Friday, October 21, 2011

Tool #8 New Tools and Management

Although I was familiar with much of the information I read, I did learn that I can use my school computer to sync the new devices using i-Tunes.  Unfortunately, I am not a classroom teacher, so I will not be a lucky recipient of the new technology.

The i-Pad, i-Touch, and Netbook all have incredible potential for learning in the classroom.  Like all other tools in student hands, the way in which students care for and use the tools are two issues that must be addressed prior to giving your students access to the hardware. Student expectations must be set, legal forms and permissions must be completed by the parents, and a plan must be set in place to ensure that access is equal among all students. Student and teacher accoutibility is crucial if learning is to take place. While students are instantly engaged with using different Apps, teachers must be viligent to be sure that students aren't just hopping around Apps just for the sake of playing with the new toy.

I believe the best kind of uses for i-Touches and i-Pads is for creating and communicating with others. Using screencasts to create tutorials give math or other content areas a real life application for learning math.  While math Apps can be fun and practical for drilling, this type of Apps hold student attention only briefly. When students use math Apps, they often skip around when some thing becomes difficult. Finding Apps that help students to create knowledge is more worthwhile investment. As challenging as it can become to use teach the students to use it as a learning resource, the new technology coming down the pipe can be a great asset to both the teacher and the student.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tool #7 Reaching Beyond the Classroom

Providing learning experiences for students to engage in activities that create episodic memories is one benefit of using on-line communities. Another benefit is that we can broaden our students' scope of the world. After browsing the various ways in which educators and students can collaborate with others, I think that Class2Class is a viable way for students to gather data for exploring trends, patterns, and/or probability. How could I use it? I would start a data gathering project for a proportions unit involving the colors of Skittles candy.
  1. Content objective: Students will know and understand proportional relationships by calculating the proportions of different colored Skittles in one bag of Skittles and recording class data.
  2. When you plan to implement: I would implement the project for about a three week period. As soon as the students begin their exploration of ratios, we would begin collection of the data. After students become proficient at finding the proportional relationships, they would begin to calculate proportions found from samples taken in other classes.
  3. What tool(s) you plan to use: I would use the Class2Class website that allows you to post projects for collaboration. Skyping other classes would also be a possibility.
  4. A brief description of the project (plan - two or three sentences): Students explore proportional relationship between the numbers of different color candies in a bag of Skittles. For instance, if it is determined that the ratio of red Skittles to purple Skittles was two to five, we would look at samples across the country. Students would then make some predictions based on the ratios known in their classroom and write their own questions like the following? If there are two red Skittles in every bag of 50, what would the ratio be if there were 1000 bags?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tool #6 Use Tools to Promote Discussions

Promoting on-line discussions is an exciting aspect of on-line communities. I am part of the Diigo community for I-Coaches and Emodo for SBISD teachers. In Diigo, I have posted bookmarks to share with others. Asking questions is a great way to engage others to share their ideas with you.  I posted videos from the Historyteacher's Youtube channel on Edmodo to share with the SBISD community. As long as the conversation is focused on professional discourse about lessons and strategies, on-line communities are exciting groups to which one can belong.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tool #5 Creating with Web 2.0

Creating content using the web tools takes time to learn. Therefore, students should have multiple times to practice with it before working with the tools as a group. I liked Glogster for making online posters. Students could create posters review content or demonstrate learning. The Glog I created could be the "set" and "purpose" at the beginning of a decimal unit.

I chose to create a blog for my second application in this section of the 11 Tools to reach an audience with student math tutorials. This is a project I am currently working on with some of my math teachers. Visit my Blog or my Glog at the links below.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tool#4 Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a new way of sharing in which one doesn't clog up another person's email. I have created multiple documents to share with my colleagues. One was a copy of the teachers' planning times to share with district personnel who are visiting our schools. Having a document that I could edit easily and have the changes easily accessible was convenient. I didn't have to remember to send the revised version to anyone. My colleagues view the document through their mobile devices when necessary and can see the changes the next time they open up the document.

The second document I created was a spreadsheet of student data that I shared with math lab teachers. Again, being able to access the information easily from different locations was great. When I was working with the teacher, I didn't have to log on to her computer to access the data file. I simply asked her to retrieve the file from her Google Docs. It was a very convenient way to retrieve information.

Ways in which the teacher could use Google Docs in the classroom include any projects in which students have to collaborate in groups. Students who engage in group work often have the problem of having to email one another or share information view jump drives. Now, students can begin creating their research on Google Docs and work on them from home.  The forms that students can generate could also facilitate any kind of survey that wanted to conduct in an effort to collect data for creating graphs and charts.