Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Journeying Towards Digital Literacy

Digital literacy, or the ability to understand and use technology safely and effectively, is growing in importance as society becomes more and more focused on technology.   It is common to see educators teaching students who are using computers, iPads, and other electronic devices in the classroom.   There is no doubt that the majority of students know exactly how to work a device, but they may not know to use the device effectively to get the most out of their education.  As teachers, it is important for us to show students that technology is an outstanding resource for learning if used correctly.  To help us better understand digital literacy, a professor gave us an option of three different resources to explore. I decided to look at is a website designed to connect education and technology.  This website has a plethora of information located under five tabs near the top of the webpage.  Because this website is packed full of information, it would be extremely difficult for me to be able to explain every resource that can be found, but I do want to give a breakdown of the site in case this website is being considered for use in the classroom setting.  Much like all websites, there could be both positive and negatives found woven within the webpage, but overall the authors of do an excellent job of achieving what they desire: to connect technology and education. 

Pluses of the website-
-          - Extremely informative
-          - Articles from multiple authors offering different ideas and points of view
-         -  Tabs that are easy to understand and follow
-         -  Resources for students and teachers
-          - Social media tab for students- a resource that will catch their eye
-          - You can create an account for this site
-         -  Students could review articles on the site during class

Minuses of the website-
-          - Does not have many resources for parents
-          - The site may be overwhelming in a classroom due to so much information
-          - No interactive games for students
-          - Not designed for lower grades- definitely recommend this website for high school and beyond

What’s interesting about the website-
-         -  “The Teacher’s Guide” tab- breaks down different social media sites and classroom ideas for teachers. This part of the website would be a great resource, especially if you are new to an idea.
-          - Because there is so much on the website, it is interesting that there isn't more resources for parents. They are a big part of education.   

 Even if a teacher decided this website would not be an effective tool to use in their class, it would still be an outstanding resource for them to refer to for ideas and information! I will certainly refer to it in the future!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Establishing a Personal Learning Network

Prior to enrolling in my “Technology in the Classroom-EDU 451” course this semester in college, I did not have much interest in technology.  Often my friends referred to me as “Twitterless Mel” because I was one of very few who made the decision not to dive in to the twitter world.  What never occurred to me though, is that the use of technology does not always reap negative consequences.  Instead, social media and other tools can be used to enhance my knowledge in education, especially in my field of Health and P.E. 

I remember reading the syllabus for EDU 451 and seeing that a twitter account was required for the class.  Honestly, my initial reaction was not excitement; I felt as though I had to give in to something that I had avoided for so long.  Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I made my account, added a picture, and even included some information in the “about me.”  I started exploring twitter, attempting to fill the requirement of finding twelve professionals to follow when I made a mind-altering discovery…there were actually organizations that I was excited to follow all over twitter!  I had no idea that so many health organizations used twitter as a way to communicate facts and tips to the public.  In addition, I was finding a variety of educational organizations that were giving out wonderful tips that would greatly benefit me in the future. 

Lenoir-Rhyne University has multiple requirements for obtaining a degree in education, but one of those is “Lenoir-Rhyne public school licensure candidates should know their content.”  Prior to creating a twitter, I only learned information from the courses that I was taking.  While what I was learning did help me significantly, it was just not possible to learn everything I needed to know from a class in the span of one semester.  This is where I have found technology to be extremely helpful.  Already, I have come across lesson plans, tips, and websites via twitter or Pinterest that I have saved for when I begin teaching. 

In EDU 451, we are using our twitter account to create a personal learning network (PLN) that will help us connect with other educators and find resources that can be used when we start teaching.  At first, I was unsure about how successful this would be for me, but I am finding that it is going well so far.  Already I have started collecting so many ideas that assist me in knowing my content and that I will be able to use to better the education of my future students.  There are still some things that I am nervous to try such as twitter chats, but I think that as I become more comfortable with the tool, I will be excited to use those also.  As a way to spread the resources I have found so far using my PLN, I want to share some links to websites, tweets, and ideas so that teachers can continue building their ideas of activities to do with students.  Know that my focus is primarily on health and physical education in an elementary setting; however,  teachers can still use these ideas to get their students up and moving! -->This link will take you to a website that has a ton of games with videos that students can do in physical education.

                                                            Balloon Ping Pong - I do this with foam pool noodles. I fill an extra large balloon at a 1 to 2 ratio of helium to air. It floats in slow-motion - at a perfect speed to allow my residents to see it and to respond. We just LOVE it!
This would be really easy to make, but students would love to do this activity!  The game is called balloon ping-pong; teachers could use this to help students learn spelling words.  Students could get in partners, say the word they are going to spell, and then they could hit the balloon back-and-forth saying a letter each time until the word is spelled. --> This link is really great for any teacher.  There are so many ideas for bulletin boards and other activities that students would love.  The website is easy to navigate and is divided by grade level. 

Need a new video making resource? Try out Powtoon! It is such a fun, interactive way to incorporate technology in a lesson!

--> This is one of the tweets I posted. You can use Powtoon to make videos for your classroom.  The tool is really easy to learn how to use.  Here is the link to the one I made about my digital story. 

Six Word Response Summary

During my Technology in the Classroom course on September 27th, we used Google Hangouts to observe a lesson in a second grade class.  As a way to respond to the lesson we observed, my class was asked to create a six word summary in response to what we saw.  My summary is below...

"Effective usage of technology with content."