Monday, February 23, 2015

Post #2 - Judging the Quality of Wikis and Non-vetted Sites

I do not allow my students to cite Wikipedia in their assignments. The main reason that I do not allow this is because I know that all throughout my college career I was told I was not allowed to use Wikipedia. I do not want to get the students dependent on a tool that they probably won't be allowed to use anyway. I've noticed that Wikipedia is the first place that many students look and I truly want to break them of this habit. I try and get them to look for scholarly articles instead. On the other hand, I do tell my students that although Wikipedia is a wiki and anyone can edit it, it still can be a good resource just to find out general knowledge. Using Wikipedia to settle an argument about a celebrities age is different than using it for a research paper. 

I use Youtube quite often in my class. I think that students respond well to videos, especially if they are short and entertaining. Unfortunately, my school has Youtube, teachertube, and schooltube  completely blocked from the students, unless I play a video for them, they cannot utilize these tools.  

Post #1 - Building and Refining your PLN

The three new blogs that I followed were:

"Technology Tidbits: Thoughts of a Cyber Hero"
I chose to follow this blog because I loved how many resources the blog had to offer.  While scrolling through the blog, I saw several web 2.0 tools and resources that I've never even heard of. The blogger even goes as far as describing all of the tools and telling how he uses them in his classroom. It's a fantastic resource for anyone interested in technology integration.

"Educational Technology and Mobile Learning- A resource of educational web tools and mobile apps for teachers and educators."
I chose to follow this blog because the title caught my eye. I've always been interested in mobile learning, especially because I have never worked at a school that has had a 1:1 technology program. I love the idea of students having a piece of technology available to them throughout the day and if the school can't provide it, why not let the student's use what they already have! This blog has an abundance of educational apps and resources for teachers. It's a really great resource!

"The Cool Cat Teacher- A real teacher helping you be really amazing"
At first I wasn't going to bother with this blog because I really didn't like the title of it but I'm glad that I was able to overlook that and read further. This blog not only has resources and web 2.0 tool suggestions but also inspirational readings and really great teaching tips. This blog is really a one stop shop for teachers of all grades and subjects.

The five educators or organizations that I followed are:

1. The first person that I chose to follow was Bill Nye. I pretty much followed him because I love him and I know that many students do too. I have a lot to learn from him.
2. I followed "The Teacher Page". This Twitter page has tons of teacher resources.
3. I also followed Nicholas Provenzano. I was intrigued that he was the MACUL and ISTE teacher of the year for 2013. Those are two organizations that I admire and if they admire him, I do too. He has a ton of great resources on his page.
4.Jeffery Bradbury's Twitter is all about helping teachers better integrate technology into their classrooms.
5. Finally, I followed Erin Klein who I found through Nicholas Provenzano's Twitter. She was the 2014 MACUL teacher of the year. He twitter centers around technology and education.

I'll be completely honest, so far, I have not used Feedly or Twitter at all. My reasoning for not using Feedly is because RSS readers are new to me and I truly have not had the time to explore exactly how they work. From what I have seen thus far, I do like the idea of a RSS reader. I have also not used Twitter because, for some reason, I despise it. Although I'm not a fan of Twitter, I now realize that there is a lot more to it than hash tags and ignorant celebrities. I will definitely make more of an effort to work with Feedly and Twitter more often for this class but, as of now, I can't wait to delete Twitter.

Although I have not stayed up to date with Feedly or Twitter, I have not had a problem staying up to date with the Facebook portion of my PLN. Because I'm a Facebook user, its very easy to skim through my feed and pick out the articles that I'm interested in that come across my feed. I would really like to get in this habit with Feedly.

Something that I would like to improve on concerning my information gathering skills is to become better organized. I already feel that my Feedly is a mess. I need to come up with a better organization system.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Unit 2 Post- Web 2.0 Tools and the SAMR Model

I teach Technology to students in the grades one through eight. In my situation, I have used the SAMR Model without even knowing it. Below I will explain ways that I have used each phase of the SAMR Model in my classroom. I have also included a picture that briefly explains what each phase consists of. 


Substitution-A good example of substitution from my current work situation is the Accelerated Math program. Each elementary teacher assigns a variety of different math assignments to each student. The students then complete the assignment directly on a piece of technology or they print the worksheet and later scan a scantron to check their answers. In this case, the technology is acting as a direct substitute for the worksheets that would have been printed out anyway.  

Augmentation- A current example of augmentation in my class is the way that I now give my tests. I currently use a website called This website allows me to create quizzes and tests on the computer. I then give my students the link to the test and they take it on the technology. Since giving my students their assessments via technology, it has improved my productivity as a teacher and the students are not left waiting for me to check their papers.

Modification-An example of modification in my classroom is using Google Docs. Before using Google Docs, my students would collaborate with each other by sharing their work that they had written on paper. If the other student had suggestions, they would write on the other student's paper. With Google Docs, the students are now able to collaborate all at once with ease. As the teacher, I am also able to watch the students collaborate live. This change in my class has been very beneficial. We are saving time and paper and are gaining productivity and more collaboration than ever before.    

Redefinition-As a technology teacher, redefinition occurs quite frequently in my classroom. My favorite example of redefinition occurs at the beginning of the year with my middle school students. As a capstone to the end of my internet safety unit, I have the students create their own public service announcement (PSA) over the different elements of internet safety (cyberbullying, meeting people offline, information sharing, etc.) Each student has a role in creating the PSA. When the students are complete, the PSA is filmed and we watch each of the PSA's as a class. Not only have the students learned from creating their own PSA, but they are also learning from each other's. I also take these PSAs and show them to my younger students as well. The younger students watching their peers deliver a message has a far more intense effect than having a teacher deliver that same message.