Monday, October 19, 2015

Why Should a Teacher Invest Time in a Class Blog?

Why Should A Teacher Invest Time in a Class Blog?

Especially When Teachers Are So Crunched for Time??

Four letters might suffice, CCCS:  The Common Core Curriculum Standards and the new assessments with intense emphasis on writing for authentic purposes, a variety of genres, and audiences. 


Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report.
Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.; record science observations).
Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grades 9-10 here.)
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

However, just because the state or federal government is breathing down our necks to achieve should not be our sole reason for instructional decisions.  It should be about what we originally got into this profession for . . . to connect with children, to watch them soar, learn, and grow, and see those smiles when you know they have discovered something great because of YOU!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Animoto Video

My Animoto Video

Click on the above and be directed to my Animoto Video.

Google Reader

There is so much information available at our fingertips, literally, that really the question becomes how fast can you sort through it for relevancy, and how well can you manage or organize it.   Google Reader helps you do those things.

When you search for topics of interest and add those blogs, sites, magazines, or newspaper topics with tags to your reader, new posts pertaining to your interest automatically are sent to your reader for viewing.  For example, I would like to know about the latest advancements in assistive technology.  Therefore, I have added many subscriptions to my Google Reader concerning assistive technology (AT).

Following are three blogs that I came across on my topic of interest, AT.  These blogs contain a treasure  trove of information about assistive technology, devices, software, hardware, uses in schools, uses for adults, definitions, power point presentations, and information about how assistive technology and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) are inherently connected.

Assistive Technology Blog at Virginia University

Assistive Technology of Alaska Blog

Glenda's Assistive Technology and More

Check these sites out.  There is a great deal to see.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Educational Technology – Truly an Adventure for Everyone!


Dr. Elsa Sophia Morote, Chair of Educational Leadership, Administration, and Technology at Dowling College, describes her quests in keeping up with the continual changes and improvements in educational technology in her blog, Educational Technology, My Personal Adventure.  The analogy to an adventure is perfect because following the rapid advancement in technology is like a trek through uncharted territory, especially for the casual user, such as myself.

The YouTube production The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler helped me to begin to understand the learning landscape in the Technological 21st century.  The best analogy that comes to my mind after viewing The Networked Student is an octopus and its tentacles.  The delightful animation describes what a student in this technological age will need to be aware of and be able to navigate -- from . . . Google Scholar to obtain reputable sources of information on a topic, a social bookmarking site such as Delicious that keeps track of your favorite sites and allows sharing, to blog sites for sharing opinions and RSS readers to subscribe to blogs on topics of interests.  Let’s not forget Wikki spaces that are places for more formal postings of factual information versus opinion or views.  It does not end there, because iTunes U offers a plethora of informative podcasts and Open Sources of information including college courses from world-class professors for FREE!

So, what does this mean for education, instruction, and teachers?  Change.  Real change.  The kind of change that can transform the way the world works, lives, learns, and plays.  It does not mean fewer teachers.  On the contrary, teachers are at the heart of the matter.    It means teachers’ roles will be changing, the places of instructional delivery will be changing, the form of instructional delivery will be changing.  Change is coming.  The technological network is ready and waiting.  All of the tools are available to us now.  We have a lot to learn, but we are teachers.  We are the best learners.    


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Exciting New Ways to Engage Learners

When I was in grade school (many years ago), the teacher spoke, the children listened, and that was that.  As I advanced through my school career, not much changed . . . the teacher spoke, perhaps used an overhead projector, an occasional film, the children listened, and we learned to take notes, and that was that.

Today, we live in a whole new world.  It's called the age of technology!  Frequently, education is slow to integrate what the rest of the world has been at full throttle with for oh, maybe a decade. Unfortunately, such is the case with technology integration into education.

I'll give you an example.  I was working with some 8th graders on Social Studies and English research papers and the students needed some on-line references.  I suggested Wikipedia.  My suggestion was immediately met with astonishment on the part of my students.  It seems they and their teachers knew something I didn't.  You see, Wikipedia can be edited by any old hack as one of the students informed me, and he then said that they were NOT ALLOWED to use Wikipedia as a reference.

No matter how I tried to explain to the students that a part of learning involves checking your sources and comparing information and that Wikipedia is one such source, I could not convince them.

So funny, today I was browsing Open Sources and guess what I found?  An MIT Professor who actually uses and embraces Wikipedia!  An MIT Professor!  By the way, this MIT Professor willingly shares his entire course on the Open Source.

Anyway, getting back to Wikipedia, why all the fuss?  I just read the article 77 Web Resources for Teachers to Explore This Summer by Richard Byrne (see the link below) and there was a great example of a teacher using the Wiki application in her classroom.  The students had actually compiled more information on their topic of study than the textbook contained.

Remember the old days, the teacher spoke, the children listened, . . . I didn't say we learned.  Learning implies utilizing information in a variety of ways, across domains of study, and at high levels of critical analysis.  I can't say we did that.  I did have to learn it.  I learned it the hard way by trial and error in the work place and in college.  However, I know I certainly need to be able to do it as an educator and a professional, and I am certain our students are going to need to be able to do it.  A Wiki seems like a great classroom application for compiling information on a topic of study that will foster higher level thinking and engagement.

Another area that Richard provides a plethora of information on is programs to help students with skills, content, and/or processes.   Today there are programs for reading, writing, math, and content areas.  I started this blog with . . . when I was in school, the teacher spoke, the children listened, and that was that.  Well, that was rather boring.  The programs available now allow the teacher to change up the game plan,  provide more individualized attention to some, while others use computers or tablets.  Please see links to a small sampling of these programs below.

Students expect a lot from teachers, parents expect a lot from teachers, administrators expect a lot from teachers, the state expects a lot from teachers.  I think teachers should make every effort to become as technologically savvy as possible, because in the end, it will make their teaching easier and their students soar.