Using Microsoft Word, I created an interactive and informative newsletter that communicates the expectation of the class and facilitates student’s thinking in terms of collaborative learning and addresses the function of technology in the student’s education. Using the tables feature of Microsoft Word, I was able to create a masthead and apply a visually appealing heading. I framed the title using Word Art, which allowed me to customize the appearance of my newsletter. With custom formatting I creating multiple columns for my content, and was also able to insert and customize an original picture of my own by scanning and using the “insert” option in Word. This newsletter promotes creativity by demonstrating the various ways to customize and individualize a Word document. The ability to insert and utilize original or custom pictures and works of art supports innovative thinking and inventiveness.
Communicating relevant information and ideas to students, parents, and peers is necessary for educators to incorporate in the classroom. Through Microsoft Word I created a personalized newsletter that allows students and parents to connect with class assignments as well as the expectations I have for my students and parent involvement. First I created a Masthead with the newsletter title in Word Art, and creatively included an inspirational quote surrounded by two pieces of line art. I divided the newsletter into two columns of text with specialized drop cap features at the beginning of each of the three articles. To customize the newsletter I included a scanned (hand drawn) picture of myself, images relating to each article, unique bullets to highlight the main points, and finally I converted the Microsoft document into a PDF to finalize the professional newsletter. Using Microsoft Word creatively to construct classroom newsletter allowed me to effectively communicate relevant information to students and parents using digital-age media. The newsletter also demonstrates to students that they can be innovative with their own ideas and can create the same type of document to get their points across.
Using Google’s web-based blog platform, Blogger, I created and maintained a classroom blog, which reflected multiple examples of my technological proficiency. A blog is a personal journal published on the Internet. I learned how to make my blog accessible to the public by choosing a user friendly name and URL, as well as making sure my blog was easy to read. I used HTML code into my blog to embed examples of my work using technology, such as the classroom newsletter and Excel crossword puzzle. In multiple posts, I inserted pictures that were applicable as well as visually enhancing, and responded to fellow classmates’ blogs to engage in an overall learning experience. Using both blog posts and blog pages, I was able to actively engage myself, my instructor, and my classmates in my learning. My classroom blog enhanced my understanding of the collaborative potential, and is something that I will use to inspire collaboration with my students. I can use my knowledge of blogging and blog-related projects to inspire students to explore, collaborate, and reflect upon the real world and clarify the concepts they are learning.
Using Blogger, Google’s free blog creation tool, I created a blog (personalized website) to share information with classmates and learn how to embed different types of information/images onto my page. The web-based, public nature of a blog allowed others to access my posted information, as well as leave comments on my work. On my blog, I posted informative and analytical weekly journals about numerous educational topics, experimented with font color and layout designs, and creatively customized the blog format in order to create a more visually pleasing web-page. I embedded examples of my work onto the blog, integrating various types of technology into one location, such as uploading scanned images, taking digital desktop pictures, copying HTML codes to show my presentations, documents, and surveys from other websites. I generated personalized tabs at the top of the page to allow people who visit the page to access my technology examples quickly or be sent to an external website to see my work directly. This blog promotes planning, thinking, and creative processes by allowing me to try different layouts and designs to share information with those who visit my page in a more interesting and clear way. The comment sections on my blog provide visitors with an opportunity to give feedback about my work below every post, allowing me to engage in digital dialogue with classmates and therefore reflect on my work in a more collaborative way. I will develop personalized blogs in my classroom to promote collaborative knowledge construction and engage students in learning with others in a virtual environment by instructing students to create and experiment with their own blog, as well as visit and comment on each others’ blogs. (there is one too many green sentences here! jh)
2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
As a teacher, it is important to keep students up-to-date with digital tools that enhance their learning experiences. Using the tool Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet software, I created an electronic, history related crossword puzzle that students can complete either on the computer or on paper. Aside from using this crossword as a history lesson, it could also be a technology lesson in that students can create a similar one on a topic of their choice. Following tutorials on the Atomic Learning website, which is a great resource for both teachers and students, I created a crossword puzzle in which the words would stand out from a custom blue background. I added clues for each word by adding a comment to the cell containing the first letter of each word, so that all the students have to do is place their mouse over the cell to make the clue appear in a small text box. Through the use of conditional formatting, the letters will turn red when they are typed in incorrectly and will turn green when they are typed in correctly, which makes it very clear for the student completing the task. My crossword puzzle incorporates contemporary tools to maximize content learning because it blends the learning of history with the learning and use of digital tools. Using my crossword puzzle as an example, students can display their creativity and explore their individual curiosity by creating their own with different colors, fonts, and learning content. Giving students the tools to make their own unique crossword with digital tools allows them to be active participants in their learning experiences.
Using assessments to evaluate and maximize content learning is essential in designing an effective learning environment. I used Google forms, a free web-based office suite offered by Google, and created an assessment for my NETS-S presentation. In the Google forms assessment, I formatted five different questions: multiple choice, sliding scale, short answer, and fill in the blank, subsequently the responses produced a results spreadsheet. In Google forms, I created an assessment that specifically included two fill in the blank question for first and last names, in order to structure the intake of users responses in a systematic/ alphabetic order. In addition, on my blog, Technologically Savvy, I added a page for the NETS-S presentation and added a link to the Google forms assessment to evaluate the content of the NETS-S presentation. By creating a Google forms formative assessment that evaluated NETS-S standards, I aligned my teaching environment with the NETS-T technology standards. In addition, by using various formats to create questions related to academic content, I designed an assessment that addressed students’ diverse learning styles and working strategies
Google Forms & Spreadsheets
Using Google Forms, an adaptable web-based document creator, I created and shared an assessment for my classmates to fill out after viewing my Prezi on lesson ideas for the NETS-S. The results/answers from the assessment that they filled out online were automatically put into a Google Spreadsheet, where data could be viewed and analyzed. On Google Forms, I was able to add many different types of questions, depending on what type of information I wanted: text, paragraph text, multiple choice, check boxes, choose from a list, and scale. After I personalized my form by choosing from the Google provided themes, I embedded it onto my blog page below my Prezi, making the assessment form more accessible and useful for my classmates. My creative use of Google Forms to assess projects and assignments will enable me to collect data about my class in multiple and varied ways. Google Forms also allows me to easily create and share forms with parents as a way to collect data without having to send papers home with students.
Mind mapping is important for students to analyze their thought process and start brainstorming for assignments. Through Bubbl.us, a free web-based brainstorming tool, I was able to creatively develop my connections for each of the NETS-T narratives and the assignments I have created in class. Following the Bubbl.us instructions, I learned how to insert various thought bubbles onto one big mind map. From there I began adding each of the NETS-T standards along with the associated assignment we have completed in class to meet this standard. Once all of my bubbles were mapped out I was able to creatively design the layout to my liking (colors, fonts, size, movement, etc. Creating a Bubbl.us mind map allowed me create a digital representation of my thought process. With the help of technology, students can creatively express their thought process and see their thoughts mapped out in front of them digitally! Once I uploaded my mind map onto my personal blog, I was able to clearly assess the assignments I have completed in class and tie them in with my NETS-T standards. My mind map shows my active involvement with a new digital tool, future students of mine can apply this tool to their work as well.
It is essential that teachers incorporate contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in the context of students’ daily lives. Using Apple’s iMovie video editing software, I created a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for prospective students at California State University San Marcos, then uploaded it to my blog using QuickTime conversion. I selected ten video clips and one still photograph, created transitions between each slide, added four screen effects, text on each slide including school data, music that faded in and out and recorded a voiceover. Then, I fine tuned the length of the clips so I could limit the PSA to one minute. Through designing an iMovie I was able to adapt relevant learning experiences, such as editing video footage on a computer and learning more about a college campus, to incorporate digital tools and resources. By giving students the autonomy to add their own school statistics, select their own video clips, add their own transitions, choose their soundtrack and decide on the screen effects, I was able to promote student learning and creativity.
Using Apple’s iMovie, an easy-to-use movie making software tool from Apple, I created a public service announcement (PSA) featuring Cal State San Marcos . I then converted the iMovie into a downloadable Quicktime file, which I was able to upload onto my blog. I creatively combined video clips, still shots, text, music, and voice-overs to design an informative minute-long video about the campus. Using various screen transitions, video effects, text placements, and fonts, I produced an original and explanatory public service announcement which provided viewers with interesting details about CSUSM. I would use iMovie in my own class as a way to incorporate digital tools and resources into the curriculum by having them film their own video clips, edit their project in iMovie, and upload them onto the class blog. I would be promoting student learning and creativity by having students be in control of what information to include and how to present it in a compelling way.
Communicating relevant information and ideas to students, parents, and peers is a teaching fundamental. Through Prezi, a web-based multimedia presentation software, I created a presentation that communicates my ideas to integrate the National Education Technology Standards (NETS-S) for pre- kindergarten to second grader, into my curriculum. Following the Prezi tutorial, I learned how to insert videos, pictures, and texts into multiple sized frames, and how to create effective paths that communicate relevant information. I presented, four separate frames, each frame included a NETS-S performance indicator, an idea for a web-based lesson, images to represent each lesson, and a You Tube video about implementing technology in the classroom. All of the information is linked by pathways that guide the user from one idea to the next, zooming in and effectively communicating relevant information at various points in the presentation. Creating a Prezi allowed me to facilitate the communication of relevant information, NETS-S performance indicators, and web-based lesson ideas, to students and peers using digital-age media. In addition, I can now transfer my knowledge of this digital tool to my students and support their endeavors in researching, analyzing, and evaluating information in a innovative program.
Excel Crossword Puzzle
As a teacher, it is important to incorporate current content into emerging new technologies. By using Microsoft Excel, a data spreadsheet program, I created an interactive crossword puzzle. My crossword puzzle contains formatting to make the puzzle visually appealing, notes that reveal the clue to the user when the mouse curser is hovering above it, and computer coding called “conditional statements” that change the color of the text in the box to green or red depending on whether the answer is correct or not. These advanced techniques help to demonstrate my fluency in this technology, which will allow me to utilize it in the transfer of knowledge to my future students. A crossword puzzle with clues related to the curriculum could be used in the classroom to encourage students to explore information resources to support research and learning.
As a teacher, it is important to be a model for my students and one way to do this is to effectively use emerging digital tools. Using Inspiration, a visual thinking and learning tool, I created a mind-map of ideas for writing my narratives for ISTE’s National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers. This personalized mind-map helped me to plan and successfully complete this assignment. Starting from a blank canvas, I first added images from the Internet that I felt were symbols for the topic at hand. From each symbol, I placed arrows, which can be of varying size, shape, and color depending on what makes most sense for the assignment, pointing to other images, which were symbols for subtopics, and then placed words in the arrows that described the relationship between the symbols. I was also able to add links to websites, which is very useful when researching and planning. My use of Inspiration for this assignment is just one example of how my students and I can use this emerging digital tool to support research and learning. My Inspiration mind-map can also communicate relevant information to my students as a way to teach the importance of brainstorming in the writing process and how visually displaying the information with this user-friendly program is a way to transfer the current knowledge of brainstorming on paper to the action of brainstorming digitally.
4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility
Cyber Safety Website
Technology requires awareness of safety concerns, ethical practices and legal issues that continuously arise in the use of new technology and as a teacher, my responsibility to model best practices for my students is vital. I collaborated with a group of my colleagues to build a Cybersaftey Website using Google Sites, a free Google tool that enables you to design your own website and publish it on the Internet. We were able to work simultaneously on the website and engaged with each other in the formulation of concepts for a finished product. We each created our own web page on a safety topic, my focus was cyberbullying. Other topics on our site include: cyberpredators, piracy & plagiarism, inappropriate content, identity safety, and social networks. My web page defines cyberbullying, the unique characteristics that are different from traditional bullying and much more. I provide statistics, tips for students, tips for educators, and resources that can be used in prevention. Through the use of Google Sites, I embedded a video clip and graphics to help present my message. This Cybersaftey Website allows us as educators to advocate and teach safe, ethical and legal Internet usage, while encouraging respectful and responsible social interactions online. Creating this website proves my ability to collaborate with peers to develop a digital communication tool that contributes to universal awareness.
In a multicultural world, it is vital to collaborate with colleagues around the word, to assure that all students receive equal access to education. I opened an account with Diigo, a collaborative social bookmarking website, to collaborate with colleagues and develop an understanding of education from a global perspective. I began developing a personal learning network (PLN) by searching topics of interest, found five Diigo users who paralleled mine and followed them. On Diigo, I researched and bookmarked topics related to PLNs, assistive technology, special education, academic universal design and added them to my Diigo Tag roll which allows me to share them with others on Diigo. Using Diigo, I created a reflection summary on the PLN tags regarding multiple intelligences, achievement gaps, and multicultural awareness, and reflected on how to continue growing and learning as an educator. In Diigo, bookmarked sites, and joined groups, assist me in developing my cultural understanding and global awareness of education and technology. Using Diigo as a component of my personal learning network facilitated interaction with other cultures and developed an understanding and strategies to address the diverse need of all learners.
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) Journal
b) Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies
Using the Internet as a research tool, I investigated adaptive technology devices that could be used in the classroom to assist students with special needs. I focused specifically on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), which is non-verbal communication that helps people with severe speech or language problems express themselves through the use of picture and symbol communication boards and electronic devices. I found a low-tech and high-tech tool, as well as a software and hardware option to be used in the classroom allowing students to express their wants and needs to the teacher and classmates, such as a Theme Board for a student to point to pictures to communicate wants/needs related to a specific theme. Then on my blog, I described the tools I found next to a representative picture, allowing me to share these devices with other educators about how to provide a suitable learning environment for all students. This informative journal article featuring adaptive technology tools helped me learn how to address the diverse needs of all learners by focusing on strategies that are centered around the student. Through researching devices which assist children with communication difficulties in the classroom, I demonstrated my ability to find solutions for the classroom that provide a suitable learning environment for every student.
5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership
Professional Learning Network (PLN)
It is critical as an educator to actively seek out new means of professional growth within the educational community. I created my own professional learning network (PLN,) in order to communicate with professionals in the education community from around the world. My PLN consists of relationships with other educators through Twitter, a useful online social networking site; Diigo, a collaborative online social bookmarking tool; and Classroom 2.0, a online community of educators promoting the use of technology in the classroom. I used Twitter to participate in a discussion held weekly with educators from around the world, and through my interaction was given more informative resources that I bookmarked for future reference through Diigo. My PLN allows me to participate within the global learning community in order to obtain the newest educational resources, ideas, and tools. The continuous effort to improve my professional practice will allow me to infuse new ways to improve student learning in to the classroom.
Ongoing education is just as important for an educator as it is for a student. I subscribed to Learning & Leading with Technology (L&L), a journal obtained through membership in the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE.) I have regularly read current and archived issues of L&L, as well as other educational publications, and documented my reflections of the material on my blog. These articles have provided me with emerging digital tools that can be incorporated into the classroom to enhance student learning. For example the journal article "The Beginner's Guide to Interactive Virtual Field Trips" from the March/April 2010 edition of L&L introduced me to the idea of having students virtually visit educational facilities around the world by using new technology in the classroom. Through the frequent examination and written reflections of journals centered on technology and education, I can support student learning by incorporating current research within the classroom. This continuous effort to improve my professional practice will allow me to find and implement the most effective methods for improving student success in the classroom.
A Personal Learning Network (PLN) is the collection of people, who have similar interests and/or professional goals, with whom one engages and exchanges information with online. My PLN, which is reflected upon as a journal entry on my blog, models this notion. I became part of Diigo, Twitter, and the Educator’s PLN communities by following the member’s postings and joining chats. On Diigo and Twitter, I added people interested in education to my network, and I joined the Educator’s PLN community to gain insight on present teacher’s issues. Doing this expands the group of colleagues I can collaborate with, allows me to be open to new ideas around the world, and models how my future students can use the Internet to learn. My students' PLNs will increase their knowledge by asking questions to actual people. Mine will let me exhibit leadership in my future community by sharing new knowledge and demonstrating the creative effective use of technology.
Reflective Journal Posts
To support my future students’ learning, I should evaluate and reflect on current technology. The journals done on my blog are assignments in which I read and wrote about articles. Most of the articles were taken from the monthly educational publication Learning & Leading with Technology, which I had the privilege to view because I am a member of ISTE, the International Society for Technology. The topics I reflected on include cyber bullying, trusting teachers to use the Internet in school, and the importance and how-to of networking on Twitter. My journal posts include summaries and responses of the articles and a couple of questions that make me reflect on how I can use the ideas in my future class, and then I answered them. Generally, all of the articles I’ve read and wrote reflections on gear readers to think of technology’s aims to replace traditional classroom methods. These journal write-ups allow me to evaluate and reflect on current research available on the Internet and in print. Getting closer to becoming a teacher, my work on the journals makes me examine emerging digital tools and resources, such as Twitter, to support student education.