Friday, April 11, 2014

Training Teachers to Try Technology

Before taking the class EDU 451, I had very little knowledge of how to use technology in a classroom. Honestly, I have very little knowledge of technology in general... I can use basic functions in a computer, such as Microsoft Office, the internet, and play games, but that is pretty much it. My cooperating teachers do use some technology, but nothing very extreme. One uses a document camera when taking notes or going over instruction, and the other uses a School Pad when walking around the room. In my high school, we had smart boards in every room, though most teachers could not use them very well...

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I feel as if in college, pre-service teachers should not only take this class, but also have the chance to visit other classrooms (in their content area) to see how other teachers use technology as well. In my undergrad career, I  never actually had the chance to visit a high school science class until I started student teaching (although I've seen a ton of elementary school classrooms).

I could also benefit from being able to see examples first hand of different uses of technology, and then having the chance to practice it myself. Since I am so weak in this area, I feel like I really need to be walked through how to do these kinds of things. Though I am clueless, I do understand the importance of using technology, and keeping up with new technological advances. Here is a video explaining the top ten reasons to use technology in a classroom.

I also think in high school, the students should be required to take technology classes. I took a few computer classes in high school, though they were not mandatory. With the increase in technological use in modern times, it is critical that students should be able to be competent at using the ever advancing tools and devices that are being created.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

I brought chickens, mice, and monkeys into my classroom...

     Should social media be used in schools? In my opinion, the simple answer is... there is no simple answer. Of course, with the amount of cell phones and tech-savvy students in the world today, it's difficult keeping students off of Facebook and Twitter during class. Should these sites be used in instruction? I feel like it COULD be beneficial... if used correctly.

     In this course (EDU 451) we have used Twitter as a means of connecting with each other and getting ideas for our class rooms from other people who live hundreds of miles away. In this situation, I feel like this is definitely beneficial, if you can do this with your students. You would have to make sure students are staying on task, though... I would be cautious about letting them use their phones to get on Twitter during school hours (I doubt many schools would have firewalls allowing students to get on Twitter on school computers). Outside of class, this could be a very beneficial website.


   
     If you can get on Facebook in schools, here is a video showing how it can be used as an educational tool in a history class. The teacher describes how the students were to create a Facebook page for a famous person in the 19th century. This would be so cool! My history teacher definitely wasn't this fun... Anyway, if you could get on Facebook while at school, like the students in the video, this would be excellent. I could do this in biology too, and have students make a page for a scientist. They could even do it for a specific animal, then using personification they could make a page for this animal where it describes its habitat, prey, predators, etc.

Operant Conditioning Chicken
 YouTube, on the other hand, should be allowed in schools, no doubt about it. In my classes I am student teaching in, I show YouTube clips all the time. I sometimes use them as a warm up. In the animal behavior unit in biology, I played a couple videos showing different behaviors, and the students had a list to choose from and had to pick which video fit each behavior. They got to see clips of a chicken showing operant conditioning, a mouse showing habituation, and monkeys showing insight learning. My cooperating teacher liked this so much he decided to do it with another one of his classes. Though there are some inappropriate videos on there, YouTube is a great educational resource and belongs in the classroom. It is welcome in mine any time!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I, Robot Teacher

When I think of the word "future", everything I've ever saw that is considered science fiction pops into my head...flying cars like in "The Jetsons," cyborgs, and Utopian societies. I can't help but wonder what the future of our schools will  be like. Will it be all virtual? Will there even be a need for teachers anymore, or will something be invented that makes this profession obsolete?

                                                            
In this article, the author discusses an idea that perhaps the teachers could teach one day, then the next day students would do work online, and these two formats would repeat on alternating days. With the amount of online classes that are offered today, this doesn't seem so far fetched. Even in my high school, we had virtual college classes, where we sat in a room and watched a teacher on a TV broadcasting live from the community college. All four high schools in the county were watching.  Perhaps in the future, students will be able to stay at home and take all of their classes in a similar fashion, where the students watch a teacher who is broadcasting to everyone enrolled in their virtual class. Students would then complete their assignments online and email it to their teacher for grading. 

On a more creepy note, in Japan, they are starting to develop robotic teachers. This video introduces you to Saiya, a robot science teacher, who's resemblance to a real human being is uncanny. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new era in teaching (I really hope not...) Still, I don't know how this robot could answer students' questions, and they would not be able to keep an eye on students and make sure they are not destroying the classroom. How would they punish unruly students? I would be terrified to see this robot teacher coming after me...
                                                   

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Science is fun!

Do games have a place in our classrooms? Yes. No doubt about it, I think games are an excellent teaching strategy. They allow the kids to have fun and learn at the same time. Besides, students would need a break from sitting and listening to teachers talk all day! Hour and a half blocks are way too long to sit in your chair the whole time and listen to lecture... even if you're in college, I believe! Some teachers teach this way, and end up losing their students due to plain old boredom.

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I plan on using several games in my classes. I'm going to use one tomorrow, as a matter of fact. In my high school earth science class, we have a test in two days on astronomy. Tomorrow, we are playing Astronomy Jeopardy as a review. I found an excellent template to make your own Jeopardy games online. Click on Jeopardy to see my game!

Another "game" I planned on playing but ran out of time for was a simple game of "catch." My cooperating teacher has a large beach ball with different vocabulary terms written on it. We planned on going outside and standing in a circle. Students would throw the ball to one another, and which ever word their right thumb landed on, they had to give the definition for this word. I know this doesn't have anything to do with technology, but it is, in my opinion, a fun way to review for a quiz or a test.

Games could also be used to teach new topics; not just to review. I'm sure you could use Jenga as a way to teach balancing forces, or any game with dice to teach probability. For a geology unit, I have played a game where students roll a die that tell them to go to a different station out of six stations around the room and roll the die at that station (ex. "You are magma. You are forced to the surface from a volcanic eruption and harden. Go to the igneous rock station.") They wrote down each step they took, and used this to come up with a comic that explains processes in the rock cycle. Here is a link to some other science games or activities you can use in science classrooms!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hi, my name is Logan, and I'm addicted to the Internet

         I would like to take this opportunity to discuss my weekly technology uses. Like many Americans, I am addicted to technology... it's a sad, sad truth. Instead of going outside and enjoying the fresh air, I am often inside my apartment on Facebook or YouTube. Though I am an internet "junkie", I have to admit my knowledge about technology is very limited. This being said, my use of technology in the classroom so far has been simple.

          For example, I tried to show a movie i class on Friday. I had trouble getting the computer to work with me, and a student had to come help. It was definitely slightly embarassing... Something I have gotten used to is a nifty little device called a "document camera." It is basically an advanced version of an overhead. I use this in my earth science class. I can write down notes or answer questions on worksheets, and the camera projects what I write through a projector onto a screen.
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 In my biology classes, my cooperating teacher uses a device where he can walk around the room and write on a pad and it is shown on the screen. So futuristic! I have tried to use this advice, but so far, I'm terrible with it. Before this, it has been a while since Ive been in a class that used technology. I have gotten used to the chalkboards that prevail at Lenoir-Rhyne. I'm not saying anything is wrong with the old school way; it's worked for many years. Still, I feel like a technological revival would do L-R some good. I know the science building, where I have had the majority of my classes, has not appeared to have changed much since it's opening in 1958.
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            I plan on using PowerPoint in my future teaching. This is a simple form of technology that I know I feel comfortable with using. I would like to become more familiar with other ways to get technology into my class. Prezzies are another thing I might give students an opportunity to use, and I would be open to learning about other forms of technology from the students ( I admit they know more about it than I do). If I have a Smart Board, I would be willing to use the feature that allows students to text in an answer to a proposed question, if (and that's a big IF) I feel like I could trust them to have their phones out. We'll just have to wait and see about that! Anyway, I look forward to learning about new ways to use different techniques in my class, and updating my knowledge-base on technology!
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