Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Reflection on Day One

In today's class, you
  • reviewed some technology terminology
  • discussed the standards requiring teachers to use technology
  • used a virtual environment (Wii) for educational purposes
  • discussed cloud computing (Tegrity, Moodle, Google Docs, SkyDrive) as a tool for teachers
  • created an online avatar (Voki)
  • created a classroom Web site (Wix)
  • used a blog (Blogger) for educational purposes
  • discussed the use of screencasting software (Jing) to instruct students
  • created an online presentation (Prezi)
Which of these types of technology do you think you will implement in your own teaching?  How do you plan to utilize it?  How will it affect your students' learning?

Using a Blog in the Classroom

Some teachers use a blog as an online "discussion room," where their students go to share their thoughts and respond to their classmates' ideas.  A teacher may post a discussion topic or question to which students write their responses, and students may be asked to write in reaction to their peers' responses, too.  This approach to blogging works well with issues or matters of opinion: having students react to a novel that they're reading, or to a political issue, or to current events in the world of science or technology, etc.

Some teachers use a blog as an online newsletter, often intended for students and their parents to read.  An elementary teacher may assign one student each day to write a blog post that summarizes that day's classroom activities, giving students practical experience writing for a real audience: the children's parents, who can log on at home and read about their kids' day at school.  Or a teacher him-/herself could write about classroom events, share announcements and reminders, post descriptions of assignments, share links to online resources to help with homework, etc.

Some teachers use a blog as a means of interacting with other teachers.  Teachers can post lesson ideas or teaching-related questions and get feedback from other teachers reading that blog.

To practice that last use of blogging, please do two things:

FIRST, read a teacher's blog or a teaching-related blog and write a comment on this blog post that
  1. names the blog that you read,
  2. shares its URL [or Web address:, for example],
  3. describes it,
  4. and offers your perspective on its content: for whom it would be useful, how to make use of that blog, etc.
SECOND, read through the other comments on this blog post (the comments left by the other participants in this room today) and respond to at least one of them.  You could share your thoughts about something that the writer has mentioned, or you could skim the blog that the writer is writing about and give your own opinion of it.

You could use your favorite search engine (e.g., Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc.) to look for a blog, or you could select one from one of these sources:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Online Resources

Free lessons online -- Edutopia

Collaborative projects online that a teacher can have his/her students join -- Edutopia

Reflection activities (to help students' learning "stick") that utilize high-tech tools -- Edutopia

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Education News: January 30, 2011

January 28 | NV school accepts only students with an IQ at or above 145 and offers a curriculum designed to challenge highly gifted students, who often are not challenged enough in standard schools -- Education Next

January 27 | Leader of Next Vista for Learning (a source of free online media for educators) offers his thoughts about how to encourage teachers to use new technology when teaching -- T.H.E. Journal

January 27 | Teacher explains how her students learn algebra while using a class set of iPads and its features, including a record button to use during her lectures, online videos explaining math concepts, and an "app" version of the course textbook -- Mind/Shift

January 26 | Although ND is at the top of states whose students perform well on national science exams, between 70% and 80% of students nationwide score below proficiency at a time when science knowledge and skills are perceived to be crucial for success in future careers -- Washington Post

January 26 | Improving science education may require efforts in four areas: fewer but "deeper" standards; more exciting science lessons in elementary school; more inquiry and problem solving in secondary school; and a higher number of qualified science teachers -- Hechinger Report

January 26 | Pres. Obama's plans for rewriting the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (named "No Child Left Behind" by Pres. Bush) include elements with bipartisan support; but some Democrats resist his ideas on ensuring teacher quality, and some Republicans want to eliminate completely the federal government's influence schools -- Washington Post

January 26 | Studies suggest that students learn more in a "blended" learning environment: one that uses a combination of face-to-face and online components for teaching and learning -- U.S. News & World Report

January 26 | Google establishes a K-12 education area in its Google Apps Marketplace for teachers to access and download free Web applications that integrate with Google products -- T.H.E. Journal

January 26 | MA school shares its rationale for implementing looping, the practice of keeping one teacher with the same group of students for more than one school year -- Swampscott Reporter

January 25 | Research suggests that text-messaging can improve children's spelling skills--that, contrary to popular belief, the use of "textisms" is not a detriment to learning correct spelling but is an aid to remembering spelling rules -- Read Write Web

January 25 | With science knowledge and skills receiving special emphasis in schools, experts share ideas about what makes a great science teacher -- Hechinger Report

January 25 | CO teacher uses anti-plagiarism software moreso as a means of helping students spot their errors in paraphrasing and citation than as a tool for "catching" cheaters -- T.H.E. Journal

January 25 | Technology journalist summarizes the federal Dept. of Ed.'s new National Education Technology Plan -- Edutopia

January 24 | English teacher plays classical, instrumental music while students write three times a week in their journals, and she sees their writing fluency increase as the months go by -- Edutopia

January 24 | Although some schools stop teaching cursive writing, calling it impractical in a digital world, research shows that handwriting increases brain activity associated with language, motor skills, and speech -- ABC News

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Education News: January 23, 2011

January 20 | Current researchers into curriculum and pedagogy emphasize the importance of the work of educator Madeline Hunter, whose insights into lesson planning and delivery were most popular in the 1970s and '80s
  • Michael Schmoker emphasizes Hunter's components of a sound lesson (clear objectives, teaching/modeling/demonstrating, guided practice, and checks for understanding) and offers two highly effective templates for instruction: interactive lecture and direct teaching, and literacy-based lessons with a focus on text -- ASCD Express
  • Patricia Wolfe suggests that recent neuroscience research supports Hunter's elements of effective teaching by showing how they aid the brain in preparing for, and engaging in, learning -- ASCD Express
  • Jill Van Hof supports Hunter's contention that closure is an important part of a lesson and offers journal writing as one means to encourage students to reflect on what they've learned -- ASCD Express
  • Leela George points out how Hunter's emphasis on the importance of students' active participation influenced George's own teaching and her students' learning -- ASCD Express
  • Madeline Hunter herself wrote an article in 1985 addressing myths that had arisen about her model of effective teaching and clarifying how to apply her work to the classroom -- Educational Leadership
January 20 | Sec'y of Ed. Duncan hopes that his months of meetings with Congressional members from both parties will encourage Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to include revisions based on lessons learned from its previous version (called "No Child Left Behind") -- Christian Science Monitor

January 20 | NJ elementary school teacher uses Wii for math, having students play interactive video games while others track scores and statistics -- Daily Journal
January 20 | IL teacher removes desks from her classroom and replaces them with bean bags, yoga balls, etc., hoping that unusual seating will inspire creativity and engage her students . . . but moves them to a more traditional room with desks when it's time to take tests -- Patch

January 19 | Professor posits that e-learning is not something separate from, or in competition with, traditional on-campus learning but is rather another means by which learning can take place as part of an overall on-campus education -- Campus Technology

January 19 | MO school district tries "going paperless" with pilot project that has a high school using e-textbooks and having students take notes and test using digital devices rather than paper and pens -- Suburban Journals

January 19 | Major textbook company creates an Apple iPad application version of its algebra textbook to determine, in a year-long study, whether its interactive features allow students to learn math better than via a traditional book -- Mind/Shift