I. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

Classroom Newsletter

As a former student, I understand how important it is to motivate your students from the beginning of the school year. With Microsoft Word, I created a class newsletter that introduces me as the teacher, describes the school year in a nutshell, and offers words of advice to my pupils. I formatted a two-columned newsletter with customized pictures, mastheads, drop caps, and bullet points. First, I created my masthead using the “table” feature and then used Word Art to make the title. I then edited a picture in Photoshop and incorporated it into my text. Finally, I customized my newsletter by using Word’s “format” feature to insert the drop caps and custom bullet points. Using Word in an innovative manner let me create a document that demonstrates the power of creativity to both students and parents. Because my newsletter is customizable, I can also choose to add a section with information pertaining to classroom issues and/or real-world issues to model for my students how to use technology to show their understanding of these issues.

Class Blog

As a future educator, I know how important it is to make sure that my students are able to utilize technology in an informative and creative way. By using Blogger, Google’s free blogging tool, I created a blog, which is a website arranged in chronological order, containing a mixture of posts and media. This blog includes personal information about myself, journal posts reflecting my views on educational issues, links to my personal learning network (PLN), and examples of my digital endeavors.  My blog was created using the design and layout functions included with the Google Blogger website. I added gadgets and links by embedding HTML code from various websites into the blog's layout template, along with personal photos of myself. I was also able to create pages for all of the previous work I have done which incorporates technology and education, including a Prezi presentation and an Excel crossword puzzle, and was able to embed these documents using a variety of methods such as Dropbox or HTML code.  This blog lets me  share information with my fellow students and colleagues, engage my students by digitally presenting them with relevant current issues, and create a space where fellow educators will be able to access my educational resources. The reply and comments features on the blog allows me to interact and collaborate with both colleagues and students.

II.  Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

Prezi NETS-S Presentation

As a teacher in 21st century, it is becoming more and more important to present material to students in an informative and imaginative way. By using Prezi, a web-based presentation tool, I created an interactive multimedia presentation, detailing four distinct lesson plan ideas on how to integrate technology using the ICT Performance Indicators from the NETS-S standards. This presentation was created using Prezi’s web-based tools, which enabled me to design a presentation on a canvas, where I added a series of individual frames to present different lesson plans showing how I could integrate history and technology. Within these frames, I inserted a series of text boxes, pictures, and videos which I embedded from Youtube that were relevant to the topics. Once the frames were created, I established a path in which the frames would be shown, using the path sidebar. After the presentation was complete, I was able to embed it on my personal blog by using HTML code, allowing all viewers to interact with the presentation. By creating these lesson plans with a visual tool I am creating a unique learning experience for both students and colleagues, and promotes creativity and student learning. This presentation also helps to create a technology-based learning environment by engaging students with the fun visuals and creativity within the presentation, and introducing a fun tool for students to be able use for presentations.

Google Forms Assessment

With more and more information available on the Internet today, it is more imperative than ever to have tools where users can assess the information online. Using Google Forms, a feature of Google Docs and Spreadsheets which creates online polls and surveys, I have created an assessment to allow peers to assess a series of history lesson plans I presented using Prezi, a web based presentation tool. For the assessment, I created a series of questions in multiple formats (multiple choice, true-false, scale) which asked readers to assess both the content and design of the presentation. After viewers of the Prezi have taken the assessment, I can then see the answers presented on a spreadsheet, which anyone can then also access via a link on my blog. I then embedded the assessment and the link to the answers on my blog using html code, directly below the presentation making it easier for users to access. This tool allows me to use the data collected from the answers to inform my learning and teaching methods, while providing the users with an easy to follow process to input their answers. I could also have students use these assessments in the class so everyone can creatively request feedback from their peers and myself as well.

III. Model Digital Age Working and Learning

iMovie PSA

The digital age has allowed educators to engage students with tons of new and exciting tools. Using iMovie, Mac’s software to create and edit movies, I created a short public service announcement highlighting facts and sights of CSU San Marcos. To make this video, I imported and edited several small pre-shot video clips, applied multiple screen effects, added music and a self-recorded voiceover, and inserted multiple transitions throughout the project. I also researched some facts about the school and added them as text throughout the video. The finished product is a one minute long short film which advertises the university, and I in the end exported the movie using Quicktime, which I embedded on my personal blog. Using video to creatively present information is a fun way in which I can communicate with my students and peers. By using iMovie to create a video, I am modeling for students how to create an interesting film clip through editing what they feel is important, adding music, and adding facts which they research.

Diigo

When building your Personal Learning Network (PLN), it is important to be able to share information that you find interesting and be able to easily access the sites that your peers find relevant. By creating an account with Diigo, a collaborative social bookmarking website, I am able to collaborate with peers and students by sharing bookmarks with each other that are accessible online. In order to start building by PLN with Diigo, I found five Diigo users that were also history teachers and followed them, meaning that I could access all the information that they bookmarked to their home page. I also bookmarked several sites that I found interesting and relevant to my area of study, as well as sites dealing with the achievement gap, cyberbullying, and teaching tolerance. On my blog. I also was able to embed a diigo tagroll, which makes it easy for readers to link to keywords from my bookmarks. My Diigo account makes it easy to collaborate with students, peers, and parents in order to support student success and innovation. My use of Diigo also allows me communicate relevant information with peers by making all of my research, bookmarks, and tags,public and available to those in my network and anyone with Internet access.

IV. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsability

Collaborative Cybersafety Website

As we move further into the 21st century and our reliance on technology increases, it is becoming more important to make sure that we use the Internet safely and responsibly. Using Weebly, a website which allows users to build their own website, I and five of my classmates created a website which details six aspects of cybersafety: identity safety, cyberbullying, cyberpredators, piracy and plagiarism, inappropriate content, and social networks. We created the pages by researching each topic individually, then by posting the material and references onto the the website. Included in the information was three tips each for students, teachers and parents. I created the page on cyberpredators, which includes relevant images, tips for parents, kids, and teachers, legal information, and a short film clip about  cyberpredators. The website is a great resource for students, parents and teachers on gaining access to safe, legal, and ethical digital information. My page on cyberpredators creates digital awareness for students and parents by highlighting potential web based threats and giving them tips for their safety.

Adaptive Learning Journal

As technology makes greater and greater advances, educators are finding new and creative ways that it can be used to help students with special needs. On my blog, I created a post which discusses multiple tools that can be used to teach special education students. The first two tools mentioned are to be used in augmentative and alternative education, which covers any tool dealing with alternative communication and writing methods for special needs students.  For this section I found one high tech tool (the e-Talk GT tablet) and a complementary low tech tool (placemat picture menu) and discussed how educators or parents could use these tools. The next two tools are input devices, which allows any student with special needs to access a computer without using the traditional keyboard or mouse. For this section I found one hardware tool, the Quad Joy Mouse, which allows users to use a mouse with their mouth, and one software tool, the Word Q word detector software and again discussed how they could be used. I then found images which show how the tools would be used to further illustrate their uses. This journal helps to address the diverse needs of  special education learners by highlighting tools which will give them equal access to the digital universe, as well as showing how technology can help develop their communication skills. My journal also helps to develop and model a cultural understanding of how we as educators can showcase these tools so  other cultures around the world can utilize this technology with special needs children.

V. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership

Personal Learning Network

One of the great things about technology is that educators now have access to thousands of new ideas courtesy of the world wide web. My personal learning network (PLN) is my network of fellow educators that I communicate and share information with by primarily using three digital tools; Twitter, Diigo, and The Educator’s PLN website. Using Twitter, which is a social networking site, I was able to take part in live conversations with other new teachers, as well as receive a constant stream of ideas, links, and resources.  Diigo is a social bookmarking site which allows me to access other user’s digital bookmarks, as well as making it easy for other users to access my own bookmarks. The Educator’s PLN is a site where I can access other teachers by following their blogs and getting access to their resources. In order to form my PLN, I joined all of these sites, then sought out other educators with similar interests as me such as high school social studies and social networks in the classroom. I also followed a chat for new teachers on Twitter, as well as started bookmarking links that I found interesting on Diigo. By forming a PLN, I am able to participate in local and global learning communities and explore how as educators we can all work together to form a more positive learning experience. My PLN also helps me contribute to the vitality and self renewal of the teaching profession without ever leaving my classroom, by giving me access to different teaching ideas from around the globe.

Learning and Leading with Technology Journal Posts

As an educator, it is important to reflect occasionally on the emerging ways that we can use technology in the classroom. For my blog, I have written several journal posts which showcase my opinion on different topics dealing with education and technology. All of these various articles appeared in the Learning and Leading with Technology educational journal, which I accessed through my ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) membership. The topics for these blogs included flipped classrooms, enhancing your Twitter experience, and using iPods in your first grade classroom.  For each journal post, I used the APA citation machine to cite the article, then wrote a small analysis of the ideas that the authors were presenting. I ended each post with two questions that I thought were interesting, and then answered them to the best of my ability. These journal posts help me to evaluate and reflect on current research by creating a space where I can flesh out my own thoughts on current educational issues.  By posting these entries on my my blog for my peers to review and comment upon, I am also effectively using my digital resources to add my contribution to the education community.