough to show me things that I had not discovered on my own when trying it out for myself. I decided to stick with the theme of rhyming and started off with Wonder Red’s rhyming game, which in turn gave me more options of rhyming games to choose from. ABCya was a website I was unfamiliar with. I wanted to pick something that would be new to Jayden to see how he reacted. There were new games and characters that were introduced and a new layout as well. These games were a little different, but were similar to the iSort app game. The game I chose was to test out his spelling skills. The narrator gave him a word to spell with different letters jumbled, and he had to sort through them to make the word they were looking for. I also liked how there weren’t just word games on the website. There was a combination of math, language arts, holiday, arts and more. Observation of Child’s Reaction to The 6 Items I introduced the software, apps and websites to Jayden over a 2-day period. I told him what each program was about so he had insight going into it, but I didn’t help him play any of the games unless he asked me for help. A majority of the time I just sat back and observed him play. Jump Start Advanced 1st Grade (Software) When I introduced Jayden to the Jump Start software he was already used to it. He had played with this software in school and at home prior to me observing him. This software was something new to him though. It introduced new characters and learning levels, which he adjusted to quickly. He pointed out the characters he knew, but that was the extent of our conversation. He was excited when he got a math or spelling question correct, and navigated through the levels quite easily. He thought it was fun and asked me if he could keep the software so he could try out all the levels and skills at a later date. He asked me for help three times in the 45 minutes he played the game. Time, Money and Fractions (Software) This program was a little different for Jayden, because it was something he was not used to. Again, I let him navigate through the pages trying one activity from each subject area. He was able to tell time pretty well, the digital clock and narration helped him get the correct answers although it took him a little longer. He didn’t have a problem with the money portion of the software because he gets an allowance and understood how to add the money together. However, once it started asking for too many coins, Jayden asked for my help. The fractions portion was the hardest for him. He understood what half meant, but the rest of the learning was a little over his level. I believe if he had a lesson on fractions, he would have more background information on it and would do better the second time working with the software. Interactive Telling Time Lite (iPad App)             This app was a great tool to use after Jayden experimented with the Jump Start software. Since he was already used to practicing telling time, this app was just a review for him. This app wasn’t as much of a ‘teaching’ game than a review game. I was happy it was a free app because once he played for 15 minutes he didn’t want to play with it anymore because he was bored. He also liked that there were 2 options for testing his time using a clock and a stopwatch, however I believe there should be more options to keep a child’s attention (although I’m sure there is more in the payable app for $2.99). iSort Words (iPad app) When I opened this app and gave it to Jayden, he was hooked! As I mentioned before, he is a great reader and advanced for his age group. He did come in contact with a few words he didn’t know though, and even though at one point he was a little frustrated, I could tell he was enjoying every moment of it because he was learning something new. Seeing some of the trouble that Jayden was having did make me sit back and think about how hard the words were. I think that some of the words used in this app are a little advanced for 2nd graders. All of the words given were easy to sound out, but some of them he didn’t know the meanings to. This might be a little frustrating for a child if they are not used to the words. The directions were clear and there were 4 different games; he enjoyed the different game options available. Not for all, but for Jayden, I believe this is a useful app and one that might be used every day to build new vocabulary. PBSKids (Website) Before I pulled up the PBSKids website, I opened up Internet Explorer and asked Jayden to go to his favorite website. He chose PBSKids.org. I told him that we would be working on this website and he was so excited. He asked me if he could go to his favorite game, but I told him we were going to try something different. I told him I wanted to test his rhyming skills again and I pulled up Wonder Red’s Rhyming game. He played the game with no questions at all. The directions and words were fairly easy for him. Once you completed one set of rhyming words, the game stopped. He continued on a few more times but the words didn’t get any harder. He wanted to move on so I gave him the option to pick another rhyming game of his choice and he did well on that one as well. After about 15 minutes of playing with the rhyming games he was ready to move on. I am not sure if it’s because he’s an advanced reader and got ‘bored’ quickly or if it was because the words were difficult for his age range. ABCya (Website) ABCya was the second website that I allowed Jayden to visit. This website he had not been familiar with. He liked how many different games he could to choose from. He chose a lot of the word games, that he was good at, like crosswords or word bingo, but I also had him try some of the math games like connect the dots or money counting. He enjoyed all of these games. I asked him in the end why he enjoyed them so much and his response was, “Because I never knew there were cool games on another website!” It brought a smile to my face because I would rather see him playing educational online games or apps rather than video games. He is always eager to learn and all of these programs give him a multitude of opportunities to do so.  Ways to Integrate the 6 Items Into The Classroom             I believe that each of these programs could be used in my classroom or at home to further student’s education. During free time, if students want to work on the computers, I would encourage them to use one of the websites or computer software games. I would assign them certain games to complete depending on our unit of study. I would have to be careful when assigning these programs to make sure they meet all state standards and requirements. Using Jump Start, there are so many skills that can be learned while completing over 100 activities that the software offers. The students can relate to the different characters and relate to their learning styles. It might be like having another peer in the classroom because they continue to see the different characters daily that are helping them complete their assignments or activities. The software program Time, Money and Fractions, is just that, only used for teaching/learning time, money and fractions. The learning involved in this software will never get old, because they make it fun and it’s effective. However, I would only introduce this software when we are learning about time, money or fractions. Once that specific unit is done, I would not use the software again unless there was a child that needed more assistance in these areas. I don’t think I would use the Interactive Telling Time Lite app in my classroom unless it was for review. It wasn’t as much as a learning app as it was a review app on how to tell time. I did like the stopwatch portion and could integrate that portion into my lesson on how to count time backwards because it gave you different speeds to choose from. So, as the students get better counting backwards, you can make the tick sound faster to test their speed and skills. I would recommend this app to a parent just to continue assessment at home. I believe the iSort Words app is a great app to test students understanding of words, rhyme, rime and word building skills. You can use this app to test your students during or after language arts time, or you can put this app on an iPad in the literacy center in your classroom. I could use this to help emergent English language learners or gifted learners. This is one app that I would encourage parents to purchase for their smart device at home to ‘bring the learning home.’ Lastly, for PBSKids and ABCya, I would allow my students to access these websites during ‘free time’ or even during a lesson as a whole class. I believe these websites are both important because they give a plethora of information whether it be for math, science, social studies or language arts. They also have different learning styles and levels for the different subject area allowing you to assign different games depending on the student. Technology in the classroom has really advanced since I’ve been in school, and it’s been for the better. Students can use their phones or iPads, and teachers can connect their smart devices to the whiteboard to share with the entire class. Lets hope that we can further education with the use of new technologies to come! Evaluation of The Technology Items (Using the Rubrics) Software Programs

FINAL Software Program Eval. Tool (revised by Dr. Wang) Rating
Type of Software Program (e.g., game, drill-practice, content specific or multiple content areas etc) Jump Start– game with multiple content areas.______________________________Time, Money and Fractions– math game and drill practice
Summary of the software Program (purpose, intended age group, stated goal/purpose etc.) Jump Start teaches over 60 skills to students in multiple subject areas with the use of fun, interactive games for ages 5-7/ first graders______________________________Time, Money and Fractions teaches students how to count money, tell time and become familiar with fractions for children in 1st/ 2nd grade.
#1 Technical/Format/Usability Considerations
The program is easy to install and use. 5 / 5
The program contains quality animation, graphics, sound, and color etc. 5 / 5
The program incorporates principles of effective screen design including readability, legibility, consistency, and use of functional areas. 5 / 5
The program provides flexible means to navigate, search, save, print or download. 4 / 4
The program allows adaption for students with special needs (e.g., audio/visual impaired). 4 / 4
Other comments on the program’s technical/format/usability considerations: I thought both of these programs did a great job at keeping a child’s attention.
#2 Content Considerations
The content is developmentally appropriate for the targeted age group(s). 5 / 4
The program stimulates a child’s interest and active involvement. 5 / 5
The program is open-ended and provides problem-solving opportunities (high-order thinking). 5 / 5
The directions and instructions are clear and easy to follow for children. 5 / 5
The feedback is timely and effective. 5 / 5
Content reflects a diverse society and is free of gender, ethnic, and/or racial biases 5 / 5
Other comments on the program’s content: I felt as though the fraction portion may be a little hard for students just starting out in 1st /2nd grade.
#3 Educational Considerations
The program allows adaption for use in whole class, group or individual activity 5 / 5
The program encourages social interaction and collaboration with peers or/and with adults. 5 / 5
The program accommodates various learning styles and ability levels 5 / 5
Teachers/parents and students can easily track a student’s progress through feedback or other documentation 5 / 5
Learners can save at regular intervals and re-enter the instruction at any point 5 / 5
Other comments on the program’s instructional considerations: n.a

iPad Apps

FINAL Software Program Eval. Tool (revised by Dr. Wang) Rating
Type of Software Program (e.g., game, drill-practice, content specific or multiple content areas etc) Interactive Telling Time Lite– game with that only focuses on telling time.______________________________iSort Words- game that specifically covers vocabulary, words, rhyming, riming, and making new words.
Summary of the software Program (purpose, intended age group, stated goal/purpose etc.) Interactive Telling Time Lite helps students learn how to tell time with the use of different types of clocks and how to count time backwards with the use of a stopwatch. This game is for 1st/2nd grades.______________________________iSort Words teaches children how to rhyme words, make new words, and explore vocabulary with their 3 different game options. This is for 2nd grade.
#1 Technical/Format/Usability Considerations
The program is easy to install and use. 5 / 5
The program contains quality animation, graphics, sound, and color etc. 5 / 5
The program incorporates principles of effective screen design including readability, legibility, consistency, and use of functional areas. 5 / 5
The program provides flexible means to navigate, search, save, print or download. 1 / 5
The program allows adaption for students with special needs (e.g., audio/visual impaired). 4 / 4
Other comments on the program’s technical/format/usability considerations: Telling Time app did not keep scores saved.
#2 Content Considerations
The content is developmentally appropriate for the targeted age group(s). 5 / 4
The program stimulates a child’s interest and active involvement. 5 / 5
The program is open-ended and provides problem-solving opportunities (high-order thinking). 5 / 5
The directions and instructions are clear and easy to follow for children. 5 / 5
The feedback is timely and effective. 5 / 5
Content reflects a diverse society and is free of gender, ethnic, and/or racial biases 5 / 5
Other comments on the program’s content: I felt as though some of iSort’s vocabulary was a little advanced for 2nd grade.
#3 Educational Considerations
The program allows adaption for use in whole class, group or individual activity 5 / 5
The program encourages social interaction and collaboration with peers or/and with adults. 5 / 5
The program accommodates various learning styles and ability levels 5 / 5
Teachers/parents and students can easily track a student’s progress through feedback or other documentation 5 / 5
Learners can save at regular intervals and re-enter the instruction at any point 5 / 5
Other comments on the program’s instructional considerations: n.a

Websites

FINAL Software Program Eval. Tool (revised by Dr. Wang) Rating
Type of Software Program (e.g., game, drill-practice, content specific or multiple content areas etc) PBSKids– games and drill practices with multiple content/subject areas.______________________________ABCya– games and drill practices with multiple content/subject areas.
Summary of the software Program (purpose, intended age group, stated goal/purpose etc.) PBSKids is an interactive website that offers a multitude of different games for Early childhood/Childhood students.______________________________ABCya is an interactive website that offers a multitude of different games for Early childhood/ Childhood students.
#1 Technical/Format/Usability Considerations
The program is easy to install and use. 5 / 5
The program contains quality animation, graphics, sound, and color etc. 5 / 5
The program incorporates principles of effective screen design including readability, legibility, consistency, and use of functional areas. 5 / 5
The program provides flexible means to navigate, search, save, print or download. 5 / 5
The program allows adaption for students with special needs (e.g., audio/visual imparied). 5 / 5
Other comments on the program’s technical/format/usability considerations: I thought both websites did a great job at keeping a child’s attention, they were fun and had many game options.
#2 Content Considerations
The content is developmentally appropriate for the targeted age group(s). 5 / 5
The program stimulates a child’s interest and active involvement. 5 / 5
The program is open-ended and provides problem-solving opportunities (high-order thinking). 5 / 5
The directions and instructions are clear and easy to follow for children. 5 / 5
The feedback is timely and effective. 5 / 5
Content reflects a diverse society and is free of gender, ethnic, and/or racial biases 5 / 5
Other comments on the program’s content: I felt that both websites did a great job with content areas and keeping a child’s interest.
#3 Educational Considerations
The program allows adaption for use in whole class, group or individual activity 5 / 5
The program encourages social interaction and collaboration with peers or/and with adults. 5 / 5
The program accommodates various learning styles and ability levels 5 / 5
Teachers/parents and students can easily track a student’s progress through feedback or other documentation 5 / 5
Learners can save at regular intervals and re-enter the instruction at any point 5 / 5
Other comments on the program’s instructional considerations: n.a

 

ELA Standards With The Use of Technology

I believe that we as teacher can use so many different technology sources in our classroom when it comes to ELA standards.  There are many apps, programs, software and websites, as we have read in our articles, which are geared towards children.  What better way to use technology in the classroom or at home, than one that can help a child read, listen and understand a story?  I believe we can do this in many ways.

  • We could find a YouTube video to read the story to the class along with pictures from the original book.
  • If there is an ELL learner in your classroom, the teacher could read the story aloud to all of the children, and then allow the ELL learners to go to the literacy center on a computer, tablet or website to listen to the same story in their first language.
  • We could also allow an ELL learner to listen to the story on the computer, tablet or website in English, while following along with the book to become more familiar with reading along and the vocabulary presented in the book.
  • We could then take it a step further and allow our students to make a “continuation” story or page, where the child can write, draw or act our what happens next in the story using technology.  We could allow them to use the computer with the help of a parent, teacher or aide to make a picture, YouTube video, or podcast to tell their story. 
  • We could also allow the children to use the tablets to play vocabulary games with common words used in the story.

 

There are many uses for technology in the classroom, especially in ELA.  These are just some of my ideas, I hope you enjoy!

Reading Reflection 4.3.14

Moody:

Out of all the articles I read, I found this one answered a lot of questions regarding using e-story books in the classroom. As a future teacher, my goal is to work in the Buffalo Public Schools, where I personally went to school. I know that I will have at risk and ELL students in my classroom. As we see or read all the time, these students come to school with skills below their peers due to many factors, and the gap only grows as they go on to the higher grades.

Educator’s goals are to look for materials and information that will help at risk students in the area of literacy. While we know that poor literacy skills in the early years can hurt reading skills, later on we need to find materials that will help these emergent readers. The materials chosen should have strong research behind them, so we are meeting the child’s individual needs and helping them build vocabulary, comprehension, chronological awareness, and help engage them to read. I like that the authors presented all sides on the subject of using e-story books in the classroom. As always, teachers should be “schooled” about what they use in their classrooms.   They should be aware of the research behind their choices and the appropriateness of what they are choosing to use with their students. Anything that can help a student increase literacy skills is great: but it must be great to be considered for use in the classroom.

 

Cahill:

We all know how important reading can be. Not only does it inform and entertain us, but also it should develop language, comprehension skills, fluency and vocabulary. I found this article very informative about the benefits and use of digital picture books, especially when used by poor readers and second language learners. I think that when children who are poor readers are given a story or book to read, their stress increases. Their ability to decode new words affects their comprehension of the reading. If they don’t understand what they are reading, frustration increases and reading becomes a turnoff. With digital picture books, students can listen to someone else read the story. This allows them to stay on task, and build their vocabulary and increase comprehension skills. It was interesting to learn that these students will be more likely to continue to access digital books that are highly interactive and supportive. Teachers have access to a lot of materials, texts and apps. But, they need to be very informed to about the appropriate apps to use with children, what makes a quality e-picture book, which ones develop a child’s vocabulary and comprehension best and their usefulness.

 

Wolfe:

As in other articles we’ve read, adults (teachers and parents) often view children’s use of technology as a negative. They often feel that the time spent on electronic devices is not “learning,” they believe it takes away from educational time. The problem is not with technology, but rather the lack of training for teachers and the need to change the mindset of those who work with children that these e-devices can be “toxic” for children. It’s great to have computers and software available to students, but if there is no set curriculum for their use, and the equipment is not seen as an additional educational tool, then there is no reason to have it in the classroom. As I read this study, I agree that we can help children become literate, not only by introducing them to the printed word, but by using multiple communication modes. It was interesting to see in this study that twins, with the help of their mother, transferred skills learned from the puzzle activity to the computer game using collaborative multimodal dialogue. This helped develop the twin’s literacy skills and gave them the tools needed to use these skills to be successful in new activities.

Web 2.0 Reflections for Groups 5, 6 and 7

Group 5 Podcast:

 I really enjoyed making my podcast, even though it took a lot of time.  It was well worth it!  I think that podcasts are a great way to incorporate parents into the classroom.  You can record your lessons and post them as a podcast so parents can get a gist of what your students are learning.  It is also much easier at times for a parent to listen to a podcast rather than read a letter sent home about what events might be happening in the classroom or school.  I also think it is a great idea to post your lessons just in case a student is sick or out of town.  They can join in on the lesson and not be left behind, so when they do return back to class they can join back in with the class because they already know what is going on.  I also think it is a great tool to allow your students to make their own podcast.  Maybe they can post what they learned, what they would like to know more about and any questions they have for the teacher or their peers.

 

Group 6 Wiki:

I had never heard of a Wiki or what it was used for before I made mine.  I really think that this is a great tool to keep your parents, colleagues and students all on the same page.  I like the idea to use the Wiki as a “weekly/daily newsletter.”  You can also switch it up and maybe do a podcast one week and a Wiki the next week!  I think it is a great way to help introduce the parents into your class.  You could also use it as an icebreaker for the students before coming into your class at the beginning of the year.  I will definitely be using a Wiki in my own classroom!

 

Group 7 Online Survey:

 I was part of group 7 making an Online Survey.  After reading my peer surveys and why you would use them, I really liked a lot of your ideas.  Many of you said that you would give the survey to students at the beginning of the year to find out their interests, or what they may struggle with.  I also liked the idea of asking the parents questions about their child.  I mean, who knows more about a child but their parents!  I also liked how some people picked specific areas of study to survey.  For example, the Math survey or the Literacy survey’s I saw.  Those are two huge areas that teachers are required to focus on, especially with the common core.  Allowing students or parents to comment on these areas of study is a really great idea.  Also, getting as much information about a child before teaching them is a plus, because you can use that information to engage the child and their interests.

Reading Reflection 3.27.14

iLearn II:

As I read this study, I was surprised by the amount of Apps available and geared towards children. While I am familiar with many of the popular Apps available for my iPhone, I was blown away by the fact that over 50% of the top sellers target children.  Also, that the most growth has been seen in Apps for preschoolers. The information presented was quite interesting, but the comments regarding the App gap confirmed my suspicions.  As with other technology and digital media, those in the lower income bracket will once again fail to make it in the loop.  As the study points out, if the use of Apps is to be used as an educational medium, than we must find a way for all learners and their parents to access them.

 

Is There an App for That?:

As I read this study, I feel that the researchers came up with helpful insights.  First, how can we as educators use and integrate Apps into our classrooms and how can we push for the development and study of the effects of Apps on learning?  Also, how can we show parents that it is important for them to use smart devises with their children?

Parents need to understand that they play and important roll in their child’s learning. It’s great that they are allowing their children to access their smart devices, it should not just be a pass back but a time for improving their child’s learning with their guidance. The study found that children like to use these devices with someone else.  Here is an opportunity, not just for the busy parents of today to spend quality time with their child, but also to find Apps, which will reinforce important skills, needed for success in school.  We need to change parental perceptions.  Yes, it is important for children to play outside and have fun, but parents need to become aware that mobile devices can be educational tools.

 

Interactive Whiteboards:

Very often new and innovative technologies are introduced in schools.  These new pieces of equipment often promise teachers that these technologies are the answer to their prayers.  However, many times these “toys” are put into classrooms with very little training for teachers.  I realized this while reading this study.

Teachers and children are the ones who should drive changes in the school system.  But, usually no one speaks to those who are actually working in the system regarding what works and what doesn’t.  While reading it was interesting how students and teachers perceptions were very different in regards to the whiteboards. Teachers saw them as a useful way to engage the students during whole group lessons, while students only saw them as boring until they were allowed to use the whiteboards.  When working in small groups, the students looked at the whiteboards as something to “play” with; not in a bad way, but an interactive way. Students were more engaged with the whiteboards and even appeared more knowledgeable about its use as they discovered new things that the board could do.  It was discouraging to read how independent work on the whiteboard had been prohibited in some settings because students changed the settings on the software.  It appears that students were more tech savvy than their teachers (which we have been reading about). I think that while this new technology has a lot of potential, that potential can only be achieved through better teacher training.  This training can increase teacher confidence and experience with the whiteboard as well as using it appropriately. It is an interactive whiteboard and should be used as such.

 

YouTube Video:

I really liked the AirPlay option to share the iPad screen on the whiteboard in the classroom. I believe this to be very helpful if both, all of your students have iPads or if you are the only one in the room with an iPad.  If all of your students have iPads, than this tool can allow them to follow along with you while using different apps and performing different assignments/activities. They can use the projection of the iPad as a guide to follow along.  If there are any problems, the teacher can show the class what to do as a whole and not just one student at a time.  If you as the teacher are the only one with the iPad, the rest of the class can watch and follow along with you, allowing them to get a sense of how an iPad works and what useful apps are available.  It is also very nice because you are not stuck sitting or standing next to the smartboard, because with AirPlay, there are no wire attachments like she mentioned in the beginning of the video.