1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
In order to clarity students’ conceptual understanding, it is important to promote student reflection using collaborative tools. I created a blog, (short for web log), a platform on which an individual or group of users may record opinions, information, etc. on a regular basis. Visitors to my blog have the ability to leave comments, thus providing for collaboration.
Using Google’s free blogging website, Blogger, I selected an appropriate layout and template for my blog. In order to organize the information presented, I created multiple pages and displayed them as tabs on my blog to access various examples of my work, which has been creatively embedded into each page. Within the settings feature, I customized my blog by using HyperText Markup Language (HTML), to embed various gadgets, badges, and links in my sidebar. As a teacher, I now have the ability to create a blog for my classroom where I will maintain open communication with parents and students in a virtual environment. Creating my blog allowed me to use my knowledge of technology and teaching to promote reflection using collaborative tools, model collaborative knowledge, and clarify students’ understanding and thinking.
It is important for students and parents to be informed about current events in the classroom/school, and helps to model a collaborative approach to knowledge. Using Microsoft Word in an inventive way, I created a structured, sample introduction newsletter with information that students and parents should know about the class for the week. By constructing a table in Microsoft Word I was able to create an organized layout for the newsletter masthead and add relevant information and articles to the body. I used the horizontal line feature, customized bullet points and a drop cap tool (enlarging the first letter of a paragraph to “drop” down two or more lines) to give my newsletter a formal and professional design. Finally, hiding the lines of the table, inserting pictures through clip art and file uploading and then wrapping the text around the images, further enhanced the appearance of the newsletter. My creative use of Microsoft Word to make a newsletter is a good way for me to model and promote innovative thinking using everyday technology. As a teacher, I will involve my students in the process of creating the newsletter, and also use my knowledge to help them use technology in many of their projects.
2. Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
Each student has a unique way of learning and understand concepts in each subject. In order to accommodate and personalize activities to different learning styles, I have created an interactive crossword puzzle using Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet software, that covered digital tools used in a technology in education course. The outline of the crossword puzzle was made using the option to fill squares with color, then inserting the answers in the squares without color. By adding comments to the spaces where the answers should appear, the clues are displayed in a popup rectangle, and the clues were also included on a separate sheet of the Excel document. Using the conditional formatting tool available in Excel, I was able to make the first letter of each word interactive for the students, meaning they can type in the letter that they think the answer starts with and it will turn green if correct, and red if incorrect. With this variety of options and ways to access the information, I was able to customize the experience in order to reach more students and address their learning preferences. This technology-rich option for a crossword puzzle, enables students to use digital tools to accomplish their goals of understanding the concepts and finishing the crossword puzzle.
Incorporating digital tools and resources into the classroom can greatly enhance students’ understanding of material. Using a web-based presentation tool called Prezi, I was able to create a presentation about four of the performance indicators for the NETS for students grades 9-12. For a follow-up of the presentation, I created an assessment using Google Forms to collect information about what viewers learned from my presentation. To make the presentation with Prezi, I created frames to organize the information and the pictures I included, and then created a path, which allowed me to choose the order in which I wanted the information to be presented. To make the assessment for my presentation I created three different types of questions including multiple choice, check all that apply, and short answer in order to give me a wide variety of information for the results. I embedded my Prezi, the assessment, as well as the page generated for the results of the assessment, on my blog. Through my use of Prezi, I was able develop a technology-enriched lesson that incorporates relevant digital tools, in order to inspire students to use similar tools and promote creativity. The Google Forms assessment I created is a great way to track understanding, as I was able to gather feedback and data in a Google spreadsheet, which informed and organized responses to my assessment.
3. Model Digital Age Work and Learning
Mind maps are a great way for thoughts and ideas to be organized in an efficient way, and when done digitally, can be easily adapted to accommodate changes and new ideas. Using an online tool called Popplet, I was able to create a mind map of the NETS-T and my technology artifacts for each standard. With this tool, I quickly learned how to insert “popples”, or bubbles of information that I wanted to display. I created popples with each standard and then connected them to popples with two artifacts that I have completed, and differentiated each of the five standards by color. I then added other differentiation using size of the popple, placement and font. Finally, I had the option to create a path that would allow me to present the information from popple to popple, that would automatically transition in a predetermined order. Using this technology, I have show how students can use emerging tools to communicate and organize their thoughts digitally. By embedding this mind map to a page on my blog, I have modelled how these tools can be used to communicate relevant information as an alternative to other presentation methods.
iMovie CSUSM PSA
With many emerging digital tools available, teachers must demonstrate use of technology in an innovative and interesting way to capture students attention and motivate student success. Using Apple’s iMovie, a video-editing software, I created a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) and uploaded it to a page on my blog using video conversion tool called Quicktime. To create the video, I imported video clips and still images from a CD, added them to my video project, I then incorporated relevant facts and figures via text on the clips. I also included transitions between slides, screen effects, music, and a video cameo in order to creatively and effectively communicate the main points of the video. Through my use of iMovie, I have demonstrated fluency in technology by communicating information about CSUSM to prospective students and modelled effective use of digital tools and resources to support learning. In order to inspire innovation and creativity, I have shown how easily this program can be used by students and colleagues to customize a presentation of information through video.
4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility
Adaptive Technology Assignment
In order to make sure that students of all different needs are accommodated in the classroom, it is important for teachers to be informed about options for students that need extra assistance. By exploring and researching options for adaptive technology, specifically tools for communication and accessibility, I have become aware of some of the technology that is available to help students with special needs in the classroom. This is known as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), which is the set of tools and devices that are used to support or take the place of speech or written language for individuals with special needs, which can be used permanently or just as a temporary aid in certain situations. Through various research, I have become familiar with two types of communication tools, both high tech and low tech in order to address the issues of equitable access, as high tech tools can often not be available to some students. I also researched two tools to assist in accessibility, both a software option and a hardware option and then included all of this information in a post on my blog with pictures to give an idea of what the products look like. These tools, such as a software called Instant Text, which predicts the words based on letters that are put into the computer, and communication books, which have pictures and words that students can point to, can help students effectively and efficiently communicate with teachers and peers in order to succeed in the classroom. With my research on this topic and my creation of a blog post with my findings, I have been able to learn how students with diverse needs can use tools and software to enhance their ability to communicate. By understanding how they are used and which tools have been most successful, I have demonstrated my knowledge of tools that help create opportunities for all students and how they can be used in developing positive learning communities in my classroom and beyond.
Collaborative CyberSafety Website
With the technology and resources making the Internet more available to students, they must be aware of how to use it responsibly. Collaboratively, with other members of my technology class, I put together a CyberSafety website using Weebly, a website creator. This website includes information for students about different topics in safe use of the Internet including, identity safety, cyberbullying, cyberpredators, privacy and plagiarism, inappropriate content, and social networks. Using the website generator, Weebly, I added text, pictures, and videos to my page of the website in order to make the content easy to understand and visually pleasing. Tips for students, educators as well as parents are all included on the pages for each subject along with a list of hyperlinked resources that, when clicked, lead you to the desired website directly. By creating this website with fellow classmates, I have informed students of issues involved with improper use of the Internet and modelled legal and ethical use of technology in many aspects of Internet use. Including resources and properly citing the work on our website, as well as including information on plagiarism, I have shown my ability to model and advocate for the respect of other’s intellectual property and other copyright issues.
5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership
Journals from Learning and Leading Articles
As a member of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), I have access to the publication Learning and Leading with Technology (L&L). On my blog I have used journal articles from L&L for a number of reflections. I have been able to read archived and current articles in order to stay updated on the latest ideas, technology and resources being studied and used in classrooms. One of the articles I read from the August 2012 issue of L&L, “First Graders with iPads?” discussed the use of Apple’s iPad in the classroom and the potential benefits for students with ranging levels of need in elementary school. By reading the latest articles as well as those in the archive, I have been able to reflect on and summarize current technology through sharing my thoughts and evaluating questions I have posed on my blog and having fellow classmates comment and share ideas. Reading these and other educational articles on a regular basis introduces me to new concepts and tools in the firld of education, which ensures I am effectively using new and existing digital tools in the classroom to create an environment for optimal student learning.
Personal Learning Network
It is important for teachers to work together to create and facilitate the introduction of new ideas into schools and classrooms. In order to connect with other educators, and collaborate to explore current topics and applications of technology in education, I have created a Personal Learning Network (PLN) to maintain throughout my career. A PLN is the network of individuals and groups that a person connects with, via online tools and in person contact, in order to exchange ideas and information about a variety of common interests. Online tools, such as Twitter, Diigo, and the Educator’s PLN, which I became a part of, are used to help people maintain a successful PLN. On Twitter, I chose users to follow, educators and people who indicated interest in education, and I have begun to use hashtags to search for information on certain subjects and participated in chats with fellow users such as #ntchat (new teacher chat) and #edchat (education chat). On Diigo, I have connected with fellow educators who bookmark interesting and informative sites, which I can view or add to my own library of bookmarks, and I have joined groups that focus on educational topics. As a member of the Educator’s PLN I can chat with other educators who are a part of the network and I also have access to a variety of resources, such as blogs, videos, and forums, centered around topics in education. Creating this network of people to communicate with and share resources expands my local community of teachers I work with to a global learning community of educators exploring and working toward a common goal of improving student learning through effective technology use. By exhibiting my leadership skills through my involvement in these learning communities, I will contribute to the effectiveness and creative use of technology in the classroom and other aspects of the teaching profession.