Reflection Post Web Conferencing
I enjoy taking the opportunity to use new 2.0 tools to reflect on and expand my learning environment and experiences. I find the challenge of synthesizing new information using a new tool brings my learning experience to a whole new level. It makes me think about not only new information, but also question the best tool to help me digest and share what I’ve learned.
For this assignment, there was no question conducting a web conference would be the way to share what I learned. This is something I’m hoping to introduce as a professional development option for teachers this coming year. Though I’ve used Google Hangouts before, I was hoping to get familiar with some other tools. Unfortunately this week is my first week as a distance-learning student with extremely limited Internet connection. In my summer travels, I’ve been reduced to one hour of Internet per week. This experience has been humbling for someone who spends 95% of computer time online. Some of the challenges I’ve run into are waiting for classmates presentations to load, finding photos to use in my presentation, accessing additional research, exploring web-based web conferencing tools, copying and pasting assignment instructions, and limited awareness of peers progress.
As we get ready to introduce Chromebooks in our district next year, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I would have completed these assignments if I had taken the ever so light Chromebook on my European vacation. Anyway I think it’s been a good experience to remember what it was like to operate offline and should I have some precautions I’ll be putting in place to make next week go a little smoother.
Good science methodology involves conducting tests and making observations. In the screencasts below I explore how simulations, virtual manipulative, and a virtual world can be used as learning activities.
Virtual World–Second Life
I’ve long been interested in virtual worlds, who wouldn’t want to explore without paying for gas, hotels, flights, etc., so I took this opportunity to spend a little more time getting my feet wet in Second Life. I was impressed with resources and activities found on Genome Island; I found scavenger hunts, interactive experiments like the mixallamas gene game, links to outside resources, and really cool virtual simulations like the 3D cell.
I found Second Life exciting and genuinely had the sense of being an explorer, however I did spend as much time experimenting with my avatar’s moves as I did exploring. Second Life seems like a neat tool for a teacher who is experienced with the Second Life landscape. Click on the photos to come on a tour with my avatar or click here.
Interactive Science Simulations
National Library of Virtual Manipulative
The National Library of Virtual Manipulative (NLVM) contains around 100 virtual manipulative that address concepts in numbers & operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data & probability. These manipulative virtually mimic many classroom manipulative like geoblocks, cuisnes rods, beakers, and rules. A teacher/parent section describes how each tool supports national math standards. These tools can be used to practice concepts, explore prior learned with new variables. I recommend that students use of these tools are guided by critical thinking questions.
The NLVM states, “Learning and understanding mathematics, at every level, requires student engagement. Mathematics is not, as has been said, a spectator sport. Too much of current instruction fails to actively involve students. One way to address the problem is through the use of manipulatives, physical objects that help students visualize relationships and applications.”
Click the photo above to take a quick virtual tour, or click here.
Optimal technology integration can play a huge role in increasing student engagement, support, and parent involvement, differentiating learning, class management, simplifying planning and collaborations, and promoting continual professional development. While many technologies have been designed specifically to streamline learning management, other technologies enhance learning in specific content area. This is the focus of this post. TPACK planning strategy is a method to design instruction that takes into account technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge. In sections below, we’ll look at the relative advantage of incorporating various tools to teach specific skills in Language Arts.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS
Language skills: vocabulary, decoding/phonics, fluency, comprehension.
The advantage to using technology to teach these skills ranges from increased motivation and scaffolding to individualized instruction and feedback. Specifically, technology provides additional support that typically isn’t available with unless the teacher is working directly with the student or in small groups Roblyer & Doering (2010). These tools support students to have successful reading experiences by making reading more engaging, encourage the active use of comprehension strategies, and provide learning opportunities within the context of meaningful texts.
- interactive vocabulary lessons
- online dictionaries, thesauri, and encyclopedias, with speech capabilities
- online texts with hyperlinks that give students definitions of words
- websites, discussions, online publishing, web logs, and other technology-increase the amount time students spend reading and writing
- matching sounds/letters, spoken/written words, or adding letters to complete a word
- game contexts, visual presentations, and exciting stories to engage and hold interest
- software that individualizes learning by tracking progress, providing repetition, altering speed of speech, and giving immediate feedback
- texts with scaffolds to support phonic skills (click words to hear the individual sounds or whole words)
- individualize stories that focus on the letter-sound correspondences and words that the student has not yet mastered
- model fluent oral reading
- automated help in decoding individual words
- highlighted phrases to guide expressive reading
- pronunciation and meaning support, allowing beginners to attempt more challenging text on their own
- speech recognition tools that offer immediate help while reading aloud
- recording and analysis tools to help assess students’ levels of fluency and inform instructional decisions.
- hypertext/hypermedia to scaffold comprehension including clarifications, summaries, concept maps, and thinking questions
- embedded prompts that ask students to answer questions, add to concept maps or other graphic organizers, or summarize information
- active reading prompting students to read words aloud, provide definitions, explain concepts in texts, and provide visual aids.
Technology can be used to increase literacy development by matching students with text that fits their reading interests and level, connecting students with real-life reading opportunities, building broader connections around stories, and offering unique chances for students to reflect and share their thoughts (Sherman et al 2004). The primary advantage to implementing technology for literacy development is that it creates authentic opportunities for students to use their literacy skills. Students need to understand technology use in professional or formal settings.
Literacy Development Tools
- Online reading materials: ebooks, news, discussion boards, how-to, pop-culture, fiction/non-fiction stories
- interactive story books: talking/electronic books, highlighter/notetaking functions, hypermedia links
- digital story telling including computer-based images, text, recorded audio narration, video clips and/or music.
- blog chronicling or journal writing
- video projects that include concepting, script-writing, editing, rewriting, story-boarding, and filming
- Collaborative literacy projects with writers or other professionals, other schools/grade levels, and people in other cultures
- Discussion boards, instant messaging, microbloging, emailing, vlogs, wall-posts, crowd sourcing
If you’ve written anything of any length by hand lately, you probably remember how difficult it is to do any major editing without starting over from scratch. Today’s digital writing process allows students to easily play with words, revise sentence structures, reorder events, collaborate, and experiment with different publishing options. Word processing tools developed out of writers’ needs rather than a fun computer tool (Kunde 1986). By 1977 with the advent of the floppy disk, word processing was separated to from computer hardward and is now “one of the most common general applications for personal computers.” (Blissmer 1985)
Writing Process Tools
- story generators including setting, characters, plot, solution
- brainstorming graphic organizers, concept mapping, electronic outliners
- word processing to edit, spell check, reorder text, and check grammar
- desktop publishing including newspapers, brochures, books, booklets
- web publishing including blogs and web sites
Blissmer, Robert H. (1985). An introduction to information systems 1985-1986. Computer Annual. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Kunde, B. (2008). A brief history of word processing (through 1986). Redwood City: Fleabonnet Press. Retrieved from http://www.stanford.edu/~bkunde/fb-press/articles/wdprhist.html#BL
Roblyer, M.D, & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson.
Sherman, D. & Kleiman, G. & Peterson, K. (2004). Technology and teaching children to read: what does the research have to say? Education Development Center, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.neirtec.org/reading_report/report.htm
Technology is evolving at the speed of light and no matter what your experience levels is it can feel impossible to keep up with all the latest gadgets and tool. But sometimes, especially when it comes to technology, being the jack-of-all-trades won’t give you or your students the best pay off. So this semester, lets get off the cyber super highway and zero in on one tool that will make some serious gains in the classroom. Choose either Learing Adventure one or two and then complete the Final Mission.
Create a Professional Learning Network: Twitter PLN
Regular positive encounters with other educators can make the difference between feeling like an isolated island or that you have an army of support behind you. So how do you develop you Professional Learning Network, or PLN? Believe it or not, Twitter has become amazing tools for connecting people quickly. Today, if you’re not already a member, you get to see what all the hype is about.
Learner’s Adventure #1
- Browse the Twitter Resources below
- Sign up for a Twitter account & record your login info.
- Find me and follow me @ FrankEducator.
- Post your first tweet.
What’s a PLN? Sketchy Explaination: Starting a PLN
Edutopia “How to use Twitter to Grow Ur PLN.”
Claim Your Space in The Cloud: Diigo Social Bookmark
Diigo is a bookmarking tool that allows you to flag items of interest and then later access them from any computer or phone when you log on to your Diigo account. You can see what other people are bookmarking and have access to all webpages of interest from anywhere. If you don’t have a Diigo account, today is the day you will join the cloud.
Learner’s Adventure #2
- Browse the Diigo Resources below
- Sign up for a Diigo account and record your login info.
- Start bookmarking your favorite education sites.
- Share your bookmark with your teaching team and invite them join.
Using Diigo: Adding Bookmarks to Your Library
Final Mission-Wall Wisher
Either or the tools you explored today have a lot of components and many options you can use for bringing them into the classroom. To wrap up the day, we’ll share our ah-ha’s, road blocks, and outstanding questions on Wallwisher. This site works just like Post-It’s.
- Follow this link to our Wallwishers wrapup.
- Create and account and record your login info
- Post an ah-ha, a roadblock you faced, and a question you still have (they can all be on the same post)
- Review the resources below to see if Wallwisher has a place in your classroom.
Thanks for participating!
I don’t think anyone would disagree there’s an overabundance of information to keep up with on the web, especially if your interest is the ever evolving field of EDTECH. My favorite web tools are those that help us curate and manage content. If you’re looking for a great place to get started, browse these high quality blogs. My recommendation would be to pick no more than three and look for authors that cover different topics and those who publish on different dates.
EDTECH’s 50 Must Read K-12 IT Blogs 2012
Here are some great resources to find videos to use in the classroom.
- YouTube Education
- Teacher’s Domain
- Watch Know
- Teacher Tube
- 100 Best YouTube Videos for Teachers
- Teaching Videos
- Discovery Education
- NEO K12: Educational Videos, Lessons & Games for K12 School Kids
- Video Resources for the Classroom
- 25 Places to Find Instructional Videos
For information on how to integrate videos checkout: