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Learning Log – Final Reflection

6 Mar

After revisiting the Maryland Teacher Technology Standards and the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers, I now feel competent in several areas.  I feel confident enough to advocate and demonstrate the integration of technology in my building for teacher and student use.  My only question is the issue of student privacy. 

I have joined a local technology Ning in my school district.  I plan on adding content and learning new strategies and best practices.  I have shared many of the technologies I learned in this course with my fellow teammates including DIIGO, TeacherTube, Skype, classroom blogs, and Animoto.  My first experience with Skype was with a colleague.  I have used Animoto to introduce and preview new reading group novels and Glogster to introduce a science unit.  Using Google forms showed me that 59% of fifth graders view the media center as a place to learn new information.  However, 22% say they learn new technology there.  My next survey will be to find out what technologies students use at home.

I hope to make a difference for my students and help them become practicing 21st Century learners.  I plan on building a toolkit (within a wiki) that will assist me in my endeavors that includes important documents like Andrew Churches’ “Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy”, UDL checklist,  AASL and NET*S/T standards, the University of Houston’s Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling, and Alan Levine’s 50+ Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story to name a few. 

Chris Dede said it best when he stated, “There is no single best model for learning, either for student learning or for teacher learning.”  We all require multiple avenues and I intend to deliver.

Thank you Lori and Margaret for pushing me to become a more effective teacher.

Learning Log – Inquiry-based Research

5 Mar

Currently, I’m working on designing an astronomy inquiry-based research project.  There are so many inquiry models out there to choose from: Webquests, Minnesota’s Inquiry Process, Constructivist Learning Models for Inquiry, The Research Cycle, The Big6, AGOPPE, and more.  However, I discovered they all have the same components: questioning, exploration, assimilation, inference, and reflection.  Therefore, it’s taken me quite a while to process and digest this type of teaching and learning in order to even begin creting this unit.

I can honestly say I have always told students what they will research.  For example, every October, students complete a report on a famous or influential Latino-American for Hispanic Heritage Month.  Sure, students get to choose which Latino-American to research but the person is usually chosen from a list I have generated.  I also tell them what information they need to include about the person.  Now, I will need to allow students to come up with their own questions, at least. 

Leslie B. Preddy has written a series of articles for School Library Media Activities Monthly (now School Library Monthly) about inquiry.  Her five part series “Student Inquiry in the Research Process” has been very helpful to me in understanding the actual steps teachers and students take.  She gives many tips and strategies to implement throughout the process.  The ones I found most valuable were: the research journal which can be used at the end to aid in grading the process, questioning, daily reflection for students during the process, peer conference and evaluation, and rubrics.  Preddy says, “Each student needs the opportunity to learn that research requires hard work, focus, and dedication.”  Students are actually in the process of becoming lifelong learners.

Learning Log – ISTE’s Education Technology Priorities for 2010

25 Feb

First, the article makes reference to two grants I need to find out more about: Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation.

“Continuously upgrade educators’ classroom technology skills as a pre-requisite of “highly effective” teaching.”

The above is priority #4.  If the higher-ups do not hold educators accountable for learning new technology, it will take years to implement the NETS or AASL 21st Century Standards.  I’m appalled at myself, because I didn’t have a clue about the wealth of information that is accessible for collaboration, teaching, learning, creating, sharing, and transforming.  It’s 2011 and I am just being exposed to Google Docs and Photostory.  My colleagues and I think being technologically savvy is using Power Point to post daily objectives, schedules, and lunch choices on our t.v.  monitors.  However, that’s where the savviness (if that’s a word) ends unless you count going to the computer lab to type a paper.  We need to be required to learn new technologies and how to use them for instruction. 

“By fully funding programs such as Preparing Teachers for Digital Age Learners (PTDAL), we can ensure that the United States produces the most technologically savvy educator workforce in the world.”

This is priority #5.  It also refers to training teachers but before they step foot into the classroom. ” Teacher preparation is one of the most important aspects of a world-class 21st Century system of education and learning.”  Enough said.

 “Establish technology in education as the backbone of school improvement.”

Technology is barely mentioned in my SIP, except to display data or administer MAP-R, a reading test given on the computer.  The above is priority #1.  I’m not a member of the SIP team but I better advocate for implementation of technology for the 2011-2012 school year.

Effective use of technology is one bandwagon everyone needs to jump on.  However, a plan is needed so that educators don’t feel pressure or frustration.  Contributing to the SIP is one way to go about it without feeling alone in this endeavor.  Also, if administrators are supportive, then the staff will feel obligated to follow through.

Learning Log – Reflections on Module 3

20 Feb

I enjoyed this module, because it has taught me ways to stay in touch with other professionals.  I can visit the Classroom 2.0 Ning or ISTE’s Ning and virtually attend their events.  I can read through “tweets” on the go with my iPhone.  I can find and share useful sites through my Diigo account.  Through Goodreads, I can find and share great books.  The best part is – I can access it all from my home page!  Thank you iGoogle!  I feel like I will never lose touch with any of my classmates.  You guys are my collaborative buddies forever.  Let’s plan for a “tweet up” some time in the near future. 

Social media has a valid place in today’s classrooms.  It can be used to stimulate and enhance teaching and learning in so many ways.  It can support reading, writing, research, and other content areas.  Social media can also bring out shy students who might not otherwise openly discuss their ideas in a traditional classroom setting.  The collaborative nature of these tools is amazing!  Why am I just learning about these technologies?  Social media should not be the outcast Web 2.0 technology.  According to the National Online Survey of District Technology District Use of Web 2.0 Technologies, “more than 500 district technology directors were surveyed around the United States and found that teachers are the drivers of Web 2.0 adoption in schools”.  However, administrators need to be the example and lead the way for the use of social media for teachers.  Otherwise, it will be slow going to get up to speed with our “digital natives”.

Learning Log – Goodreads

20 Feb

Reading Group Books

I plan on using Goodreads to organize books I have read for instructional as well as personal purposes.  I may decide to join a discussion group.  I will use the book recommendations to find other books I may be interested in reading.  Students can use it for the same purpose.  For example, if they like The Dark is Rising, they may also want to read A Wrinkle in Time.  Students are required to read 25 books independently each school year; so, Goodreads is a wonderful way for students to log, share, rate, and write a review for each book they have read.  (This would beat collecting reading logs every week, for sure!)  We could even have online literature circles if we started a group!

Learning Log – Twitter

13 Feb

So far I am really enjoying this module.  I am thrilled about my iGoogle homepage.  I love having everything in one place.  Google docs & forms are going to revolutionize how I collaborate, assess and gather data.

Regarding Twitter, I had no idea how essential it could be for my professional development.  I already feel like I’m “in the know” and I haven’t even really begun.  In Ernie Cox’s article, “Building a Future-Ready Professional Learning Network”, the idea of coordinating or being a part of a “tweetup” with other educators to discuss the 21st Century Learning Standards, for example, is awesome.  I know this is probably rare but it still intrigues me.  Now, I don’t have to feel alone in my thoughts about what I’m studying.  I can blog, tweet, comment, post, or whatever about it.  That’s a good feeling . . . knowing there are other professionals out there who are passionate about the same things I am passionate about.

Learning Log – iGoogle

12 Feb

iGoogle can support me in teaching and learning in many ways.  First, I can check in with several professional and social networking sites at a glance all at once.  I added ALA’s Librarian’s E-Library search engine, A-Z Kids Stuff, and TechLEARNing in addition to Google Reader, Twitter, and Google docs to my homepage.  I won’t have to waste time typing in the URL.  I will stay current and be able to apply the content on my “gadgets” to my teaching.  Overall, it makes everything more accessible.