This is the first installment of my podcast entitled "Integrating Technology into the Classroom Made Easy." This installment focuses on questions asked by viewers regarding Photostory and integrating technology in general. I hope you find it informative.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Click on the YouTube below. It covers the basics from how to set up your account to how to begin creating a Glogster. Have fun!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
We live in a technology rich society. Why shouldn't our classrooms be the same? I believe classrooms should simulate real life. Our students should be in classrooms where they are not only learning critical thinking skills, but appropriate technology skills as well. Our children are exposed to technology everywhere they look. We are short-changing our students by not preparing them for the world they live in.
One major push in education today is differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction is about meeting the needs of all your learners - no more teaching to the middle and hoping the rest learn as well. One ideal way to achieve differentiated instruction is through incorporating technology.
In "Ten Tips for Personalized Learning via Technology," Rubenstein focuses on ways to address the needs of all learners. The article starts out by addressing ways to vary your instruction. We need to find ways to motivate our learners, and by using a variety of instructional methods, especially those with real world applications, students feel like they are learning things that are important. When focusing on differentiation, it is important that we meet learners "where they are." I recently did a Big6 research project with my fourth graders. Our topic was "Famous Texans." Each student was allowed to choose the format for their presentation (i.e. Powerpoint, Glogster, or Photostory). Most students chose the program they felt most confident using or the one that most suited their strengths. When they completed their project they used our SMART board to make their presentations. By using technology, it is easier to customize lessons that meet our student's needs. We can create lessons that review skills, as well as those that extend learning.
In "Persuasion & Creation: Students Using Video in TRCs!" posted by WHIRL in May 2010, teachers used videos to enhance their lessons in language arts and math. The students all had basic objectives they were suppose to accomplish, but by being given choices for their project, they were motivated and also able to work within their comfort zone. These lessons would have been taught anyway, but by using technology, the teachers were able to differentiate to address all the students' skill levels going into the project. One group of students decided to show their understanding of angles by having group members lie down on the playground to form different types of angles and videotaped them for their assessment. The student samples from this class were shared on Technology Rich Classroom's blog. The students were proud of what they had accomplished and it was exciting to watch!
When integrating technology in the classroom, it doesn't always have to be time consuming. It can be something simple that just enhances their learning. In "A Picture is Worth at Least One Word," Barron shares the big impact adding clip art into the writing process had with her elementary students. She introduced the concept of a "rebus story" where pictures are used to replace nouns. Imagine the fun the kids had while working on this assignment, not to mention how finding the right clip art impacted the quality of the stories that are written. An assignment like this is a perfect way to differentiate the quality of the stories that were written. By creating a rubric that encompasses choice and allows for students who are able to produce a more advanced product, each child can work to their full potential.
Technology is a huge part of our everyday lives and our school systems and teachers need to embrace it. With so much importance being placed on differential instruction today, it seems only logical that we would turn to integrating technology. With all the opportunities for trainings, both on-line and through the school district, teachers have the necessary resources to help them be successful with this transition. By being technology literate, we can produce students who are prepared for today's tech savvy world.
Barron, J. (April/May). A picture is worth at least one word. Retrieved from EDTEC Focus on K-12: http://www.edtechmag.com/k12/issues/april-may-2009/a-picture-is-worth-at-least-one-word.html
Rubenstein, G. (2010, April 26). Ten tips for personalized learning via technology. Retrieved from Edutopia: http://www.edutopia.org/stw-differentiated-instruction-ten-key-lessons
WHIRL (2010, May 24). Persuasion & creation: students using video in TRCs! Retrieved from Technology Rich Classrooms: http://www.kansastrc.org/forum/topics/a-day-in-the-life-of-tech-rich