Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tool #11

Tools #3, #4, and #5 were probably my favorite Tools.  I already knew how to do basic blogging, and I have used a blog in the past to get information to students.  However, learning how to embed videos, make videos, and really utilize Google Docs were interesting to me.  I could see how those items could be effectively utilized in my classroom.  As stated before, I would use Google Docs to create an interactive tandem writing exercise, possibly for NaNoWriMo.

I wouldn't say that my vision has changed.  All of this technology makes everything much more attainable, particularly the quality of projects as well as technology rich information the students can now consume. These outcomes are not necessarily surprising.  Instead, it is exciting to have so many resources available and accessible for my students to enhance their learning.

Tool #10

First, I would want my students to understand that the internet is "forever."  Things that are emailed, tweeted, and put on Facebook can have serious consequences that can be far-reaching into their futures.  Second, I would stress that they exercise common sense, and always think before they put something out into the world via the internet.  Finally, I would want them to make sure they understand how to control the information that they allow out in cyberspace.  All too often, students will place their phone numbers and addresses on readily accessible social networks that could very quickly make them a target.

I intend to use the "Common Sense" category of Tech Ed, specifically Why Parents and Educators Should Work Together to Teach Digital Citizenship. I think it is very important that this be done at the start of the school year, and reiterated as the year progresses.  There are plenty of opportunities to reaffirm the tenets of this article as the year progresses. I believe this is a way to get information to kids in the classroom, and talk about it at Open House and make sure parents are on board.

Tool #9

1. It's important to tie the technology to the objective so the student understands what the finished product or goal of the objective should be.  Rather than just mess around with the technology without a definitive purpose, the student will instead focus their efforts more productively.

2. Students need to be held accountable for stations and centers (particularly when utilizing technology) to ensure that are using the station to achieve the objective goal.  There has to be accountability or they might not get anything accomplished or take the station seriously.  Each station is set up for a specific purpose which enhances the investigation of the objective goal.  To not hold students accountable would undermine their learning and usage.

3. Thinkfinity was interesting because it provided interactive lessons for students.  I also liked Flashcards+ to help students master vocabulary.

4. I don't have iPads or iTouches in my classroom, so I wouldn't have found many of those apps particularly useful.

5. If I had them, I would probably use them in stations to further investigation and understanding of various topics.  As it is, I utilize my Mac books and Net Books for that exact same purpose.

Tool #8

Ah, technology. Sadly, I feel as though I am grasping most of it at a much slower pace than my students.  However, this doesn't mean I am unwilling or unable to learn--it just isn't always as intuitive for me.  Blogging was no issue, because I am a blogger.  But using Macs versus my usual trusty PCs? Preposterous!

Or is it?

I used an iMac eons ago when I did a brief stint in publishing, and had unfortunately forgotten every meaningful shortcut.  But now I am in a technology rich school, and I am fortunate enough to have 8 Mac Books, 8 Netbooks, a Prometheus board, and even a Flip camera.  Let's just say my life is forever changed.   During this semester so far, I have learned how to make iMovies using the Flip and the Macs, I have had to relearn familiarize myself with Apple (still a work in progress), and I have learned how to make presentations on the Active Board.

As far as managing the equipment, that has been a work in progress.  I have numbers on equipment and sign in/out sheets for the laptops, but I don't love that as a method.  Things get messed up (cords tangled, etc.) and I have trouble managing who had what equipment from class to class.

So I lurked around some of my fellow 11 Tools peoples' blogs.  And I hit the jackpot.  Ms. England at Cornerstone Academy had the ingenious idea to label each Mac with every students' names/team names who are authorized to use each computer.  I love that idea.  Then, I can easily identify who had which computer and may or may not have misused it or put it away in the wrong place.  She calls it "obsessive," but I call it fantastic.

So my plan is to label the computers and make sure each student is aware of the new expectations.