Experience with the Blog

I have really enjoyed WordPress this semester.  I find the website very easy to work, with a lot of helpful features such as adding a featured image, it automatically saves your work as you are typing, and provides various ways to post a blog.  I have never blogged before, but this was a great website for my first experience.  I really enjoyed the freedom with blogging, and reading others posts.  I learned a lot from reading my peers posts and getting different opinions and views.  I like the flexibility, openness and how it is so simple and straight forward to work.  I think WordPress would be a great blog to use in a classroom of 5th graders because they can post, look at peers posts, comment and learn from one another.  The teacher can also project the class blog and point out some students’ blogs that were exceptionally well done and interesting.  Students’ writing will also improve and the blog is a more laid back way of writing instead of the standard five paragraph essay.  Overall, I had a great experience with WordPress and will definitely use it in my future classroom!

Advantages of Technology in the Classroom

http://www.teachhub.com/benefits-technology-classroom

I chose this article because it provides many advantages to technology in the classroom that never even crossed my mind.  I always thought technology would be beneficial in the classroom because it makes learning more fun and keeps the students engaged, but there are more reasons to use technology in a classroom, that not everyone is aware of.  This article claims that “technology prepares students for the future, improved retention rate, helps students learn at their own pace, and connects with students” (Janelle Cox).  These reasons make me want to use technology in my own classroom even more than just to keep the students engaged and for a fun lesson.  Now I see that students need to learn at some point how to use technology, since it is advancing so quickly and being used throughout society today.  Further, students tend to retain more information when technology is involved in the lesson.  Technology helps students learn at their own pace because mostly all applications involve individualized instruction, so students will learn at a rate that is appropriate for their learning needs and abilities.  Lastly, while students are not in school, technology allows them to connect to any lessons they missed, homework, power points, to catch them up so when they return to school, they are not as far behind.

My younger brother has all of his homework and textbooks online. The teachers post everything online, even what they did in class, key points to the lesson to remember, and homework assignments.  This has been helpful for my little brother because if he is absent, or forgets his agenda book, all of the homework and information are posted online for him to access and complete.  He has a routine, and knows what he needs to do, and does not have to worry about losing an assignment because it is all online.  I think this has been very beneficial for him, and he said teachers also find it much easier and organized when everything is online.

 

 

Reflecting on EDU 470

Looking back on this semester, I really enjoyed this class and found it incredibly useful for my future classroom.  I have always wanted to use technology because I have seen how it engages students and will enhance the quality of a lesson over all.  Two of the biggest take aways for me that I will definitely incorporate in my future classroom are the apps to help students learn, and the methods of formative assessment.  After playing around with Hooked on Phonics, and other applications that practice oral reading fluency, spelling and comprehension, I think these could greatly benefit a classroom.  I’ve thought about when students could use these applications, maybe use it as a reward for after students complete their classwork or as a warm up into a literacy lesson (if students have headphones).  Children love playing with iPads, so we as teachers might as well take that interest and use it to help them learn.  These applications are a fun, engaging way for students to learn and practice, review or work on their reading or math skills.  As for technology with formative assessment, I think the Kahoot especially would be a great warm up activity into a lesson, to review from the previous days, or simply to refresh students’ minds or get their brains focused again on the topic of that particular subject.  Kahoot is a very open ended assessment, that teachers can use for any subject.  It is a very simple, less intense and more of a fun way to assess students without the stress and anxiety of a formal quiz or test.  I will definitely be using applications on iPads and technology formative assessments in my classroom, to keep my students engaged and interested in the lessons.

Benefits to Blogging

This semester specifically has shown me how blogging can bring many advantages to a classroom.  Before joining wordpress for this class, I my preconceptions of blogging consisted of people complaining on the internet while others followed and commented, or people sharing their opinions in thorough essays that were humerus or completely serious.  The word blogging used to make me think of a lonely individual who never put their computer down and was always writing to please viewers. I never saw any benefits until I actually began blogging for this class.

One particular aspect I really like about blogging is the freedom to write anything, and voice your opinion, while also reading other people’s posts and learning from another point of view.  I think blogging is more casual, and less pressure overall, than writing a few paragraphs on a word document and handing it in.  With blogging, the writer can be writing from any point of view, and not feel the need to be as strict with his or her word choice, or need to follow specific rules of writing in terms of heading, paragraph topics and other elements of essays that are very strict and specific.  Blogging brings a more flexible, engaging, free, and less pressurized participation to a classroom.

Another component of blogging that makes it even more beneficial for a classroom, is the class page that allows students to read each other’s ideas, comment on them, and use as reflection or comparison for their own ideas.  This creates a more natural conversation within the class, which makes the participation less forced.  A teacher can read students posts and provide feedback, even pull out some student’s posts for the class to recognize more in depth.

My new conception of blogging has completely changed.  I will definitely be using blogging in my future classroom, as a great way for students to engage, participate, and contribute to class discussion in a fun, less pressured method.

Photography Can Transform Student’s Learning

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/global_learning/2015/04/photography_can_transform_perspectives.html

This article provided some fun ideas and benefits to using photography in the classroom.  First of all, it is easy for students, and can be a fun activity to enrich their understanding on anything.  This article described an example of some students taking a camera around school to take pictures of something that is ‘ugly’, and take a picture of something they thought is ‘beautiful’ then when they came back to the classroom, they were all excited to share their photo.  They compared what they found, and had to explain what they found and why they thought it was beautiful or ugly.  This sparks a great writing lesson for the students, and will be engaging for the students because they will be eager to share their pictures and why they chose what they captured.  Photography has evolved a lot over the years, especially lately with new applications to edit pictures to highlight colors, and it has become easier to take high quality pictures with just an iPhone.  Students are into the technology and iPhones and iPads, they probably know more about photography than we do because most of them will take pictures  in their spare time, so it would be engaging to use photography in the classroom, and create a more colorful and visual classroom.

Informing Ourselves on Formative Assessment

https://www.commonsense.org/education/top-picks/top-tech-tools-for-formative-assessment

This website listed many forms of assessment to use with technology, and grouped them by categories teachers might be looking for such as quizzes, discussions, interactive lessons and many more.  There were even ratings by other teachers, comments, and information on how to access these websites or apps and if they are free or what it takes to use it.  I tried out many of these tools, and found myself thinking of ways I can incorporate some of them into my future classroom.  I enjoyed Kahoot, Socrative, Plickers, all of which were for quizzing.  I also really liked the discussion website Backchannel chat and Today meet, and Edulastic and Playposit for interactive and video lessons.  Each sample is engaging, fun and brings a different kind of participation and form of assessment into the classroom, instead of just the typical paper and pencil test or quiz.  I think this article is useful for teachers who want to bring more technology into the classroom, not only to engage the students more but also to bring a different type of learning that is fun, different and exciting for everyone.

Disadvantages of Educational TV

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2009/03/04/23childtv.h28.html

After reading this article, I found myself still very torn on the debate of whether or not tv can actually be used for educational purposes.  On the plus side, children can learn phonics or the alphabet, numbers and be guided by fun characters teaching the material to them.  But the students might not be engaged in the learning component, more mesmerized by all the feathers on big bird, or the colors used in sesame street.  Similarly, Dora the Explorer can also be educational, but there is only so much a student can absorb from a colorful cartoon tv show.  The television can present information in a different and more creative way that we as teachers cannot always present.  Personally, I think there are learning components in television, but they need to be addressed.  We as teachers cannot just project a show or movie and expect children to take anything away from the show.  Furthermore, children and parents tend to associate television with laziness and laid back, quiet or relaxing time.  That is the stigma of television, and it is difficult to break that.