Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Digital Storytelling Project Explanation

For this project, I used the program Story Bird. It was so easy to use because it allowed you to input the visuals and audio into the same program. This program is definitely something I will use with my students to allow them to create literature and share their creations with members of the school community.

PPT is Evil

I looked at grades 4-5 Rings of Responsibility. The lesson starts out with the instructor using a quote from Marvel Comics' Spider-Man, "with great power, comes greatest responsibility.' The lesson uses the quote to explain responsibility to students. Students need to understand that having online access is a privilege. With this privilege comes great responsibility for their actions.

I like how the teacher introduces the concept using students' prior knowledge about the responsibilities they have at home, school, and in their community. Using students' prior knowledge is a great way to introduce concepts because it gives them a connection which allows them to internalize the concept at a deeper level because it is relatable to them.

The rest of the lessons involve students working through 3 different phases of responsibility online. All of these lessons work with the previous lessons to help remind students how they should act online and why/

5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cellphones in Class

I love this article! The author really explains beneficial ways to get kids to make use of their cellphones in the classroom instead of letting them become distractions. I love the response to the fear that cell phones will allow students to cheat. The author says that traditional tests just ask the students to recall information, it does not require them to put into practice the skills they learned to see how they are applicable in real life situations. By incorporating cell phones in an educational way, teachers will actually be better preparing students for 21st Century professions. It is all about how you use the technology!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Update on Flipped Classroom Blog

During week 1 of this course, I found the blog "Flipped Learning, Turning Learning on it's Head!" I was immediately intrigued by the title of this blog because I was interested in learning more about how flipped learning works and how to be successful with it in an actual school setting. When I initially read the posts on this blog, the idea behind the "Flipped Classroom" model sounded awesome, but I immediately had the question of how the "Flipped Classroom" would work in an elementary school setting. I could definitely see the benefits of using this model in teaching middle school, high school, and college, but I was concerned that it would raise some problems with elementary-aged students. When I revisited the blog this afternoon, I was amazed to find that the author posted a message on the blog directly addressing my very question! When asked whether the flipped classroom would work with younger grades her response was "yes, sorta." She elaborates by saying that she feels teachers of elementary students should focus on flipping a few lessons at a time rather than a whole curriculum. She recommends starting by taking a concept that the students are struggling with and make a video focused on that lesson. Keep the video to less than 10 minutes. The video length should be determined by the age of the students. Make sure the parents are on board and will help the student to access the video. Make sure there is a way for the teacher to know whether the students have watched the video. She also suggests making the flipped video a center in the classroom. That is always a great way to guarantee the students watch the video and it allows teachers to monitor student use of the internet and what they do as a follow-up activity. This is exactly what I was hoping she would say! I can clearly see now how the flipped model WOULD be beneficial with elementary students. I also appreciated how she provided two approaches to the flipped classroom. She showed how it would work in a home setting as well as, how to make it work during the school day if students do not have the technology to access the lessons from home.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Importance of Visuals in the Classroom

It is essential for teachers to use visuals to support their instruction. Through visuals, students are able to visualize what the teacher is explaining. When students are able to visualize concepts, the concepts become more real to them and they are able to relate to them better and see how to apply them in multiple situations. Learning is not valuable unless students can apply what they have learned to situations outside of the classroom. Having visuals in the class shows students how these concepts are relevant to their lives outside of the classroom because they can see the concept being used.

Suzanne Stokes, a professor at Troy State University, wrote an article entitled, "Visual Literacy in Teaching and Learning: A Literature Perspective." In her article, she talks about the importance of meeting the needs of our learners. In a society that is increasingly visual with the presence of technology, it is important that teachers embrace this movement and use visuals to provide their instruction. Technology also helps teachers cater to different types of learners in their classroom. In the article, Stokes talks about how traditional teaching methods cater heavily to the left hemisphere of the brain, the analytical side. Technology helps teachers teach to the whole brain by catering to both the analytical and visual/creative side.

Article Link: http://ejite.isu.edu/Volume1No1/pdfs/stokes.pdf