Week 13 Blog

This week during class my peers and I shared one tool that we found that we liked and reviewed for the rest of the class. All of the technological tools that my classmates presented were interesting and useful, but there were a couple that stood out in particular!

SCRATCH:

Scratch is a very cool tool online where you can make animations and games. It’s a good introductory tool into computer programming and STEM principles. I like that it is kid friendly and easy to use. Students can have a lot of fun playing around on this while still using problem solving and critical thinking skills. Great tool!

EDMODO SNAPSHOT:

Another great tool is Edmodo’s snapshot. Edmodo created already made quizzes and assessments that align with the common core standards. Since it is very important that we align our assessment with our standard and our objective, I think this is a great tool for any classroom teacher. I love how it will save on time and provide a clean, quick, and easy assessment for students.

GONOODLE.COM

Last, but not least, one of my favorite tools is Gonoodle.com. This is a great site that provides free brain breaks and indoor recess activities. It ranges anywhere from appropriate dance music, to yoga, to playing games indoors. It’s a great tool that I know students will love and you don’t have to spend time or energy trying to find appropriate and entertaining music and games for children.

Tools like this are always changing and being challenged by new and better tools. So, how does an educator stay up to date on all the latest technology? My answer, and I think is the most common one, is by becoming a connected educator. By staying in contact with other educators across the United States and around the world, you can see what other educators are using in their classrooms! I like to do this through twitter and blogs. I have been, and plan on continuing to read these blogs weekly to stay up to date on the latest technology being used in the classroom. You can also follow technology blogs and technology buffs on Twitter. This will let you know almost directly from the source when new tools become available!

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Iowa 1:1 Conference Experience

Last Wednesday April 8, 2015, I attended the Iowa 1:1 Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. This was my first technology conference that I had ever been to and I was a little nervous about it! I was nervous that people wouldn’t take me seriously because I wasn’t a teacher yet, but to my surprise everyone at the conference didn’t even seem to notice that I was still in college and they were all very friendly! I met a man named John that is a superintendent of a school district in Illinois, I met a woman named Patty that works at the Iowa Department of Education, and I met several other teachers from Iowa.

After being at this conference, my love for technology and the teacher profession has grown in the following ways.

THE ATMOSPHERE:

The atmosphere at this conference was so fun! Everyone was excited to be there to share their love of teaching and technology with literally everyone they came in contact with. This made me feel like apart of the “educational community.” The atmosphere also contained some seriousness in it too. This seriousness addressed many issues or concerns that a majority of teaching professionals felt in their classrooms or schools such as assessment, cheating, failing/success, motivation, and which tool to use for a project. It was great to hear all that teachers and principals had to say about this issues and what they were actually dealing with in schools today. It was informative and eye opening to me!

ATTITUDE:

The attitude along with the atmosphere at this conference helped to grow my love for the teaching profession. The attitude was that of optimism, perseverance, and ambition. This attitude especially came from a principal in Bettendorf, Iowa. His name is Jimmy Casas and I watched his talk on “What Connected Educators Do Differently.” He talked about his perseverance and journey to being where he is now, a successful principal and a published author! He really pushed the point that education is all about making and maintaining relationships with colleagues, students, parents, and other educators around the world. He claims that these relationships are the most important thing because you can learn so much from other people, and get so much more accomplished. I think of the quote “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I think this is very true quote! He also talked about how your attitude determines everything! If you are excited and passionate about what you are doing everyday, then it will make others excited and happy to be there with you throughout the day. Jimmy displayed this kind of attitude throughout his whole talk. He was very excited and very passionate about education. He also was serious about forming meaningful relationships with others, he even gave everyone in the conference room his cell phone number!

TECHNOLOGY:

Obviously the technology was inspiring!! I learned about so many new tools that I had no idea were out there. One of my favorites was called Fluency Tutor. It’s a free software that essentally gives running records to students all on it’s own and tracks their progress. This was really exciting to me because I am in a tutoring class right now where we help struggling readers get better at reading. We have to adminster tests to them and a lot of the children begin to get very stressed and nervous when they have to read aloud to a real person. They also really want to know what you are writing down and very distracted by the scoring process. It has been a big issue in tutoring and this new program would completely eliminate this problem! A couple other tools that I really enjoyed were makegif app, emaze, smore, kaienza, TS Gold app, and Spheros! I love this new technology and how much easier it will make an educators life!

In conclusion, I learned a lot at this conference and was truly inspired to become a better educator! Since being at the conference, I have become really involved in the educational twitter world. I participated in a couple of twitter chats this week and have continued to learn a lot from other educators in Iowa and all over the nation. I will continue to be apart of the educational community and I plan on going to other conferences as well!

Tech Review #2

Tool: http://pixabay.com/

This week I took a look at the website Pixabay. This is a great site for educators and students that allows you to look up any image and will give you a variety of images with the source attached to it. You can access the tool from any computer that has internet access.

The purpose of this tool is to provide images, including real life images and clip art images. These images are provided for free except for the first row of images that comes up in a search. Those images have an ‘x’ over them. I like this site because it also includes the source for the picture so you don’t have to worry about siting it or copyright issues. It’s also great for students because there are not any unwanted or inappropriate pictures that can come up like on Google or Yahoo image search.

To use this tool, you type in Pixabay.com in the search engine. The homepage is very easy to use and has a search engine front and center for you to type in what it is that you would like an image of. It will then take you to a page that includes all kinds of images in your category. You can also narrow your search to photos, vector graphics, or illustrations. Under the explore tab, you can also explore the latest images that have been uploaded, editor’s choice of pictures, and leaderboards. Leaderboards are where photographers can post their personal photos to be used for the public. This adds a fun element of being able to view beautiful photography photos within an image search.

One use for this tool in the classroom is to use yourself as a teacher. It can be hard to find the right clip art or the right image to add to your presentations, handouts, or any other activity you use in the classroom. I like this site because it is fast, easy, and free.

Another idea you can use with the classroom is introducing it to children to use with any sort of digital project. Sometimes students have a hard time finding clip art that is appropriate, free, and within copyright regulations. This site is great for students to use because it is appropriate, free, and within copyright regulations!

I plan on using pixabay more often in my future teaching and sharing it with other educators and students!

My Journey To Become a Connected Educator

This week I learned a lot about what it means to become a connected educator. After listening to videos and reading articles last week about being a connected educator, I was inspired to ask my technology integrationist that I work with for 280B, Patrick Donovan at Ames High School, how he is a connected educator. Mr. Donovan shared with me his tweetdeck, which includes hashtags that he follows such as #educamp or #techintegrationist. He says his main form of being educated is through his twitter and his tweetdeck that he watches everyday. He also participates in weekly chats like we did for this week! He also shared with me an app called Voxer that he participates in with other educators all over the country. Voxer is an app that allows you to record your voice and submit to a dashboard where you can hear what other people have to say about a particular question or topic. I thought Mr. Donovan had some great ideas.

Along with Mr. Donovan’s encouragement to get a twitter, it was a part of the assignment for this week! I had previously had a twitter account, but it was a personal account that I decided to remove a couple years ago. So earlier this week, I created another professional twitter account. I began by reading the two articles that my professor assigned us to read about starting up a new twitter account, (http://www.lisadabbs.com/2014/five-tips-for-new-teachers-to-become-connected-educators-) (https://mrstsmiddlegrades.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/twitter-101-for-teachers-steps-for-getting-started-on-twitter/)

These were helpful articles to read before starting another twitter account, especially the advice to “steal a friend list.” I did this with Mr.Donovan. I went to his account, followed him of course, and then looked through his more than 1,000 followers to find a handful that I thought were interesting and shared my same interests. This helped me to quickly reach out to others to be able to find more people like myself, and even more hashtags to follow that I might find interesting. I followed Iowa State University School of Education, CTLT, and other Iowa State affiliated twitter accounts. I also followed technology integrationists, teachers who encourage technology in their bio, and other elementary school teachers. I followed these people who had a lot of tweets, and had a lot of good information in their bio that lead me to think that we would have a lot in common.

I also participated on Twitter Monday night to be apart of the #Thetitleonechat. This is a chat for teachers teaching in a title one school to share ideas of how to cheaply integrate technology into their classrooms. Some concerns that these teachers were raising were ones that I think a lot of schools have all over the nation, such as not having access to some websites such as youtube, and not all students having access to internet at home. Some suggestions for these teachers were to encourage students to use the public library, to create DVDs or playlists of your voice they can use at home, or using other free resources online. I thought the chat was interesting and could see some value in it, as well as other chats on twitter. I could see myself watching what others have to say but still being intimidated by actually jumping in on the conversation. I think I just don’t feel like I am educated enough on the topics they are talking about because I, myself, am not really an educator yet and don’t have a group of students to try things out on. I can see myself using the chats in the future though, or using the tweetdeck to keep up on the latest news in educational world.

My tips to people being new to Twitter is just to play around! The best way to get to know any new tool is to spend a good amount of time looking at all the buttons, features, tabs, pages, settings, etc. I find that I know a lot more about a tool when I play with it, even if I don’t know exactly what it does, I have a good idea then if I never knew it was there before.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @KelleyLattimer

Being a Connected Educator

What I learned this week:

This week I learned about being a connected educator through watching videos about connected educator’s experiences, reading blogs of connected educators, and reading various articles on being a connected educator. I have learned that being a connected educator means having a presence in the educational world online. To me this means not just browsing and looking at educational resources online, but to take it a step further and create relationships with other educators by commenting, sharing, and collaborating with others. This will help educators create a community online of alike minded people that can share ideas, provide support, and give feedback.

What are the benefits of being a connected educator?

There are many benefits of being a connected educator and being involved in a PLN (professional learning network) online and through technology! After watching Alec Couros, a professor in educational technology, talk about how important it is to be a connected educator, he made the very important point that after all the social media and technology has gone away, what do we have to show for it? If we reach out to others online, make connections, and actually talk online through a webinar or have a skype conversation, then we will make those relationships that will last longer than the technology we are using to connect. The focus should be on not what connects us, but who we are connecting with. When you connect with others you can share professional ideas, give feedback to each other, support each other, and gain opportunities to meet more people. You can also find opportunities for your students to learn from these connections as well.

Am I connected?

I am sadly not a connected educator yet but now that I know what it is, I can take more steps to become a connected educator. This blog is a great first step to becoming a connected educator. A part of being a connected educator is to share your own ideas with the online world. Through this blog, I am able to show others my thoughts, feelings, and personality through my writing. Another thing I need to do to be connected is to get a professional twitter account. I deleted my personal account about a year ago due to not using it, but now that I have seen how much of an advantage it can be to find other connected educators and resources, I will make sure to get a new twitter account! Other ways I can be a connected educator is by following other educational blogs like mine! Through looking at blogs from educators I can not only get ideas and resources, but I will make sure to comment and reach out to other educators to start forming relationships online. And I will be sure to take the advice from Mrs. Howlett to be brave, try new things, and be open to new friends and experiences! It can be kind of scary to reach out to another educator that you don’t know, especially when I don’t exactly feel like a teacher yet, but I know that if I take the leap to be connected to others that it can only help me grow as an educator.

Tech Review 1

Tech being reviewed: http://www.hstry.co/

Purpose of this tool:

This is a website called hstry.com. This website allows students and teachers to create interactive timelines. The timelines can contain educational information or any type of information to be presented in a timeline format. Students and teachers can share these timelines with anyone, where anyone can make comments on them. You can also embed media and quizzes into the timelines.

Compatibility:

The compatibility for this website can be used on any computer and it is free for the basic form and $15 a month for the premium.

How to Use:

You can create a free account as a teacher or as a student. I played around with the teacher profile. When you create a teacher profile you get to a place where you can add students and post timelines. When you get to create a timeline, it’s almost like filling in information to create a website. There are prompts and places for you to put a banner, title, heading, information, media, and quizzes and comment spaces. It is very straightforward and easy to use. There is also a tutorial.

Classroom Ideas:

1.) 5th grade/history: Teachers can create timelines to show how certain parts of history have developed over time (wars, equality, fashion, culture, etc.) Students can follow along on their own computers where they can comment on the timeline, answer quiz questions, and go back to review again later.

2.) 4th grade/introductions: At the beginning of the school year this tool can be used to get to know all your students and for your students to get to know you. The teacher will teach the basics of timeline so they know how to use it for the rest of the year. The teacher can then share their own timeline with a series of important events or important things about that person. The students can then make one and share with all classmates. Classmates can even comment on each other’s timelines with things they have in common or just thoughts they would like to share with their new classmates!

Speed Geeking!

In class on Wednesday night I participated in my first Speed Geeking. Speed Geeking is where you quickly look at and evaluate a variety of technological tools either online or in person.

On Wednesday night I looked at the following:

  • Write about this App
  • PhET Simulations
  • EdPuzzle
  • Osmo Tool
  • Lucid Chart
  • WeVideo
  • Powtown
  • Padlet
  • EduCreations
  • Socrative
  • Plickers

We then evaluated these tools based on the purpose of the tools, the benefits and drawbacks, and what age group it would be used with.

One of my favorite tools that I looked at was the Write About It App. This is an app that has a variety of writing prompts along with images. An image will pop up, say a picture of a beach, and ask you what your favorite vacation was. Then the student can type write on the iPad or they could get a piece of paper and pencil and write based off the prompt. You can also upload your own images and write a story about it which would be great to use in the classroom. I would use this all the time in the classroom. It could be used in any sort of work time or you could have students write one per week and share it.

Another one that I really liked was EdPuzzle. This is a site where you can create interactive videos or quizzes. For example, we took a look at the similes and metaphors video. This played different youtube songs and then stopped after every song and asked if there was an example of a simile, a metaphor, or both in the song lyrics. I thought it was really cool because it was a fun way to assess student’s understanding. I also liked that you had to complete the whole thing, you couldn’t stop and restart it. I would use this tool in the classroom to assess students or review materials.

Some tools that I would not use would be the Plickers. This is an app on your phone where you can scan student’s papers after asking a question to collect data on their answers. I would not use this because there are other online tools or apps that allow you to do this such as Google Forms or PollAnywhere. A benefit to this is that you don’t have to have technology for every student, they just have to have the piece of paper. The drawback is that the app doesn’t always pick up all the student’s data which makes for not as good results or skewed data. Therefore, I would not use this in the classroom.

Other than that tool, I would use almost any other tool we explored in the classroom. As a teacher a good tool to create items to teach with would be WeVideo, PowTown, Lucid Chart, etc. These all would be great resources to present information in an organized way.