National Education Technology Standards for Teachers
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
Incorporating digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity is essential. Using Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet program, I created an online interactive crossword puzzle using vocabulary words and definitions from a story in the Read Well Curriculum. Following tutorials on the Atomic Learning website, I learned how to design an interactive crossword puzzle. I identified cell addresses, formatted cell contents, added pop-up comments to a cell, and also applied conditional formatting. The conditional formatting changes the color of the letters based on whether the correct word was typed in. The clues and words can be adapted for any subject matter. Creating an interactive crossword puzzle allows me to design relevant learning experiences. In addition, I will be able to incorporate digital tools to promote student learning and creativity.
Google Docs Assessment
The best way to assess students is through multiple and varied formats. Using the Forms feature of Google Docs, a free, web-based office suite, I learned how to create an assessment containing multiple question styles. The questions I created included short answer, check-box, scale, multiple choice, and essay responses. When I send or share an assessment, my recipients’ responses will automatically be collected in a spreadsheet, where I can view and analyze the data. I can also share the assessment by embedding it into my blog or website. By creating assessments through Google Docs I will provide students with varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards. I will also be able to use the resulting data to inform learning and teaching.
3. Model Digital Age Work and Learning
Through Prezi, a web-based multimedia presentation software, I created a presentation that will allow participants to learn ways in which to incorporate Geogebra (a free, muti-platform dynamic geometry software) into the classroom. Following Prezi tutorials, I learned how to create effective paths in order to communicate information, as well as add pictures, embed videos, and create live links that open when clicked. I created three separate frames with information on the objective of the presentation, how Geogebra is used, and reasons why it should be incorporated into classrooms. In order to make the presentation more visually appealing, I customized the font and color, and added diagrams and pictures. I also embedded a YouTube video of an interview with Geogebra’s creator, Marcus Hohenwarter. Finally, I added a live link, that when clicked will open the Geogebra website. Creating a Prezi presentation will allow me to communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital age media and formats. In addition, I will be able to model for my students how to create their own Prezi, which will allow them to communicate information with their peers.
In order to demonstrate fluency in technology I have created projects including a Public Service Announcement for CSUSM, as well as various photo stories, using iMovie, a video-editing software developed by Apple. I began the projects by uploading various photos and videos. I then selected appropriate photos and video clips, and using the various tools in the software added visual transitions, as well as informative captions. I also added music to the projects, which I customized by applying ducking and fading features. In addition, I added researched facts with the title tool, and then exported the movie using Quicktime conversion and embedded it on my blog. Using iMovie software to create various projects allows me to transfer current knowledge to new technologies and situations. I will now be able to demonstrate fluency in technology systems when I use iMovies in my classroom.
4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility
Cyber Safety Website
It is imperative for teachers to promote and model responsible use of technology and information. I worked with a group of peers to create a collaborative Cyber Safety website that serves as a resource for students, parents, and teachers. Using Weebly, a free online website creator, my peers and I created a website by designing a home page, and six other pages with information on different areas of Cyber Safety: Cyber Bullying, Social Networks, Cyber Predators, Piracy/Plagiarism, Identity Safety, and Inappropriate Content. Each group member was responsible for including relevant information to a designated page, along with visual images and an embedded video. I designed the page for Social Neworks, where I included important information and tips, added images, an embedded video, as well as live links to additional resources. I will use this collaborative website to promote and model digital etiquette in my classroom. I will also be able to address responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication
In order to address the diverse needs of all learners by incorporating appropriate digital tools and resources, I researched various tools for AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication), which is any form of communication other than oral speech that is used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. I focused my research on communication and accessibility, including hardware and software options that will greatly assist students with special needs. After conducting my research, I presented my finding in a blog post, where I defined PECS (Picture Exchange Cards), a low-tech communication device, and the iPod Touch with TouchChat software, a high-tech communication device, and explained how they can be used in the classroom. I also bookmarked relevant research articles to Diigo, a free social bookmarking, research, and knowledge sharing tool. By researching augmentative and alternative communication, I will begin to address the diverse needs of all learners. I now understand how to provide equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources, something I also shared to my PLN by posting it on my blog.
5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership
Educators must evaluate and reflect on current research. As a member of ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education, I have read and reflected on current research articles found in the journal Learning and Leading with Technology. Recent examples include an article on flipped classrooms and articles on using Twitter for education. I posted my journal reflections on my blog to encourage comments and feedback from peers and colleagues. My reflections consisted of summaries, analyses, and personal thoughts of the article, as well as relevant questions and answers. I cited each journal article using APA citation. Evaluating and reflecting on these journal articles has given me the opportunity to stay connected with current research. I now possess the skills necessary to continue this professional practice on a regular basis, thus allowing me to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning.
Professional Learning Network
In order to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning, I have started my PLN (Professional Learning Network). A PLN is a learning network where people can connect with others who share common interests and ideas. My PLN consists of a Twitter account, membership with ISTE, Diigo, Educator’s PLN, and my personal blog. I opened a Twitter account and started following groups such as #ntchat (New Teacher Chat) and #spedchat hat (Special Education Chat), and I learned how to participate in a live chat in order to share ideas and links to resources. I opened a Diigo account to bookmark relevant articles and websites, as well as follow resources from other professionals. Joining the Educator’s PLN has given me access to contact other members in order to share ideas, as well as read relevant articles, posts, and watch educational videos. I added the Educator’s PLN badge to my blog so that others will know I am a member. Through my blog, others may leave comments that I may respond to as well. Such outlets allow me to participate in local and global learning communities. I can now use these avenues to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning.