I. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
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.
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
A student’s learning experience can be heightened by using digital tools and resources. Through the use of Prezi, an online, non-linear presentation tool, I was able to create a presentation that describes the different math lessons I would teach to meet the five NETS standards. This presentation included pictures and videos that were relevant to each lesson. I created my presentation on the Prezi website using a blank template; pictures and video were added using Prezi’s “format” tool. I used this same tool to customize my presentation by adding “frames” to the surrounding text, which included the NETS standards and accompanying math lessons. I also created movement in my presentation by adding specialized paths (i.e. nonlinear transitions) between frame objects. Lastly, I resized and rotated my text to add to the unique nature of the presentation. Through the use of Prezi, I was able to convey information in an informative and creative manner, thus promoting student learning and creativity. By using a variety of formats to present information to my future students, I can customize learning activities to meet their varied learning styles.
Excel Crossword Puzzle
Digital learning in the 21st century is very important to a child’s education. By using Microsoft Excel, I created a math-based crossword puzzle with encrypted clues and color-coded letters to signify a correct or incorrect guess. I also made a printable clue sheet on a separate Excel document. The crossword was made by resizing and reformatting the rectangular cells into square ones. After adding the words, I used Excel’s “comment” feature to add clues. I then copy and pasted these clues onto a separate, printable sheet. Lastly, I used Excel’s “conditional formatting” tool to make the first letter green if guessed correctly, and red if incorrect. Designing this crossword puzzle allowed me to use digital tools to create a lesson that advocates student learning and ingenuity. This crossword puzzle can also be customized as an activity that meets the needs of a broad range of student learning styles.
III. Model Digital Age Work and Learning
The allocation of different forms of knowledge opens up the doors to many educational opportunities. Through the use of Diigo, an online social bookmarking website, I was able to build a library of educational resources that are pertinent for future educators. I also “followed” fellow educators with hopes to learn and discover from the resources they provide. My library was built upon the different educational articles I found online. Each article was bookmarked, named, and then tagged/labeled with relevant references to ensure easy access to the particular site. For instance, after exploring the website “freerice.com,” I was able to bookmark this page to my library and tag it as “freerice” and “vocabulary”. Through the use of Diigo, I am able to collaborate and communicate with students and colleagues by bookmarking relevant educational resources that can be accessed publicly online. By providing my students with this tool and showing them how I use it to archive my web research, I am modeling and facilitating the effective use of using digital tools and resources for learning.
Fluency with technology is an important aspect for effective teaching. By using i-Movie, a video editing program, I made a public service announcement about CSU San Marcos. This movie was made by editing imported video clips. I used the “title,” “sound effect,” and “transition” browsers to add customized text, music, and transitions to my film. The customized text included researched data and information about the college. I also used the “clip” and “video” adjustments to add still frames and sound ducking. At the end of the video, I recorded a voiceover and added it to one of the clips. By using i-Movie, I am able to make a film that both teaches and intrigues students with all types of learning abilities. I can also use i-Movie to engage with students and colleagues of other cultures to customize video clips that promote global awareness.
IV. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility
The diverse learning needs of students should be addressed by providing them with a variety of tools and resources that effectively meet these needs. I was able to create a journal post on my blog describing augmentative and alternative educational devices, which are communication devices that disabled/speech impaired people use to communicate. Each one of these devices had a description of the product and a description of how I would use it in the classroom. To make this post, I researched about communication and accessibility devices on Diigo, an online social bookmarking website, and wrote descriptions about my findings on my blog. Communication devices are those used for people with speech impairments, while accessibility devices are used for people with physical handicaps. I then incorporated pictures of these devices that I found on Google by using Blogger’s “insert picture” tool, and added links to my classmates blogs by using Blogger’s “link” tool. Some of the tools I researched included “talking time cards” and virtual keyboards. By researching and reflecting on AAC devices, I was able to provide ideas for resources that meet the needs of diverse learning styles. Because this post is shared publicly, it also serves as a model for technological awareness with students and colleagues.
Digital safety is a crucial topic to teach to children who are growing up in this era. By using Weebly, an online website construction tool, my colleagues and I were able to develop a website geared toward cybersafety. This website included different six different cybersafety topics: identity safety, cyberbullying, cyber predators, piracy and plagiarism, inappropriate content, and social networks. After researching my designated topic of “social networks,” I formatted my web page with text, pictures, video, columns, and links by using Weebly’s “elements” tool. The text that I included had various bits of information about social networks, such as a definition, safety/legal issues, safety tips, and helpful links. Finally, I edited the banner picture to reflect cyberbullying by using Weebly’s “edit image” feature. By making this website about multiple issues of cybersafety, I was able to teach about the appropriate and ethical use of technology and technological interactions. Because this website is made public and is accessible to peers, students, and parents, I am also able to advocate digital awareness on a global scale.
V. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership
Personal Learning Network
Global learning communities can be effective resources for teachers who are striving to further their professional careers. In fact, certain communities, such as Twitter, Diigo, and The Educator’s PLN have helped me to build my Personal Learning Network (PLN), which is a network of people who I communicate with to build connections both face-to-face and online. Twitter is an online social network that allows its users to publish and receive personalized messages, Diigo is an online social bookmarking website, and The Educator’s PLN is an online social network dedicated toward educationalists. After setting up accounts on each of these websites, I began building my PLN by bookmarking websites of interest and following different educators and educational groups. On Twitter, I also participated in EdChat, which is where a group of educational enthusiasts join together and Tweet about a moderated topic. Lastly, I watched a short film on The Educator’s PLN about the usage of technology in the classroom. Through the exploration of such websites and in the networks, I have been able to participate in learning communities and learn about technological applications to use in the classroom. Because these networks offer useful and relevant learning topics, my participation in them allows me the opportunity analyze and reflect upon current educational practices that involve the usage of technology to enhance student learning, as they provide me with relevant and useful learning topics.
As students continue growing and learning, teachers should continue enhancing their professional careers by analyzing and reflecting upon current educational research. Through the use of Blogger, an online blogging tool, I was able to make a compilation of journal posts that are centered around articles found in an ISTE publication called the Learning & Leading with Technology, which I can freely access with my membership. Each article focused on how technology in the classroom can improve student learning. The journal posts were made by writing a summary/analysis of the article, as well as two self-generated reflective questions with answers. I also included pictures in various posts by using Blogger’s “insert picture” tool. For example, after reading Ferguson’s “Join the Flock!”, I wrote a brief summary of this article and then asked a couple questions that related to it, such as “would I use Twitter in my classroom?” By reading and reflecting on these articles in journal posts, I was able to expand my horizons and explore technological applications to improve student learning. I was also able to display a sense of leadership by asking questions and sharing my thoughts about technology infusion in an online environment.