1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
Blogs are interactive discussion sites that are used to inform and serve visitors with entries on relevant topics and website links. By using Blogger, a free web based application tool by Google, I was able to create a classroom blog, which modeled creative and innovative thinking in a virtual environment. I integrated links to technology resources, gave users access my personal learning network, and added multimedia media resources to allow visitors access to my work in a virtual environment to promote learning. I set up a blog by first formatting the layout for writing post, and integrated educational multimedia tools. Once that was accomplished I began researching and posting about technology journals to my blog, while using tools’ provided by Blogger to make them more visually appealing. Beside this, I created and posted a public service announcement video about California State University San Marcos, by using video editing software called iMovie. Also, through the use of Microsoft Excel I was able to create a crossword puzzle related to literature by programming individual cells to give help readers solve the puzzle. My blog also hosted links to educational sites, which I researched and added giving users the ability to explore these resources. My blog allowed me to model and create a creative way for students to explore a virtual environment by allowing them to access relevant real world information I had placed in the forefront of the environment through my blog postings. In addition, by integrating links, a video, a classroom newsletter, and a crossword puzzle I demonstrate my ability to facilitate and present a multitude of experiences that will advance my future students education.
It is important for me as an educator to inspire and facilitate student learning through the use of technology in an educational environment. By using my knowledge of Microsoft Word in a creative manner I was able to create a classroom newsletter. I did this in order to inspire student innovation and creativity as an extension of the classroom setting. I used a table feature to create an organized and decorated masthead which contained information relevant to the newsletter such as the title, date, volume, and a quote relevant to the student’s learning topic. I formatted the text using the word processor’s double column feature to facilitate the student’s conceptual understanding of the newsletter’s information. I also used the software’s bullet feature to create more appealing custom bullets to organize the newsletter by listing questions that will be answered in class as well as providing information regarding the use of technology in the classroom. By using Microsoft Word in an innovative manner I was able to engage students using a digital tool that provides a newsletter with relevant information to the students education. By creatively presenting information in the newsletter I was able to promote, to both students and parents, the use of digital tools as a way to support innovative thinking and inventiveness.
2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
By using the Forms feature of Google docs, a free online office suite provided by Google, I created an online assessment. This assessment not only has various types of question such as fill in the blanks, multiple choice, and selected drop down bars, but the results of the assessment are instantly transmitted to a spreadsheet online, making the results easily accessible. I started by creating a Google email account, which also gave me access to their suite of office editing tools. From these I started a new form document and began by selecting the type of informational boxes that the user could interact with. Next, I set conditional parameters to each box by selecting whether the information input by the students would be required to complete the assessment form. Finally, I developed a set of questions for the students to answer and shared the document though Google’s share feature, which allowed it to be embed in my blog and accessed digitally. By doing this I demonstrated my ability to use current technology to create assessment forms, which are not only accessible, but also varied in terms of how information is gathered and asked. Also, by making assessment results quickly available, I will be able to judge how my students are doing and differentiate my instruction accordingly.
By using Popplet, an online mind mapping tool, I was able to illustrate my thought process connecting the NETS-T standards for technology with artifacts that I had created to meet those standards. I then shared this main map by embedding it in my blog for easy access. I started by creating a Popplet account and formatting five boxes which each would represent a NETS-T standard. For each of these standards I then created two subsequent boxed and uploaded pictures of the various tools I used that I believed would best fit that NETS-T. Then I placed the subset learning goals for each standard on the map and connected the boxes together using lines and color-coding each box frame to differentiate the different standards. Finally, I shared my mind map embedding the html code into my blog so that it could be easily be viewed and followed. By creating mind maps with students, I can teach them how to use digital tools to enhance their learning experiences. Not only that, but the tool will also show them how their thought process can be illustrated in a creative and fun way.
3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning
Using the video editing software iMovie I created a personal service announcement (PSA), to help prospective students learn more about San Marcos University. Next I converted the movie into QuickTime format and uploaded it to my blog for easy viewing. I started by taking videos and photos from around the San Marcos campus, along with stock video that was provided to me and imported them into my iMovie project. Using these, I edited the rough film condensing video and clipping scenes to fit the project better. I then added textual information into the movie, audio dialogue, and transitional effects to help add to the movie. Finally, I add and synced a musical score to the project and exported the whole thing to a QuickTime format so that I might be able to place the video on my blog. By using a variety of media, my short informational video demonstrates my ability to work with digital tools. This PSA shows that not only can I create an effective movie, but also use digital tools and files types to effectively communicate with students and parents.
Prezi NETS-S Presentation
I created a lesson plan using Prezi, a free online presentation tool, which would outline how I could incorporate the Nets-S standards for grades six through eight for technology into my classroom curriculum. I then embedded the presentation into my blog by using the HTML source code, allowing anyone to access and view my plan. I started by opening a free educators account with Prezi and then creating a new presentation. I then created a logo, which represented the overall scope of the lesson plans, which was to make a school news report using the iPad. I created four separate frames, within Prezi, which hosted the NETS-S performance indicators that would meet the NETS-S standards. Then I added a separate frame for each which would outline how the given lesson would meet each standards. I uploaded to each of these frames pictures, which would be representative of the lesson and also added a YouTube video to show what the overall project could look like. Finally, I create a dynamic path in Prezi by linking all of these elements together in order to make a cohesive presentation. By creating this Prezi presentation I am able to demonstrate my ability to use new technology to convey information in a more interesting ways. By publishing this on my blog I was able to give my students and their parents an easy way not only to understand what we are doing in the classroom, but also why it is important.
4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility
I’ve researched and explored how to use simple and modern technology to help students with special needs communicate more effectively in the classroom. More specifically I looked into augmentative and alternative communication (ACC), which are devices that can help students with limited physical or physiological abilities communicate using non-verbal means. I started by searching the Internet and online journals to gain knowledge about the specific needs of students who had limited-to-no verbal abilities. Then I researched a Low-tech, and a High-tech solution, as well as different hardware and software applications that are currently available to help address these student needs. I then wrote about my finding on my blog giving readers a definition of ACC and how these tools; such as how magnetic paint can help transform any surface into a communication board, which can help students in the classroom. I then added pictures of some of the interesting devices and web links to them, in order help others learn about and locate ACC items. By researching and creating this online blog post I was able to learn about the diverse needs of students. More than that, it helped me find real world solutions to these problems, which also included low cost options that could help lower income students that I can employ immediately.
By using Weebly, an online website creation tool, I was able to collaboratively create and publish a website, which serves to inform students, parents, and teachers about Internet safety. The site has a wide range of topics such as cyberbullying, to copyright law, cyber predators, identity theft, piracy and plagiarism, and inappropriate content, which offer tips and resources to help inform and enlighten visitors about the Internet. I started by creating an account on Weebly and choosing a name for the site. Then I created six different sections, each dealing with a different topic of Internet safety. My team and I researched and posted on the site information about cyber predators giving parents, students, and teachers tips about how to avoid these criminals in a virtual environment. We also added related pictures and YouTube videos to the site. By creating this site my team and I were able to teach students about some of the more pressing legal and ethical issue surrounding the Internet. More than that, we were able to provide information to help our students, their parents, the community in general, stay safe in this digital age.
5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership
Educational Journal Reflections
As a member of ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), I have access to their online journals, such as “Learning and Leading with Technology”, which touch on current and upcoming digital age teaching trends. By reading through these journals, writing and reflecting about what I’ve read on my blog I have informed and kept others informed about new and emerging issues surrounding technology and teaching. I digitally receive and have read through some of the journals found within ISTE’s website. Not only have these articles informed me about new trends in teaching, but they have also shown me how to incorporate technology in new ways into my classroom. For example in the article From Learning and Leading with Technology “Upside Down, and Inside Out: Flip Your Classroom to Improve Student Learning”, I researched how schools have begun to change their idea of how homework is viewed. After reading this type of article I was able to reflect about it in my blog, often times asking questions and making connections about the resources and contemporary teaching. By writing and reflecting on not just digital tools, but how they are being implemented in the classroom I am insuring that I am aware of the latest digital classrooms trends being implemented. By keeping myself informed about the usage of the latest digital tools I will have the best opportunity to incorporate them into my classroom and share my finding with my peers and others online.
Personal Learning Network (PLN)
As a beginning teacher I found that one of the best sources of information comes from my colleges, with that being said I needed to facilitate a way to tap into that source of information. To do this I started to develop a Personal Learning Network (PLN) which can be defined as group of like minded individuals who get together to talk about and share information and resources on subject of interest, in this case teaching. I started this global EPLN by joining Diigo, a social bookmarking site, and Twitter, a social meeting site, that allows users to collaborate, explore, and share like-minded information, and became a member of the Educator’s PLN. I opened an account with Diigo and began by adding to it educational sites and tagging these sites with relevant information to allow other educators to find and/or use my resources. During this process I discovered a few teachers who were constantly contributing really good information and so I began to follow them in order for the system to keep me informed whenever they found an interesting site. I also joined Twitter and learned to use hashtags to locate and talk to a community of thousands of teachers who were ready to support each other with information. I was able joined these teachers in a scheduled conversation called edchat where they gave everyone resources which would help grow ones PLN. By joining Diigo and becoming a part of the Twitter community, I’ve expanded my ability to find relevant information about English and teaching in general. By using resources such as Twitter and Diigo, and networking on the Educator’s PLN, I am now able to research and locate a wealth of information and experience that on my own would have been impossible.