My Learning Experience

the network teacherI have learned so much from this online class. I don’t know where to begin. There are things about technology that I never knew existed. I had not experienced with a blog, bookmarks, rubrics, Google Group, the digital movie, a concept map, or making my own website. I have learned more this semester than I have ever learned from a computer class.

My weak points were the website and the concept map mainly. I had trouble with my Power Point for Assistive Technology because I could not get my print screen button to work right and the magnifier would not do what I wanted it to do. I got started on my website but kept having problems so I decided to try to redo it. I never did get to where I wanted to with it but I do understand how to navigate through it much better than I did.

My strong points were the Power Point (except for the Assistive Technology assignment), the digital movie, Google Group ( I enjoy collaborating with others), and the blog-folio. It was easy to navigate and I really enjoyed the interaction with my peers. We kept in touch with each other off and on, especially when we had problems. I remember being up late one night around 11:00 PM and answering an email from one of the ladies in our group. She was having trouble and I tried to help her out. Our Google Group was awesome. We all worked well together. 

I think the interaction I had with my instructor was good. Anytime I needed an answer about an assignment or any other problem I could depend on her to get back with me in a timely manner. I wish some of my other teachers would have been like her. Also, the Teaching Assistant was wonderful and very helpful also. I really appreciated the comments on our assignments. I like to know when I have made mistakes and am given the opportunities to correct them.

The Power Point, Excel Spreadsheet, the survey, and the group story are things in technology that I was familiar with. It helps us as students to work with things that are familiar to us to refresh our memories. The Turnitin assignment reminds us that we should not plagiarize. The concept mapping is a wonderful way fo teaching visually. The digital movie was one of my favorites. I plan to use this not only in my classroom but here at home with my grandchildren. The website is one of the things I learned about that will keep me practicing. I plan to learn all the things I need to know about navigating through it.

My experience with Blog-folio has been good. I liked reading the comments other classmates left on my blog and I loved reading what others wrote about. Everyone has different ways of writing and it is fun to read the different views about technology. The thing I liked the most about the Blog-folio is the clip art and pictures that we could insert and the navigating was so easy to learn. The thing I liked the least was making the pages for the standards. That took me longer than I had planned and I almost forgot about the artifacts!

I have enjoyed this class even though it has been very stressful to me. I will always remember  all the things I have learned about technology.

This entry was posted on December 3, 2013. 1 Comment

ASSISTive Technology

girl in wheelchairAssistive Technology is extending the abilities of an individual in ways that provide physical access such as wheelchairs, braces, etc. and sensory access such as Braille, closed captioning, etc. It can also help address special teaching and learning needs. The main goal is to harness the potential of technology in ways that offer an individual with disabilities increased opportunities for learning, productivity, and independence- opportunities that otherwise would not be available. An assistive technology device means any item, product system, or piece of equipment that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child that has a disability.

This project was not a hard one. I always enjoy Power Point Presentation. There were a few mistakes when I finished, for instance, not putting text on a few slides that had the sound clips. This was minor mistakes that have been corrected. I am majoring in Special Education so this kind of assignment is dear to my heart. I must say I enjoyed doing this one.

Assistive Technology

This entry was posted on December 2, 2013. 2 Comments

Turnitin Assignment

turnitinGreater online access to text documents has caused many students to use material they find on the internet as their own. As a result of this, there are now sites to help teachers catch “plagiarizers”. Many educational organizations and teachers are increasingly using these sites.

Turnitin is the leading academic plagiarism checker technology for teachers and students. It is an internet-based plagiarism-prevention service. Most universities and high schools buy licenses to submit essays to the website and they check the documents for content that is not original. Other tools with the Turnitin site are Peer Mark (peer review), and Grade Mark (online grading and feedback).

This assignment was an easy one. The first document I turned in that I copied and pasted was 99% plagiarized. The second one was only 3%. I think Turnitin is a good thing. It makes students have to write sources on their own, and to me that makes them better writers, otherwise they would just be copying and pasting documents all the time and would never learn to write. I am attaching my Turnitin report to this blog.

Turnitin report

This entry was posted on December 2, 2013. 1 Comment

My First Website

website images

I wish I could say I finally finished my website. This was one of the rather difficult assignments yet for my blog. I started it back in October but got so nervous because I kept making mistakes so I decided to stop and go back to it at a later date.  I had to make myself start over again because I was afraid I would make the same mistakes. I finally  started over again and only finished one page of it. This tool is a very great thing to have in the classroom. Students and parents have the opportunity to learn more about the teacher and what is expected for the class. The course information lets them know more about the course and what is needed for the class as far as supplies, etc. The personal page tells them about the teacher and shares a few things that the teacher may want the parent or student to know about them. The web resource tells where to find valuable information that may be helpful for assignments, etc. The home page is the very first page and introduces someone to the website and welcomes them. I am so happy to know that I now know how to make my own website, even though I did not finish the one for this class. Developing webpages and websites has become an excellent way for students and teachers to see the power of the Internet and use it accordingly. Thanks to webpage development software we can develop our own websites. This is something I think all teachers should have!

My website

This entry was posted on December 2, 2013. 1 Comment

Technology in Special Education

indexSpecial Education is my major. Special needs children are very dear to my heart and I am pursuing a degree in S.E. because I want to be that someone who reaches out to a special needs child and helps them get the education they need and deserve. There are current issues that affect the acquisition and use of technology in Special Ed.

First, there’s the legal and policy directives. Special Education is governed by laws and policies. Teachers, administrators, and special education technology specialists must be well versed in federal and state laws, policies, and procedures.

Second, there are the Implications of the No Child Left Behind Act for Special Education. The NCLB has had a significant influence in Special Education, as it has in all other areas of education. One of the most important components of the law focuses on Annual Yearly Progress which requires documentation that each school is meeting specific performance criteria established in the law. One benefit is that they focus public attention on the persistent underachievement of students with physical disabilities.

Third, there is need for Trained Personnel. Considerable effort has been devoted to identifying the skills and knowledge needed by teachers and specialists to use technology in Special Education. Despite the efforts on the part of most universities to improve the preparation of teachers to use technology in the classroom, most teachers begin their career with little experience using technology. Another issue centers on the use of interdisciplinary teams for evaluating the need for assistive technology and decision making in the selection of appropriate devices and services.

Fourth, there are requirements for Inclusive Classrooms. A process of mainstreaming efforts were made in the 1990’s to include special education in the general education classrooms, an activity known as inclusion. Students with disabilities now spend the majority of the school day in general education classrooms and receive a variety of support services, although access to the general education curriculum is still limited.

Fifth, there is the Universal Design for Learning. Perhaps the best example of the success of universal design principles is curb cuts. They not only help people with disabilities but improve access for people with baby strollers, roller blades, bikes, and so on. Universal design concepts have been applied to computers by including disability accessibility software as part of the operating system so that access is provided as the computer comes out of the box. Teachers working with students within inclusion settings face a relentless demand to modify curricular, instructional, and assessment material.

Last of all, Web Accessibility has been pushed to make websites more usable by people with various disabilities. This consists of designing websites with a set of criteria in mind, such as using large or enlargeable images for people with low vision, underlining and coloring links for users with color blindness, and making pages navigable using the keyboard only. The intention of web accessibility is to provide greater access to information for all users by designing websites for accessibility  from the ground up.

Some applications of assistive, instructional, and productivity technologies that are commonly used by students with disabilities and their teachers are

  • Students with mild and moderate to severe disabilities: Reading skill software, text-to-speech products, interactive storybooks, voice recognition software, word prediction software, graphing software, drills, games, and tutorials.
  • Students with physical disabilities: Provide alternative methods of accessing keyboard, mouse, and/or monitor. Determine the best placement of adaptive technologies, and provide training to ensure the student is able to operate it independently.
  • Students with sensory disabilities: Individuals who are blind: canes and sensor technologies to assist movement, text-to-Braille converters, use screen readers. Individuals who are visually impaired: closed circuit television magnification systems, built in computer screen magnification control panels. For individuals who are hearing impaired: FM amplification systems.
  • At-risk students: Locate software and websites that provide powerful and motivating opportunities to engage in learning activities. Utilize electronic quizzes and other instructional materials that provide immediate feedback on performance.
This entry was posted on November 5, 2013. 3 Comments

Integrating Technology into English and Language Art Instruction

teacher owlThere are many effective ways in which technology can be integrated into English and Language Art instruction. Chapter 9 has a list of these strategies.

1. Internet resources to engage students in literature- Internet sites offer examples, background, and analysis that can enrich students’ study of literary works and help make literature more real and relevant to them. Electronic dictionaries and thesauruses provide  support to students as they learn spelling and vocabulary skills. These resources are integrated into most word processing software programs.

2. Electronic publishing projects to encourage student writing- When students know their work will be displayed on a website or in a print product that others will see, they will spend more time writing. Many Internet websites have been set up specifically to allow students to publish their work. Email and website projects are also a way to connect student writers with distant audiences.

3. Electronic penpal activities to encourage student writing- When students know they have an authentic audience they are more likely to want to write and to make sure they watch their spelling and language conventions.

4. Concept mapping software to help students plan their writing- Concept mapping software helps students create visual outlines so they can plan what they want to write about. This allows students to produce an outline as a visual map. Kidspiration for grades K-3 and Inspiration for grades 4 and above are the most popular concept mapping programs. Students can easily brainstorm a cluster map of ideas for a story and then rearrange or expand on the ideas for later development. Inspiration also has a personal digital assistant version to assist students engaged in the trend toward mobile learning.

5. Online book clubs- Students can join an online book club for kids or create one. This encourages pleasure reading.

6. Talking books to engage students in reading- Electronic books or interactive storybooks draws students into reading activities. These tools are regular literature books placed into an electronic format, usually on CD, DVD, or an Internet site. They allow stories to be read aloud to students, they can let students vary the sequence in which they read parts of stories, and they can be formatted to allow students to choose alternate paths or endings.

7.Threaded discussions to motivate student writing- This gives students a supportive, nonjudgmental environment for expressing their ideas into writing. Many teachers find that having students participate in discussion boards instigates both reading and writing. Course management systems such as Moodle and Blackboard can provide class-based discussion boards that teachers set up for students’ use in threaded discussion.

8, Alternate formats for writing stories- Students can use iMovie, which is a video-editing program or Audacity, which is an audio-editing program to develop stories in formats other than simply text-encompassing movies, pictures, and sound.

9. Blogs and fan fiction websites to motivate student writing- Students engage in dialogue with others about topics of mutual interest. Students practice written expression this way. Students can use these either as personal journals or as public discussion forums for trading opinions or interactions. They can create their own blogs by using a blog website, such as Blogger, or they can join a blog initiated by others.

10. Tracking systems to motivate reading- Systems such as Accelerated Reader give students opportunities for reading at their own levels and rewards them for improved comprehension. Most teachers use the system to diagnose students’ reading levels, provide books and stories for students to read, and track their comprehension by administering questions on each item they read. Another reading intervention system is Scholastic’s Read 180 Program, which is geared through grades 4 through 12, and Reading Recovery, which is geared towards first grade readers.

This entry was posted on November 5, 2013. 3 Comments

Enhancing Authentic Learning

lessons on computerThere are many types of web-based learning activities. First of all, there are blogs. You can take the classroom conversation into the home with blogs. Many websites offer password protected blogs to keep your classroom and your students safe. An example of one such site is EduBlog, where the teacher will post a question on the blog in class and require the student to log on at home with their parent. They will view the question and answer it or comment on it so other students can see the comment and form a conversation online. This allows families to participate.

Second, there are student webpages. They can be made easily using programs available online. Weebly is a site that offers a password protected website and also multi-tabbed webpages. These websites are easy to  create and require little training to use. These webpages can also house different projects on each tab and can become a portfolio of sorts if the student should ever need them for future classes.

Third, there are quiz applications available online so student’s knowledge can be accessed at home. Quiz Monkey is one such site. The teacher logs on ahead of time and writes  a short quiz, and after class the students log on and complete the quiz. This program logs their answers and sends the scores to the teacher. The quizzes are intended to provide the teacher a quick check to see who understands the material and who needs additional help. internet

There are many sites that provide support services for students and teachers. Assigner and Remind101 are two examples. Assigner allows teachers to create an account to upload any paper resources used in the class. When the student goes to that site, he  can search for his or her teacher by name or school and can download or print any resource that is listed for that teacher.

Remind101 lets the teacher set up an account for each class that is taught, and allows students to sign up for the account using their email address or a mobile phone number that has text capabilities. Remind101 will send out messages to all students after hours using their preferred method of contact. An example would be homework reminders.

Some sites can help enhance the curriculum you are teaching and some sites can help support the teacher and the students. One important thing to remember is that the technology you use should enhance the curriculum in a way that benefits each student and that they are aware of how to safely use the internet before any assignment is given that will require them to use a website outside of the classroom. The internet offers a great source of tools to enhance your curriculum; always keep that in mind!

This entry was posted on October 21, 2013. 3 Comments