I thought that this course gave so much insight into different things that could be used in the classroom. I never thought about how a simple iPad or a computer screen or even a whiteboard could change the feel of a lesson or a classroom environment for students and the teacher. I loved that we got to get introduced with a range of different technology options to use in lessons and get to play with them throughout class presentations. I thought that we were all able to truly understand the range of devices at the end of each class and it made me look forward to going into my practicum site every week because I would get the chance to try and incorporate these different things into lessons or even just look for any examples that my cooperating teachers may have used during their lessons. I think that the iPad apps and the ebook classes really helped more than anything else because those two things are very popular for students and young kids in todays world. When I incorporated an iPad into one of my lessons with my student, she completely lit up about getting to do something different and something “fun” in comparison to her normal pencil and paper work. I think that technology makes learning more fun for younger students and it definitely made our marathon class more interesting as well. There was always more than one way to look at each tool that we were focusing on during the class time and I think that we all took so many different things away from using the technology on our own and as a class as well as trying to bring it into our teaching each week. I think that all teachers should take a course like this because it just gives insight about what is good to use in the classroom and how to use it properly in order for students to get the most out of using it.
I found a great website that had 8 tools that could be used as aids for assistive technology in the classroom. They included screen readers, word talk, work prediction, Supernova Access Suite, Video Magnifiers, Close Captioning and subtitling, face mouse, and sip and puff systems. Some of these things I have heard of before but the two things that really struck my attention were the word talk and the sip and puff system that could be used on the computer in the classroom. The word talk can be downloaded into microsoft word and it allows any type of document to be read aloud and they can also be turned into audio files right through the computer. This helps with students who have vision challenges and its great because there can be shortcuts that are put into the keyboard in order to make it easier for the student or the person to reach the audio tools with ease. This also helps with students who struggle with reading because it allows them to have more than one way to understand the materials that are in front of them. The other tool that I found interesting was the sip and puff system that can be used on a computer. It is a hook up to the computer that has a mouth piece and that allows the student who may be paralyzed to control the computer. This device can also scan different worksheets that may be included with the course materials. It is an easier way for someone who cannot move as well or not at all to get to use all of the technology that is available in the classroom along with everyone else.
I recently signed up to take a course online for this coming summer and I had never heard of the term “distance learning.” Right after the idea of taking a “distance learning” class was brought up to me, the next comment that was made was regarding how expensive it would be. The article that I looked at stated in its first sentence that distance learning was trying to help with the rising cost of a higher education because of technological advances. It is actually considered to be one of the most expensive ways to learn but it is actually very practical. Everything is available to a student on the world wide web and the class can reach to new levels when the student has the freedom and the power to research topics throughout the web regardless where they are in the world. Electronics will soon be taking over the classroom and distance learning shows how teachers and students can use all of these things in the best way possible. Teachers can manage more students and lectures can be available to students in multiple forms. There are downsides to distance learning because some students may not value the actual act of learning within a classroom and attending school when they have the ability to take part in distance learning. Communications also don’t compare to face to face interaction between the student and the teacher when they take part in distance learning.
Last week, I gave a presentation on audiobooks in the classroom and while I did incorporate this article in the presentation, I thought that it was interesting enough to bring it back up in a blog post. When it was discussed in class, this article only provided us with a few quotes on how a teacher reacted to one of her students changing their viewpoint on reading once they were able to use audiobooks. The second part of the article is even more interesting at least for me because it gives different ways audiobooks can help students fall in love with reading. She gave examples such as providing equity in reading experience. This means that all students regardless of their reading level have access to all of the same books. Another example was audiobooks giving a student a stronger and newer way to love learning. It is a completely different type of way to learn and it sparks interest in most students and makes them more willing to try different things while in the classroom or even at home. She also states that it is a different way for students to learn and it also gives teachers a different way to teach reading to students. The ease and ability to just reference a certain page or part of a text allows teachers to have students grasp a deeper understand on smaller parts of their books and stories. It also allows students and teachers to “read with their eyes” and it gives students the courage to read even if they struggle with certain aspects of the task. There are numerous ways that audiobooks can help students and teachers stay on the same page with reading and make it easier for lessons to take place and for students to do things on their own outside of their classroom.
The main point of this article is to give great examples for teachers to use with their students while using digital cameras within the classroom. The biggest points that are brushed upon included that digital cameras are important because they allow students to all be on the same playing field when it comes to illustrations and different ways to bring art into their work and into the classroom. I never thought about a camera giving students an even chance to include art into their learning process. Now that cameras are not that expensive to put into classroom settings, students all have the chance to use them in daily activities while learning. Some great examples of activities that can be used in the classroom with digital cameras include taking pictures of things that are done in a daily routine so they can create a sequence pattern that is visible in the classroom. Students can also take pictures of different things and create matching games based on phonics or math for lesson activities. I thought that these examples were really cool seeing that they can be manipulated into what students need to focus on while learning in school.
This article is meant to show how the 21st century has adapted the chalkboard and the whiteboard into a helpful and interactive tool for students to use throughout the school day. The most helpful attribute that comes with the smart board is the ability to take anything that is available on a computer screen becomes interactive through the smart boards and students can take it upon themselves to read articles and take part in activities on the screen. This allows students to get fully involved with lessons and research has shown that students perform better on content when they are able to become fully engaged with what they are doing and learning about. There is more than one company that creates smart boards. There is SMART, Promethean, Mimio, Numonics, eIntruction, Polyvision, and other companies who have very similar products to use in the classroom. There are so many choices in order for every school district to be able to afford some type of interactive tool for their students, which is very cool.
Since entering my 418/390 classroom this semester I have become aware of the formative assessment tool called Lexia Learning Core 5 which focuses on getting the students reading and then on to the computer to complete small task activities based on 5 reading strategies. These strategies are scaffolded based on the needs of the student who is taking part in these activities. The student will be placed in a level based on their abilities in reading. They will be guided through a series of games that incorporate the reading level that they are on. I thought it was cool to see first hand my students using this piece of technology on their chrome books in the classroom as well as on their iPads and tablets during free time. They even explained to me that the app allows their parents to be aware of how much they use these activities and how they are performing on each aspect. The teacher is also in connection with these things and is able to talk to the parent through the app as well. It makes the students enjoy being tested on their reading and what they need to work on based on possible IEP goals or just trying to meet benchmarks for general education curriculum. I also thought that it was interesting that the Lexia App for teachers is available now on the Apple Watch and all other Apple devices so it allows the teacher to stay connected to his or her students no matter where they may be. Principles and districts are also able to have access to this form of formative assessment with the continuous tracking of student progress in the form of online updates and graphs. I thought it was so cool that this game was helping students learn the core reading skills at a deeper level and allow them to grow as an individual student at their own pace.