Saturday, November 26, 2011

Learning Tools

Here is an image of the learning tool I designed for my 5th grade classroom.
In our class, we were required to create a learning tool that would benefit our classroom.  I used a program called Kidspiration to design a learning tool about the water cycle for my 5th grade students.  The program has a 30 day free trial, and I think it was great to work with.  But, you have to watch out; the Kidspiration is naturally aimed for younger students.

When I was thinking about what to make and which program to use, I had a lot of things going through my mind.  There are other programs that one could use to create a learning tool, for instance Inspiration.  All of these products are beneficial for your classroom because they allow your students to actively engage in what you want them to do.

For example, my learning tool was all about the water cycle.  I had supplemental websites and videos that my students needed to watch in order to gain information about the water cycle.  Once all the websites were looked at and the videos were watched, they had to organize the main stages of the water cycle and define the main words of the water cycle.  Once done with all of this, they were to play a game that used words that they had just learned to signify that everyone was finished.

Creating a learning tool for your classroom is not difficult.  I think that using learning tools in the classroom are an excellent way to engage technology and active inquiry from your students.  Another thing I think it is important to know is that the learning tool can be used in many different aspects of the classroom including math and science.  Lastly the kids get to have fun while doing their school work! :)

Click here to go to the Kidspiration website and figure out more information and if it would be beneficial for your classroom.

Images used from my personal collection

Sunday, November 20, 2011

1 to 1 Initiative

Stduents using the computers issued to them at West Hancock in Britt, Iowa.

Technology in education has exploded over the past 10 years.  But, it hasn't always been this way.  I remember in 4th grade going to the computer lab to work on our assignments for class and having to take a floppy disk.  We had to learn how to type with boxes over the keyboard so that we couldn't look at the keys to see what we were typing.  But our society has seen a shift in our young people.  They are learning how to use technology at a younger age, which is forcing our schools to use technology in the classroom.

I think that the 1 to 1 Initiative is a great idea, but it does have some downfalls.  With having the studnets "electrified" all the time, what happens when something goes wrong with their computer.  I know that they would be distraught if their computer were to have a virus or if something were to happen to their computer.  Also, from personal experience, my high school always had a slow internet connection when many people were trying to use it at once and it would often crash.  I think that if the 1 to 1 Initiative were to come to my school district, many other things would have to be changed.

While I think the 1 to 1 Initiative is great, I also think that there should be learning done without the computer.  It is my opinion that students wold also benefit from informal learning.  This means closing the computers and using techonolgy in some other way, such as an ELMO or watching a video.  Techonolgy is a very important tool in the classroom and the 1 to 1 Initiative demonstrates this.

You can click here to find an 8 page article about the 1 to 1 Initiative from Gateway.

Here is a video of students talking about how the 1 to 1 Intiative will help them this school year.

Image used with permission from the Britt News Tribune

Monday, November 14, 2011

Edmodo: The secure social networking

I have used Edmodo in my Inquiry into Life Science class here at UNI.  I think that this site was beneficial not only to me, but also the professor, Jason Lang.  We, as students, were able to post our answers on a secure site that was selective for our class.  Than our teacher was able to view and hold a discussion based on what we had posted.  This site is very similar to Facebook in the way that it allows for social networking.  But, it differs from Facebook in many ways.  I think the most difference can be seen in that it is a social networking site strictly for classes.  It's free and I think that it would be beneficial to have in the classroom.  Having Edmodo in the classroom also allows for us, as students and teachers, to connect with others in our building, district, and surrounding communities.

Click this to see what the login page of Edmodo looks like, and remember: it's free, so you can join any time.

Image provided TechTools4Teaching