Reflection on Technology

This semester has been one of great growth, in terms of technology. Before taking this education technology class I was fairly tech savvy. But what I didn’t realize was that there is a whole world out there of resources for teachers. For example SMART Exchange, and the many aspects to the google sites. Over the course of 12 weeks we explored many different aspects of technology. That list included:

-SMART Notebook

-PLN’s (Personal Learning Network)

-Infographics

-More about PLN’s

-World of Google

-Interactive Systems- polling, survey’s, and quizzes

-Web 2.0

-I-pads

-App-Smashing

-Digital Citizenship

-Audio and Movie Projects

-Creating Lessons on SMART Notebook

As you can see this is a fairly large list of new aspects of technology. Each one of them serving a purpose to me, a pre-service teacher. When we were first introduced to the different technology tools it was somewhat frustrating. Do to the unfamiliarity with the programs/ tools. But as time went on it slowly became easier. And I soon began to see the true benefits of each of the programs we were using. The benefits are that I can either use the tool to teach a lesson or have students use the tool. Although the technology will change as the years go by, it is important to have the confidence and basic knowledge  to figure out and master the new programs. This ed tech class taught us the now technology.

I feel that this is what this ed tech class did. We were able to work with so much technology that it gave us the confidence to work with any type of technology.  And also some basic skills, like using google forms I believe. I think that all the tools we learned about will be extremely useful as we will be teaching in a very technology oriented curriculum.

Essentially what I am trying to say is that technology is a large part of the world we live in. Especially in the world of a teacher, as part of the new curriculum is focused on technology. So this class became a huge aid in becoming part of a technology world successfully. Better to learn about and be familiar with technology early on in you career rather than later. Take the time now to learn the technology and it will be much easier to adapt to the technology of the future.

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Stop Motion-A Picture Movie

In today’s world technology is just a normal aspect of our world. We wake up everyday and at some point will use that technology for social media, research or the apps available. That is exactly what the app Stop Creation is, it is technology. I have recently explored and made creations with this interactive and free version of the app.

The app Stop Creation is an app where you take still pictures that can run as a movie. The app allows users to add music, voice over and  adjust the speed at which the movie is played. The app also allowing users to share their creations through email, drop box, YouTube, and icloud.

This app was a simple app to navigate around. It is simply a point and shoot type of deal. You set up your scene and choose when to take a photo and when and how fast to move objects in and out of the frame. It was also kind of fun to use. The process is cool. When taking the pictures it doesn’t look like anything but when they are put together. A story ends up being told without any words. Even though this app was fun and exciting it also had its drawbacks.

There was a couple drawbacks that I found with this app. First you need an iPad or iPhone to use the program. If you don’t have either of these that stops the whole process from continuing. Second is that is challenging to find a method in which to share the project where the sound shares as well. My experience with sharing was that I tried through email. It went through but no music. I tried YouTube as well, but it said I didn’t have a linked account, once again not working. I also tried icloud. The video went through but again no sound. I have saved to the camera roll and that only saves a black picture. Also a drawback was that the free version was limited to its options. For example the free version didn’t allow for theme changes or image adding. But I think for what my students would need it for the free version would suffice.

However this app would serve a purpose in my classroom. I think that it would work great when students have to create projects with a presentation. For example if they are reading a book and then have to present how they interpret it. Stop motion would provide a good method of doing so. Stop motion could be a new and inventive alternative to the slideshow of pictures method. Students are so creative and this app allow them to do that. Creativity is key. So I would definitely use this for group projects in my classroom.

COOL TOOLS FOR MY CLASSROOM!

In today’s world we have access to an abundant amount of web resources to use both personally and for school. I think that you could go on for a while naming all of these resources. From presentation tools to pictures tools and drawing tools and audio, graphing, quizzing, etc. The possibilities are end less. For me after exploring through many sites/ tools, I have found three that I think would be very useful and interesting to use. As a pre-service teacher I am always looking for new and creative resources that I could use one day in my own classroom. The top three I have chosen are “Google Docs, Prezi, and Picasa.”

I think there is definitely a possibility of being able to use all three web 2.0 sites in a classroom. First is the Google Docs. Google docs is obviously a program from Google. This program allows students to collaborate on projects together without having to be physically right beside each other. The program requires you to have a Google account and that’s about it. Students can work on documents, PowerPoint, etc on separate computers in separate locations. This is pretty amazing when you think about it. I would use this in my classroom for what I just described above, collaboration among students.

Prezi is another really neat method of presentation to use. Sometimes PowerPoint and even smart notebook can get tedious, so Prezi a innovative alternate. Like Smart Notebook Prezi is more interactive. It has more movement and flow compared to the static square ppt. So I would use this program just as it is meant to be used for. For presentations/ lessons. Or the students could use it if comfortable with it could use it for their presentations.  Ensuring a place for this site in my classroom.

The final of my top three is Picasa brought to us by Google. Picasa is a photo program that stores your photos and has the ability to edit. I think this would work great in my classroom. First of all I want to teacher little kids. And you have to teach them what similarities and differences are. I think edited photos are a great visual way to show that. Not only is it good for students things like that but also a great place to store photos for children’s portfolio’s. Or if your a teacher on a year book committee. the program may work for that.  The Picasa program like the other two could have a place in my classroom.

I chose each of these web sites because I have personally used all of them and I think that they do a stand up job for being free resources. They are easy to use, widely accessible on most devices. And mostly they are new and inventive and interactive. These three were chosen because they work, especially well in a classroom setting.

I am sure there are more plenty useful sites available on “Cool Tools for School.” But on a personal preference, Google Docs, Prezi, and Picasa are right at the top.

Interactive Classrooms~~~Google Forms, Poll Everywhere, and Socrative

There are a variety of interactive systems out there made available not only to teachers but to students as well. These different interactive websites are a great way to get students involved, in a way that engages them. Most of them have grown up with technology like cell phones, tablet, laptops, etc., so incorporating these devices into class can prove to be a powerful thing. I have learned about seven interactive websites this week, but three really seem to stand out to me. Those sites are Google Forms, Poll Everywhere, and Socrative. These were the top three websites in my eyes. These sites can be analyzed in terms of teacher use, student use, flexibility/ variety of questions and diagnostic/ feedback.
GOOGLE FORMS
The Google Forms interactive site is very simple to set up, especially if you already a have google account made. If not create a g-mail account, look under the more section, click on google forms and your in. Because the account is linked to your email there is no need for a “teacher account.” When you get to the point of creating questions, it is simple and takes up little time. You choose the type of question you want (i.e. multiple choice, scale, etc.). All questions are typed in not imported from another place. In order to get these questions out to the class, you need a list of their emails. This is how the questions are sent out. Another great thing is this is free and it also gets done what it needs to.

In terms of student use the google forms site is very simple. Most students will have an email from their school so opening up their email and opening up the questions is no problem. As a way to know which students have completed the task, just insert a question where students put in their name. If not it can be an anonymous questionnaire. These questions can be accessed both on a desktop or a personal device. However there is one distracting element to this, that is students may be distracted by their phone if they are using that or something on their computer.

Google Forms is a fairly flexible in terms of the types of question that can be asked. There is nine types in total. With that you can create any question with more or less answers. With no word/ question limit it provides a way for both teacher and student to explain ideas fully. Which then can help if student are gone and in a different location.

The teacher view after question responses have been submitted is a chart of information. Which can be shown as an example to the class. At any time as the link to the chart is a live link, shown in real time. The link/ report is also automatically saved into your google drive.

POLL EVERYWHERE
Poll Everywhere is a fairly new website that allows students to text in answers anonymously. For this site there is not teacher account needed, anyone can access it. Making for a really easy account set up. The question aspect of it was simple. Question time is as fast as you can type. Signifying that questions are typed and not imported. Another significant feature of the site is no class list needed. Students simply text a number and a code to join the session and then the letter of the answer they want. The teacher here plays the moderator, in that they control how the session is set up. This like the google forms is free and is use full in what it is designed to do.

In being a student that had the opportunity to use poll everywhere. It seemed simple to use. You access it off your phone or tablet. As a student you remain anonymous, ensuring people answering truthfully. However there may be the distracting element of people text friends will they are participating in this activity.
This website isn’t as good with types of question that can be made, compared to Google Forms. There is only multiple choice and true and false options. But no limit on words or questions. And order doesn’t matter as questions are made separately and put into a list that you click on. You choose question order not the site. The site also allows students elsewhere to answer the question as long as they have the number to text, the code, the question and the order of the answers.

The teacher mode of this site looks slightly different then just the question screen. As students answer, the page adds numbers on to whatever answer they have chosen. Which shows in real time, as soon as students send a text it pops up on the screen. Samples can be shown by the teacher by texting an answer in.

SOCRATIVE
The Socrative interactive website was different from the other two sites mentioned above. First it had two different logins, both a teacher and student login. But it was really easy to create an account. Like Google Forms this site is linked with google and allows you to just us your g-mail account. Once into the site you can create questions about whatever topic you want. Which was simple to do. As I had questions done on the topic I chose. As the questions are done, there is no need for a class list before this point. As students will just need the room name. Another perk of the site is it is free and is able to serve its purpose.

In terms of being a student using this site I found it to be easy to work through. You simply put in the room code and it gets you to the intended quiz.

Questions can be multiple choice, true/ false or short answer. None of these with a word limit or question limit. Like the other sites students don’t need to be in the same physical location. As long as they have the room I.D., they can get into the quiz.

As teachers we have access to the reports of what students are doing, if they completed the test and their results. So the view looks different for a teacher compared to the students. The teacher manages the quizzes and gets to see what all students are doing. Where the students only see one quiz for themselves.

To sum it all up, I think Google Forms is my favorite out of the three interactive websites talked about above. To me Forms seemed to be the easiest to use. It also had the most types of questions that you could create. It also had another good aspect, being the live link. This makes it easier to tell you who has submitted a response. Two more really cool things is that the information automatically goes to a spread sheet. Second that it saves into your google drive. Guaranteeing that it saves somewhere. I feel I would use this the most in my class.

Top 3 Education Blogs

What I learned in general from education blogs

In reading through many education blogs that all or many of them serve as a resource for teachers. The blogs provide up to date digital resources.  For example the “Educational technology and mobile learning” blog serves as a great resource when using technology. “Edutopia and “Organized Classroom are also two really great blogs that are well rounded as a resource. All of these education blogs generally taught me that the students are the most important of all and that the blogs can help to better the school experience for students. Because teachers have access to all these amazing sites. The blogs feature ideas that maybe you individually wouldn’t have thought of. My overall feeling from the many blogs out there is that there are there to be looked at and that although you may not agree with all the posts there are very useful resources in each.

The latest post is using You Tube effectively in the classroom. It gives teachers 25 different way to use You Tube more effectively in the classroom. The blog also provides many resources for the iPad, good books, and Google drive. This blog takes one of my top three spots because as we enter into this very digital world,  digital resources will become extremely useful.

The next blog in my top 3 is “Edutopia”. This blog is really useful in that fact that it provides strategies, video and topics on each grade level. Making this blog useful to all teachers. It covers all of it. Edutopia has A to Z topics. I chose this as on of the top three blogs because of how much information it provides.

The next blog I have chosen is the “Organized Classroom.” I chose this blog because of how diverse the information is. The blog is very relate able, the author speaks about everyday issues and problems. It provides teachers with tips and tricks.

~~~~Section 1: Technology, Me, & Education~~~~Section 2: Responding to the Documents

Section 1:

Personally I think that technology is good, especially in this generation. The students that each of us pre-service teachers  and teachers right now will teach have grown up with technology. Evidenced by the fact that 78% of students between the ages of 12-17 will have a cellphone (Alberta Government, 2014, p.2). Cell phones in today’s world are essentially a hand held computer.  It is a part of their lives and I think as teachers we need to take that into consideration and work with the students and not against them.

We are past the era of strictly pen and paper, we have entered the era of the “Inspiring Education” curriculum re-write, which has strong support for the incorporation of technology throughout schools and classrooms. We now have the technology to be more inventive as teachers and the opportunity to allow for our students to have an even greater world view. So as of now I am excited to think about the possibilities that can/ will happen with the technology that is incorporated into my future classroom.

Figuring out this technology now in my second year of my degree will be extremely useful when I do graduate. Much of this technology will become second nature, further propelling my excitement with the possibilities of technology. It seems frustrating now but will eventually serve its purpose.

Some may ask about when it doesn’t work or it cause delays (the frustrating part of technology). How good then can it really be? But with everything we do comes the possibility that it will malfunction and not goes as planned. Life around us is isn’t perfect and neither is technology. You could have written out lesson plans and something could get spilled on them or they become lost. Unforeseen things do happen.

Technology then isn’t alone with the faults it may possess. As for the technology making education better or worse, I think that it can go both ways. I believe that if we rely to heavily on technology that the basic of education may become lost (i.e. handwriting, writing stories instead of typing them). But on the other end by having to little of technology we may become lost in the ever changing and growing world we live in. Finding that balance between the old and new will serve to satisfy the greatest number of people. Because when that technology does fail as teachers we can still go back to the basics and have students be able to cope with that. Be comfortable with the idea that education will still go on if technology ceases to work.

Where the technology presents problems the most is in its expense, time needed to use it and as mentioned its habit of not working properly sometimes. The new technology available can be quite costly, especially to the low-income schools. The regions/schools in which the budget goes to textbooks or repairs.This then presents a problem, the curriculum re-write wants technology implemented throughout. This raises the question of how do you do this when the technology is so expensive? This becomes a large hurdle in technology. A second challenge of technology is it is time consuming. As teachers we are already extremely busy, so using new technology can fill up our already hectic schedule. A third and maybe even the most frustrating aspect is when the technology doesn’t work. For example a document or PowerPoint doesn’t save or the computer doesn’t load. There are many cases like the ones mentioned that I have experienced myself and I am sure many other people have as well. The technology failing then once again requires more time of the person using it. Technology is great when it works, but when it doesn’t the result is extremely frustrating. I present the same ideas on blogging as I do on any other aspect of technology. It takes time to learn it. But once you do it is usually beneficial. It helps you to grow in some shape or form.

References

Alberta Government. (2014). Technology Briefing. Retrieved from http://education.alberta.ca/media/8640236/tech-briefing-byod.pdf

Section 2:

The documents BYOD, Digital Citizenship, Teaching Quality Standards, and 4 Reasons People Don’t Blog are all in favor of incorporating technology into the classroom. The idea that if the technology makes you a better teacher then use it.

The BYOD (bring your own device) article really pushes for the incorporation of technology into classrooms, by having students bring in their own technology. The students then are a lot more familiar with their own personal devices/ technology, meaning less delay time for lessons, as most school computers or laptops can take up to 3-4 minutes to fully load. As for the students who don’t have the technology the school would need to provide something. Or the government, as they want to implement the technology filled curriculum re-write, then provide the means to do it. Fill in the technology gaps for schools.

I honestly think that the schools will eventually move towards this type of classroom. In reading this article it stated that way over half of students today have some form of a personal device. As school it is a lot easier to have a few devices around for students that don’t rather than providing for the whole class.  The digital citizenship document has the similar ideology as the BYOD article.

Digital citizenship means using the internet as a part of something bigger then just for meaningless searching. It means using technology to learn and share knowledge. Because the internet can provide so many opportunities for students. Like the BYOD document, I think that classrooms will be digital classrooms. Technology will be incorporated throughout. This is already starting to happen in some schools. Many classrooms have computers, laptops, or Ipads. Showing that this type of learning is going to happen. We are becoming a very digital world.

The 4 reasons article discusses teachers becoming more digitally experienced by writing blogs. I think that the author has a point to believing that better teachers blog. Because the new Inspired Education curriculum rewrite calls for more technology incorporation. Meaning teachers need to be comfortable with technology. I think blogging could provide that initial step into the technology world. It allows teachers to just write. It doesn’t require a great amount of knowledge about technology either. Making it a great teacher asset.

The final document is the most formal. It concerns the list of teaching standards. It is the standards in which is used to give students a basic education. I also think that this document serves as useful purpose. It makes sure students get a pretty good basic education. The document concerns the student and them getting the best possible education. It also gives the teachers a basic guideline to follow. This type of document especially useful to new teachers and pre-service teachers like myself.

As a whole each of the four documents looks to better the students. Creating the greatest amount of success for the greatest number of students. And using technology as means to doing this. I say go for it. Embrace the the technological world we live in.

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