1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
It is important for teachers to show their interest in using the latest technology to improve interactions with students, especially within virtual environments. Using Microsoft Word, I created a newsletter for the first week of class. I customized the newsletter to suit my specific class subject, class topics, and required materials. Using the table feature of Microsoft Word, I created a custom masthead. I also used Clipart, column formatting, dropcaps, and custom bullets to produce the newsletter. I inserted relevant images in each article, using the text wrapping feature, and included a picture of myself to introduce myself to my readers and give them some background on my career. These images are displayed in a creative fashion to inspire my students to add images to their own creations. I added the other effects to model my professionalism to my readers and inspire them to produce and share their own work publicly. My innovative use of technology allows me to use Microsoft Word creatively to show my students the kind of tools necessary to create, develop, and organize ideas.
As technology continues to grow students will become more tech savvy, so it is important that educators find ways students can use resources posted by instructors in an online environment. Using Google’s free blogging tool Blogger, I created a classroom blog. Through my class blog, a discussion or information site published in the Internet, I can communicate and collaborate with students and parents. I learned how to make my blog accessible to students and parents by establishing a relative friendly name for the blog and a customized address. I learned to make my blog more engaging through the use of weekly journals reflections where I posted and shared my reflection on contemporary education topics from Learning and Leading with Technology, from ISTE. I also wrote and designed pages and blog posts that contribute to reinforcing what I have done this semester and embedded many examples of this work in tabbed pages that are displayed in a visual manner. Through my creative blog design, I’ve demonstrated the ability to create and online learning environment. My Blog promotes personal and academic information where students can work collaboratively with peers as they enhance their learning and technology skills.
2. Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
Using Prezi, a free web-based presentation software, I created a multimedia presentation that brainstorms lesson ideas about the National Education Technology Standards (NETS-S) for students in high school. The presentation also includes examples of lesson ideas on how to implement the standards. In Prezi I learned how to use frames and create paths between frames, insert videos and images, and customize the placement of text. My entire presentation was formed around the placement of various frames tilted at various angles. During the viewing of the presentation, Prezi zooms in and out to each successive frame, creating a nonlinear motion and adding effectiveness to the overall presentation. The contents of each slide contained the NETS-S performance indicator, a relevant image, and an idea for a web-based lesson. By designing and creating a Prezi presentation, I was able to grab the attention of students and peers and communicate effectively the NETS-S performance indicator and web-based lesson ideas. My Prezi stands as an inspiration for students to create their own presentations using this digital tool and present them effectively to their audiences.
Google Assessment (Forms):
In Google Drive, a web-based storage tool developed by Google, I used the Forms feature to create custom assessments, quizzes, and polls to use on my blog and other websites. My Google Assessment was created for the viewers of my Prezi presentation to give their comments and opinions through multiple choice questions, checkboxes, and a scale. I started with a blank form in Google Drive and proceeded to add custom questions and answers for my viewers to either choose or fill in. First, I placed text boxes for viewers to add their first and last names so that I could identify their responses later. Next, I proceeded to add a multiple choice question with six possible choices, a scale question with values from one to five, and a yes or no response question. Last, I included a link for viewers to see the results of the assessment, which are automatically sent to a spreadsheet. The Google Assessment that followed my Prezi presentation allowed me to provide a summative assessment of a technological tool containing content standard that can be used in any classroom. The assessment itself allowed me to gather information from students and interpret the results in a constructive manner, thereby giving me a way to improve upon my technological creations. Providing the link to the results of the assessment gave students the opportunity to learn how the data from the assessment was efficiently stored and used in a way that provided information about improvements that could be made.
3. Model Digital Age Work and Learning
Using iMovie, Apple’s free movie making software on the Mac, I created a public service announcement (PSA) about the Cal State San Marcos campus. The movie I created incorporates various videos of the campus and facts gathered from the campus website. Within the iMovie software, I first created a project and uploaded the video clips of the campus, then organized the clips into sections to create a 60 second movie. I added a title, transitions between each video clip, and ending credits. Within each clip, I added information and facts relevant to the campus that I gathered from the campus library and website. I took that audio out from each clip and instead uploaded an entire song to play uninterrupted during the movie. Last, I used the computer’s webcam to record myself on campus and then put the clip in the movie. After exporting the movie to a Quicktime format, I uploaded it to my blog. The iMovie PSA has allowed me to demonstrate my fluency in technology systems. I used this fluency when creating the PSA so that I could transfer my knowledge of iMovie to new situations; in this case, people interested in attending Cal State San Marcos will now have reliable information and a first-hand view of the campus. In addition, my knowledge of iMovie has allowed me share relevant information and ideas to potential students and parents using digital-age media.
Using Diigo, a free web-based social bookmarking site, I created and developed a library of websites which are particularly useful in the field of education. I can share these links with people with whom I connect or anyone accessing the Diigo public. I first bookmarked several websites, like VisualMathLearning.com and Shodor.org, related to math education and discovered that many other users share the same interests in education that I do. I added tags, or keywords, and descriptions to each website that I bookmarked so that I could easily reference them later. I also joined many groups on Diigo in which I can connect and collaborate with other educators and share information in the form of web links. By using the search tool to find useful links, users, and groups, Diigo allowed me to facilitate the process of locating and evaluating useful information and resources. By saving websites for later use and applying tags and descriptions, I was able to model for students an effective method that demonstrates how to use find, store, and use information for research and learning.
4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility
Collaborative Cybersafety Website:
Collaborating with a group of six peers, I helped create a website that provides helpful information of the topic of cybersafety. The website was created on Weebly, a website that offers free website design and publishing. Each member of my group chose one topic from a list of different cybersafety issues, including cyberbullying, piracy and plagiarism, identity safety, inappropriate content, social networks, and cyber predators. Each member then designed and created one page of the website. My page was created based on the topic of inappropriate content. Using Weebly, our group first decided on a central themed design for our website. After choosing the theme, we proceeded to edit the website and post our respective information. On my page, I added multiple paragraphs including a paragraph with an embedded image, resource links to helpful websites, and information for parents, students, and educators regarding the topic of Inappropriate Content on the Internet. At the bottom of my page I placed an embedded video on the topic of protecting children from online pornography. The collaborative website we created provides valuable information and numerous resources for students, parents, and educators. By creating this website, adding useful information and resources links, and embedding a video that supports the protection of children from Internet pornography, I advocated and modeled the safe, legal, and ethical use of the Internet and digital information. Parents, students, and educators who visit the website I created can learn about the responsible use of information and exhibit what they have learned by using the professional practices and tips we have explained.
AAC Adaptive Technology Journal:
On my blog, I wrote and posted a journal about Augmentative and Alternative Communication AAC devices which are designed to assist children and students who have difficulty with communication and accessibility. The journal on my blog examines and discusses both low-tech and high-tech devices which aid students in communication and accessibility. I first researched many devices that are listed as AAC tools. I discovered that there are many low-tech and high-tech devices that use emerging digital technologies such as the Apple iPad. This inspired me to find the very latest hardware and software options for children and students with communication and accessibility disabilities. The high-tech devices I wrote about are designed for students who are in speech therapy and the low-tech devices are software designed for students with limited accessibility. In my journal I wrote descriptions of these devices, included a link to the websites where one can purchase them, and included a picture of each device. I also wrote about how these devices are used in classrooms. Using research and reflection, my journal post on AAC addresses the needs of students who have communication and accessibility difficulties and the devices I described provide the reader with information about the emerging technologies designed to help the diverse needs of all learners. Writing the AAC journal gave me the opportunity to discover learner-centered strategies that I can further incorporate in my teaching career.
5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership
PLN - Personal Learning Network:
I created what is known as a Personal Learning Network (PLN), a social network through which educators and professionals can communicate and collaborate digitally and share ideas and information on various educational topics. I can communicate and share educational ideas and information with other educators through my PLN. To create and develop my PLN, I first created accounts with Twitter, Diigo, and a digital discussion forum called Classroom 2.0. On Twitter I searched for other educators using the search tool and participated in an educational chat using the hashtag #edchat. The weekly educational chats on #edchat allowed me to give and receive opinions and information about the topic being discussed at the time. On Diigo I proceeded to grow my network by finding and following other educators who teach and are interested in the same subject area as I am. With Diigo I have access to all the bookmarks of the educators that I follow. I joined Classroom 2.0 so that I could network with other educators in a forum-based environment, where many threads are posted on various topics. Creating and actively participating in my PLN has allowed me to participate in local and global digital communities and connect with other educators. With my PLN I was able to use digital tools like Twitter and Diigo to explore the creative applications of technology and focus effort on improving student learning, which as a whole contributes to the effectiveness and vitality of the teaching profession.
Learning and Leading Journals:
On my blog I wrote numerous journal entries that provide feedback on journals I read in the online journal Learning & Leading with Technology (L&L) through my subscription to ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education. As a member of ISTE, I have access to all the L&L journals electronically. Each journal entry I wrote on my blog focuses on the content of various journal articles from L&L. Each journal entry contains a summary of the article I read and includes an APA citation to the article itself. For example, in one journal article I wrote about the L&L article entitled “Upside Down and Inside Out”, an article about the flipping of classrooms. After the summary, I wrote two questions and provided two answers. One of my questions was about the effectiveness of this method in Mathematics classrooms. I designed the questions so that they relate to the journal article in a way that in the answers I can provide the main ideas behind each journal article as well as my opinions about the content. Regularly writing and posting journal entries on my blog allowed me to evaluate and reflect upon the L&L journal articles that I read. Since the L&L articles provide current research on technology and professional practice in the classroom, I was able to reflect on new emerging ideas on the integration of technology into the classroom. By asking and answering questions about the article in a public, online environment, I was able to evaluate the strategies and digital tools presented by the L&L articles which provide resources in support of student learning.