Mobile Devices and Improving Learning Outcomes

http://www.thetechedvocate.org/mobile-devices-classroom-really-improve-learning-outcomes-2/

Mobile devices are used by students and children very frequently.  With the growing age of technology, teachers are more willing to welcome mobile devices into their classroom for instructional purposes.  The following findings were reported:  “73% of teachers use mobile technology in their classrooms, English teachers are more likely to use mobile technology in their classroom than math teachers, and 44% believe students need digital literacy courses to be successful academically and beyond” (Lynch, 2017).  M-learning keeps students more interested than traditional instruction.  Students surveyed feel more engaged with m-learning and mobile devices.

The educational tool this educator chose to focus on is Microsoft Education.  Similar to Google Classroom, it provides students with the tools to technologically complete and submit assignments.  Students can also monitor their grades and give and receive feedback.  They can message their peers about assignments and skills while using it.  The challenge to implementation is the cost.  Each student needs a license.  The district may not be able to provide this to every student.

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The Virtual Classroom

http://www.timelesslearntech.com/virtual-classroom.php

With the changes in pubic and non-public education there is a growing amount of students not attending traditional schools.  The virtual classroom is becoming the mode of education that parents are choosing for their students.  This virtual program is so unique because it is not just a program that posts lessons and videos for students to teach themselves, the teachers actually log on and so do the professors.  The teachers lecture to the students online and can talk to students if they have any questions about the lessons.  It is very similar to what real school is only online.  This virtual classroom is “an online teaching or training software that utilizes tools and provides enhanced learning/training experience” (Timeless Learning Technologies, 1).

This program can be a tool virtually anyone can use for their education.  With students having to miss school for various reasons such as long-term illness, bullying, and even changes in family dynamic, this is a perfect way to provide educational stability for students.  The virtual classroom offers the following features in addition to a live professor to teach courses:  Live tech support, sychronous learning, live audio-video support, session recording, sharing screen or other material with students, white board, option to raise hand for asking query, and multi-level fallback mechanism.   This is definitely the wave of the future in education.

The educational tool this educator wants to implement is Book Creator.  While this could be a great English Language Arts tool, it can be used across all subjects.  It allows students in any grade to create and publish their e-books.  This encourages the creativity in students and allows them to get their ideas published.  It will give them a confidence because they are creating something that is theirs, and it will be published.  The only challenge with using this program would be the cost.  It may get costly if multiple students want to create books.

(2016).  Virtual Classroom Technology & Software Systems.  Timeless Learning Technologies.  Retrieved from http://www.timelesslearntech.com/virtual-classroom.php

An Office Mix of Interactive Lessons

http://www.carlaarena.com/edtechtip-officemix/

This article talks about Office Mix and all the tools you can utilize in Office Mix.  This kind of reminds me of Google Classroom.  Instead of having the Google version of the software, Office Mix has the Microsoft programs that most people use.  This includes all the software and files related Microsoft such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.  Using Office Mix you can “demonstrate content, create interactive stories and quizzes, produce high quality screencasts, and make students produce their own videos.”  Students can use this on their phones and ipads.  This is an interactive lesson people will want to use because a people that use Google products such as Drive, Docs, and Sheets are more familiar with the Microsoft products.  This will allow Microsoft to give their users more access to their software.

The educational technology tool that I plan to implement in my classroom is Peergrade.  It can be utilized for students to grade each other’s work.  Problems with traditional peer grading in class is that students can sometimes make decisions that are not objective.  If they have to grade the work of a peer they may not like, they may be unfair.  The good thing about Peergrade is that the student’s identity is anonymous and assignments are given in no specific order.  They can follow guidelines set by the teacher without knowing whose paper they have.  This eliminates the bias that traditional grading may have for peer grading.

The only challenge for implementation could be purchasing the program and making it available for all students.  Being a Math teacher it may be hard to upload Math work for students to grade.  It seems to be geared more toward ELA or Social Studies paper type grading.

Arena, C.  (2015).  Ed Tech Tip of the Week–Interactive Lessons with OfficeMix.  Carla Arena Learning.  Retrieved from http://www.carlaarena.com/edtechtip-officemix/

Flipping the Classroom

Flipping the Classroom Article

This article discusses Flipping the classroom, or something that can also be referred to as “Front-loading”.  Since the beginning of time, education has occurred when students show up to school and learn new skills from their teachers.  The first time it is taught, is the first time they see the material.  With the “Flipping the Classroom” concept, students watch videos and view material on a certain skill before going to class.  It has been fueled by the growth and use of the internet.  Teachers can upload items for students to watch or utilize, or students can be given a topic and be instructed to find materials on the topic.

I know firsthand that this works.  My daughter’s school does this in Math.  The night before or a few days before, she watches videos on a skill they will be learning.  She expressed that this helps her to better understand concepts that she may otherwise be confused about.  Within my classroom, we front-load students a week before on skills to be learned in Math the next week.  This helps with weekly test scores and helps class flow better during instruction because concepts are not brand new to students.

The Educational tool that I want to focus on this week is Donorschoose.org.  This website allows public school educators to get items they may not be able to get through their district for their classroom.  People who make generous donations pay for items teachers need out of the goodness of their heart.  Ironically, today I got a project funded that had been posted for  a few months.  A company donated 29 millions dollars to Donorschoose.org to fund every project on the website.  I am very blessed.

The only disadvantage is that sometimes it may take a little while for a project to be funded.  I sometimes have to share and try to solicit donations.  However, any work required is worth it because my students get what they need, which helps improve instruction.

Collaboration Centers

Collaboration in the classroom is key for student facilitated learning.  Students need discovery time to unfold concepts on their own.  They do this best when they work and discuss with each other.  The article I chose this week shows different collaboration activities that can be used in the classroom.  Of course with technologically advanced students, these must include technology integration.  The centers include video conferencing, teleconferencing, and video call.  These are all familiar to students and will cause them to work hard to master subject matter, so they can participate in technologically friendly activities.

This also lends itself to student engagement.  The biggest issue with students not mastering skills is that they just do not have an interest in learning what you are teaching.  When the interest is mastering skills, this is the key.  It is the wave of the future of education.  We have to meet students where they are and technology is it.

The instructional strategy I want to focus on this week is Google Classroom.  This is a great tool to post assignments for students and have them use technology to submit their work.  Students can complete work remotely.  It gives students an outlet for creatively completing tasks, and gives them more technological interaction vs. paper pencil assignments and exams.  The disadvantage of Google Classroom is that being that I now teach Math, it’s hard to post assignments that are conducive to pre-algebra assignments.  When I taught Social Studies, it was perfect for those type of assignments.  I have to get creative when posting Math assignments.

Collaboratively Teaching

http://www.emergingedtech.com/2014/05/20-excellent-free-tools-for-interactive-collaboration-experiences-in-the-classroom/

This article summarizes different collaborative teaching and learning sites and techniques that can be used by educators.  Sites such as Twiddla, Google Drive, Bubbl.us, Edmodo, Yammer, Skype, Vyew, Wikispaces, Facebook, Cacoo, Twitter, Wiggio, etc.  All of these sites can be utilized by teachers and students in the classroom.  As these sites may be available to all students, use should be required according to the age and grade of the students.  Once you find what works for you, “a rich set of free tools can provide an endless array of collaborative, interactive class work for years to come” (Walsh, 2014).  These sites allow learning to become interactive and end the one size fits all direct instruction.

Once implemented student engagement will take on a whole new approach to teaching for teachers.  In this technologically savvy generation of students. this is needed to engage and keep students’ attention in the classroom.  These students are so stimulated by technology outside of school, anything less makes them bored.  The sites mentioned above include capabilities of online white boards, cloud storage, creating bubble maps, discussions and collaboration online, private social media sites, video sites that allows you to face to face interact with people at remote locations, and sites for discussions for certain members.  This makes pretty much any resource for communication at your fingertips.

One tool that I use often in my classroom includes Remind.  I love that I can use it to communicate with my students and their parents at any time without revealing my phone number.  I can post messages for each class that I want subscribers to see.  They can reach me after hours if they or their child has a question about school work.  It pops up like a notification on my phone when I get a message, so I see it immediately. The only challenge for implementation is that some parents don’t like to download the app because it takes up so much space on their phones.  I also don’t like that I cannot enroll them.  They have to sign up on their own, which they are sometimes reluctant to do.

 

 

 

 

Walsh, K. (2014).  20 Fun Free Tools for Interactive Classroom Collaboration.         EmergingEdTech.  Retrieved from http://www.emergingedtech.com/2014/05/20-excellent-free-tools-for-interactive-collaboration-experiences-in-the-classroom/

Tech Before Pedagogy

https://www.wonderexplorelearn.com/single-post/2016/10/09/Lead-with-Learning-Never-with-Tech

 

In a technology driven age, it is easy to feel like technology should drive everything you teach in your classroom.  However, too much technology in some situations is not necessarily a good thing.  It can sometimes hinder students.  Teachers should not strive only to integrate tech into instructions.  They need to put “learning goals at the forefront when selecting technology tools” (Goethe, 2016).  Teaching standards should be the priority, not how technology teach.  The teacher should be the primary source of education.  The technology should be the reinforcement and not the teacher.  While technology is important in the classroom, it should not replace authentic teaching and learning.  According to Goethe, “It can have a opposite effect when placed in an environment that does not foster student-led learning” (2016).

For example, in a some middle schools and high schools in the state, classes are taught visually, with only a teacher to monitor each class and not provide instruction.  Students utilize technology to teach themselves and practice math problems.  Most times this is not effective because no computer can explain a concept like a teacher, who can break down the lesson and content being taught, remediate, and give feedback.  Students are struggling because they have no formal instruction and no reinforcement.  This is another reason why technology cannot be implemented in isolation. Good instruction must come first.

The educational technology tool I would implement is “My Back Pack.”   This is a modern way to keep the lines of communication open between students and parents. This will allow parents to be updated immediately when anything changes at school, such as their schedule, grade notifications, and attendance.  It opens up the communication between internal and external stakeholders. I would link this to my teacher computer to send out updates often and keep parents informed about what is going on with their child at school.  A barrier to implementation is getting the district to agree to pay for this software in addition to what they may already be in contract with.  They may be resistant to changing what they currently have in place.