Saturday, December 17, 2011

Reflection on GAME Plans

One of the major problems I had with incorporating technology in the classroom was that I was worried about the time it takes to assign students projects and for students to complete these projects. From the reading about how students can easily become bored with teaching styles that do not use technologies (Prensky, 2008), I understand that when students enter the school building that they have to turn off technology that they are used to using and learn in the style of their parents. It is easy to understand that students could become frustrated and bored in school. While trying to incorporate technology in my classroom last school year, I experienced some problems with my students and their final projects. Working on my GAME plans for this course, I was able to develop more strategies to ensure success for my students and me. One of the areas that I changed was to use scaffolding to help guide my students through the process of learning (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009). In addition, students will have a clear understanding what the assignment is about and ideas on how to complete the final project. Another area I need to improve with is making sure that when students are working in a group that they have clear guidelines on what I expect group collaboration to mean. From this course, I have experience with collaborating online with colleagues. My experience has taught me that although highly motivated professionals will take assignments seriously, there are still time issues when people can complete their assignments and post them online. One solution to this problem is to suggest to my students that they make a meeting time that all members of the group could display the information that they have at the time to allow others to make suggestions before the due date. One of the final areas that I would like to improve on is using the available media that is on the Internet (Hargis & Wilcox, 2008). From the article, there is a list of free available sites that teachers can use to teach their students about online collaboration.

There are many adjustments that can be made to my instructional practice to help me use technology more in my classroom. As I stated earlier, I have always been worried that using technology for projects in the classroom will take away from the instructional time and therefore I would not be able to cover as much material as needed. After working on my GAME plans for a unit, I believe that students will have a better opportunity to understand and remember the material if I allow them to use the media technology that they enjoy using. In addition, it would encourage students to use their creative thinking to complete assignment, which would help them remember many of the concepts that are discussed in class (Cennoamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009). From working on three different areas; problem-based learning, social networking/online collaboration, and digital storytelling, I was able to construct three different lessons that would not take too much class time and would enhance students’ understanding about the content that is being presented to them in my classroom.

References

Cannamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Hargis, J., & Wilcox, S. M. (2008). Ubiquitous, free, and efficient online collaboration tools for teaching and learning. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 9(4), 9 – 17. Retrieved from the Educational Research Complete database.

Prensky, M. (2008). Turning on the lights. Educational Leadership, 65(6), 40 – 45. Retrieved from the Academic Search Complete database.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monitoring My GAME Plan

To ensure that I strengthen my understanding of the development of my GAME plan, I am revisiting my original plan to make changes or to modify it because of information that I have learned by exploring the technologies needed for my Game plan. In addition, with many new journeys in life, I am starting to ask new questions that have arisen during the developing stage of my GAME plan.

One of the areas that have been a problem for me is developing a plan to have students be able to use videos to report their findings to a wiki site. Many of the suggestions that I have received do not allow for a time length over one minute. I have been discussing this with my students to discover what they use and what I am finding is that they use YouTube to host their videos. I am knowledgeable how to import videos from YouTube to a blog and wiki site. The problem is that our school district filter blocks YouTube and therefore students and I cannot watch the finish product. I am working with the tech coordinator to see if there are other options available that will allow students to upload videos.

An area that I thought about changing on my GAME plan was my original thought was to have students research the Internet to discover where the topic they were studying in geometry is used in the real world. Then they would report their findings to a wiki site and present the information to the rest of the class. My department is aligning the curriculum to the states’ standards and many of the standards not dealing directly with geometry are not covered or reviewed. My change would be is to assign the groups of students to research a standard instead of a topic that they are learning in the classroom. This would help as a review for some of the standards that are not covered during the school year.

Assessing students’ progress during the GAME plan activity is a critical part to ensure that the students are taking an active role in their learning. Reading about the different formats for assessments (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009), I have decided on different ways to use formative assessments to guide my students to be creative and succeed with their projects. To ensure that each group member is working to his or her full potential, I will have each group complete a short group reflection survey to rate how the group worked together and what improvements needed to be made. I will also have a checklist to help the students research the topic on the Internet and how to cite the resource in their report. The checklist would include information for the students to tell how and why their resources are reliable. Finally, the summative assessment for their overall project I will create a rubric with the following criteria: reliable resources, creativity with project/report, and completed on time.

I am still looking for any math teacher that wants to share the wiki page with my students and me.

Reference

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Carrying Out My GAME Plan

After reviewing my GAME plan, I was thinking about how important it is that as a teacher I supply adequate time for my students to use technology available to them at school. Most, if not all my students, will be asked to use technology through out school and when they leave school to start a career (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009). To help me gain confidence with the technology that I will use in my GAME plan, I will review the following areas; the resources I will need to carry out the plan, additional information I need, and the steps I have taken so far.

The first part of my GAME plan was to facilitate and inspire students learning and creativity (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008). What I am interested in is having the students use different methods to report where math topics are used in the real world on a wiki page. I believe I have many of the resources I need to carry out my plan. As of right now, I am familiar with many ways to use word processors and import imagines to a wiki page. In addition, I am fortunate to have computers with Internet access for all my students. I have also created a list of questions that would help guide students to different areas to narrow down their Internet searches. Many of these items and knowledge will be needed to carry out the second part of my GAME plan: to promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008).

One of the main areas that I would like to obtain additional information is the many different ways students use technology to demonstrate what they have learned. I have used word documents and imagines on both a wiki and blog site. However, I have talked with many of my students that enjoy using video as a form of reporting. To increase their interest and creativity, I would like to suggest to them using videos for their reports. To be able to do that, I would have to have some knowledge on how to use the software and which software websites are not blocked by the school district filtering system. In addition, I need to figure out which software the students prefer to use and are they allowed to bring in their equipment to school. I am also looking for more mathematics teachers to join the wiki site and have their students involve in the activity.

There have been a few steps that I have taken to help achieve the goal of my GAME plan. The first was a suggestion by one of my colleagues at Walden University. The suggestion was to use a video program called animoto. Some areas of the website was blocked by my school filtering system, but I was able to get the site unblocked and will sign up for a free account. After signing up, I will experiment with the program and ask students to if they feel that this might look interesting to use as a report. I have already set up a wiki site and had students report their findings to the site. During this time, I notice that many of them do not know how to cite their resources. Searching the Internet, I reviewed a site called Son of Citation Machine. This site walks the user through how to write citations using different styles for different resources. I will place this site on my bookmark page so my students can use it to cite their resources correctly. Finally, I have been in contact with a math teacher from another school district since the beginning of the year. However, we have not started collaborating and having our students begin the activity. My goal is for her and I to start before the end of this month.

References

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National educational standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Game Plan

For students to enjoy school and become self-motivating learners, they need to be able to use the technology that they are used to using outside of school. Students no longer need to be at school to be connected to the world around them; therefore they can become bored or unmotivated while in the classroom (Presnsky, 2008). As a teacher, I need to work towards understanding what technologies my students would like to use in the classroom and how to use these technologies to improve my teaching skills. To help me achieve these goals, I have created a GAME plan (set Goals, take Action, Monitor, and Evaluate and Extend) using two technology indicators from the National Education Technology Standards that I feel would improve my use of technology in the classroom (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009).

The first technology standard is to facilitate and inspire students learning and creativity (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008). I have always been interested showing or giving the opportunity to my students to see where math is used in the real world. However, there is many times where I do not believe I have the time in the classroom to explore ideas outside the math curriculum. I feel, like many other math teachers in my department, that we need to cover as many standards as possible during the school year. What I plan to do this year is to have my students work in groups to research where math topics they are studying are used in the real world. If I have one group work on one topic and report their findings using whatever technologies available, I believe that it will not take time away from the daily lessons and allow students to create different ways to express what they learned. After the groups develop their reports, I will save them or have the groups upload their reports to a wiki or blog site. At the end of the school year, I can then review and reflect the progress of the students throughout the learning activity. In addition, students that are in my class the following year will be able to read or watch what students did during the previous years.

The second technology standard is to promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008). From observing students researching topics on the Internet, I believe many of them do not understand how to properly cite resources. In addition, many on line projects are usually conducted within the school and there is no communication with others outside the district. To ensure that students cite their resources properly, I will require a reference page at the end of the groups’ projects and compile an example list to help the students select the appropriate style. Through the graduate courses at Walden University, I met another high school math teacher who is interested in adding information to the wiki site. The other teacher and I are starting to work together to begin having our students work together to complete the activities on the wiki site. With students saving their findings on the wiki site, we will be able to use the information to explain to future students how to cite references, work with others outside the school district, and to communicate using collaboration tools.

If anyone is knowledgeable with video or any other diagonal media software that can be used on a blog or wiki site, I would be interested in the link on how to use them. In addition, if any math teacher would like to join and have their students report information to the wiki site please contact me by email so we can discuss a plan.

References

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National educational standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx.

Prensky, M. (2008). Turning on the lights. Educational Leadership, 65(6), 40 – 45. Retrieved from the Academic Search Complete database.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Evaluating Websites

I have been reading about different strategies to evaluate whether or not websites contain truthful information.  I used some of the strategies to evaluate the website www.martinlutherking.org.  Below is a podcast of my thoughts that occurred during my visit to the site. As teachers, it is important to be able to teach students to interpret sites they are using for information.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Reflection on Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology

            At the beginning of this course, Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology, I wrote a paper describing my personal learning theory.  After completing this course, I reread the paper to see if any of my ideas have changed.  What I discovered was that teaching strategies that I felt work well with my students have a direct relationship with many learning theories discussed in the course.  In the past I have always tried to describe to my students how math topics relate to the real world.  Students seemed to make a connection whenever they could discover value to what they were learning.  Also, I created opportunities for students to work in small groups to enhance their learning process. Many of the ideas presented in this course have given me new strategies to enhance some of my teaching practices to benefit my students.  With the use of technologies in my classroom, along with a greater understanding of the different learning theories, I can create an efficient learning environment for students in my classroom.

             Creating exciting and motivating lessons in math is always a challenge for many teachers.  With the use of technologies in the classroom, teachers can enhance many of their instructional practices.  While introducing new math topics to students, I have noticed that they are interested in comparing where and when the topic is used in the real world.  When they make the connection, it eliminates the abstraction that sometimes happens when students are learning math.   Dr. Debra Pickering describes comparing similarities and differences as a very powerful learning strategy for students to master (Laureate, 2008).  There are many different organizational technology tools that help students to compare different topics and create a document that they can present.  Also, students can see exactly what they are comparing in an easy to read format.  Concept Maps are an example of one of these tools that creates a document showing the relationships of different concepts.  I was definitely impressed with how easy this technology is to use and how students could benefit from comparing what they are learning to how it is used outside the classroom.  Another technology tool that I would like to incorporate in my classroom is VoiceThread.  VoiceThreads would give me the opportunity to communicate with students after they leave my classroom.  There are many times when a student is home and start working on their homework that they have trouble completing some of the difficult math problems.  To help the students while they are at home, I can create a VoiceThread that explains or gives clues how to solve the more difficult problems from their homework.  The extra help the student receives may be enough information for them to complete their assignment and give them a positive feeling of achievement.

            Two long-term goals I have after completing this course are to use technology with instructional practices that I currently use today and to focus on using different instructional strategies introduced in this course.  Many of the instructional practices that I use today can be enhanced with the use of technologies.  I have started to assign a wiki project to groups of my students to have them research where the math topic they are learning is used in the real world.  Although students are able to research how different math topics are used and create a document describing what they discovered, I would like them to be able to compare how math topics can relate to each other.  Using graphic organizers to show the relationships between different math ideas could help students see how to apply what they have learned to the new topic.  There are many math concepts that have a foundation from previous learned material.  For example, probability is an idea from ratios, properties of a square relates to properties of a parallelogram, and similar right triangles leads into trigonometry.  Creating a graphic organizer showing how different ideas relate to each other will give the students a visual learning guide connecting previous learned materials to new topics. As Dr. Michael Orey noted when he was explaining cognitive learning theories, that when information is presented visually, it has a better chance to be stored in the students’ long-term memory (Laureate, 2008).  Another goal would be to incorporate the instructional strategies that use technologies in the classroom.  One of the strategies that I will start using at the end of the year is called reinforcing effort (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007).  I have always explained to my students that their effort on homework reflects their test grades.  Unfortunately, many students do not see this to be true and finish their homework just to get it done.  I am going to assign that the students rate their effort on each assignment and have them give themselves a grade from one to five where five would be maximum effort and one would be minimal or no effort.  Students will then record their grade on a spreadsheet and compare the average in percent of their effort grade to the grade they received on the test.  Also, I will explain to them how to use the graphing functions so they can see how effort relates to achievement.

Reference

Han, S., and Bhattacharya, K. (2001). Constructionism, Learning by Design, and Project Based Learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching and technology. Retrieved January 24, 2011, from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/.

Laureate, Education, Inc (Producer). (2008). Cognitive Learning Theories [DVD]. 
        Baltimore, MD: Orey, M.

Laureate, Education, Inc (Producer). (2008). Instructional Strategies, Part One [DVD]. 
        Baltimore, MD: Pickering, D.

Friday, February 4, 2011

VoiceThread

            VoiceThread is a technology tool that allows a teacher to communicate over the Internet by different means.  My first attempt at using VoiceThread is linked below.  The theme to my VoiceThread is trying to help students remember previous math facts to help them prepare for the state’s standardized test.