Investment in Teachers and Equality for all Students

I thoroughly enjoyed the article, How can we bring teachers along for the ride. Karen Cator mentioned the importance of providing teachers technological resources and tools to enhance student learning.  I highly agree with this comment because teachers have been trained in many aspects of their career but technology is constantly changing.  Teachers should be trained to keep up with the change. Technology provides students with real world scenarios that requires them to apply and improve critical thinking skills.  But as beneficial as this looks on text it can’t be implemented if the teacher is not knowledgeable in this area.  So how can schools improve this?  Administrators can schedule a session in the afternoon or the weekend for teachers to attend to gain skills in technology.  In this session they will be introduced and taught how to use effective applications in the classroom.

Karen Cator included a crucial point in the article, which is to ensure equality throughout the school districts.  How can we define which group of students are more important based on their parent’s financial income? We should be more focused on providing all students the same education and opportunities.  Teachers from various school districts can engage students with each other and have them learn through diversity.

In conclusion, in order to incorporate technology effectively in the classrooms teachers must be trained.  Why have a Smart Board in the classroom if teachers only use it as a projector? I love this quote from Steve Jobs:

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Let’s do wonderful things.

-Amy Villegas-

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Article: Free Computers Don’t Close The Rich-Poor Education Gap

I enjoyed this article very much because I don’t believe that low income students are hindered for the sole reason of not having a computer at home. If I found this to be the issue in my class I would look for organizations that donate old devices. But then the other issue arises, which is what if the family does not have internet access at home? The best strategy to use is to think about the purpose of the assignment and the use of the computer. For example, are we using it as a resource to locate information? If so, we could print that information out and hand it out to the students or just go to the library.  Schools often have a computer in the classroom or a computer lab the teacher can schedule for. If this is an option, provide the students with website to minimize the amount of time wasted on searching.

If donations are possible then create a mini computer lab in the classroom. Often schools have financial issues where they are unable to obtain computers for each classroom.  Another suggestion if there is a project that requires the computer such as creating a flipped classroom then make sure to create groups so all the students can share a computer versus each student requiring a machine. If students need to create powerpoint slides, have them brainstorm what they would place on each slide so they go into the application with a plan.

Another suggestion is create a flipped classroom but for use in the classroom, just project the video on the SmartBoard so students can experience the lesson in a different way. This is a great way to use technology but also creating differentiation. The teacher can hand out worksheets specific to certain goals the student needs to work on.

In conclusion there are ways to implement technology in a school that has limitations. We just need to get a little creative. I always have to remember that grandma and grandpa went to school without computers and they very educated. If they can learn without internet than so can others.

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Digital Learning 24/7

I found the article on Digital Learning to be very insightful because the students had a voice where they expressed their opinion on technology.  The students provided great information that can help school districts determine what tools are necessary when implementing technology.  I am not shocked that students assigned devices believe that all students should have access.  What I found shocking was that parents agreed.  I guess I assumed parents would disagree to the assigned devices because of potential dangers such as cyber bullying or explicit content.  I am, however, relieved because as I move forward in my career I expect technology to become much more prevalent in the student’s education.

The results don’t lie.  Based on the report, one quarter of middle and high school students were taught in a blended environment and approve of this learning style.  As I try to find my inner teen, I believe that I would have been much more engaged in this environment rather than the lengthy (and boring) sessions. This report also shows that teachers are adjusting to technology and relishing in the results. Technology has allowed students to take responsibility for their future. Schools are providing online courses to include advance curriculums. What I found interesting was the question posed to the students which was, “What classes would you take online?” One of the answers were, all of them, yet, only 16% to 19% chose this option.  This leads me to believe that students are aware of the benefits of classroom teaching.

In conclusion, today’s students have a firm grasp of what they need to improve in their academics.  They have voiced their opinion and now it is up to us, teachers and administrators, to develop their mind with all the tools and resources that technology is capable of.

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Ted Talks: Education is Broken

Chris Lehman discussed a common statement across High School students which is, “Why do I need to know this information?” I must say myself, that I have not used a box and whisker plot since learning about it from school.  He goes on to explain that High School has become repetitive and teachers are only teaching what they are told to teach. Students are attending classes but are not remembering the information.  In my opinion the environment he portrays does not sound very motivating. Soon the tempo in the conversation changes – he states that we must do better. For example, the question students always bring up should have been answered with enthusiasm and hope.  He used physics as an example and stated the teacher should have said,”Physics is the language of motion”. I have to agree that it would be very beneficial if students were explained why they need to know the information and how it relates to the real world. This provides the students an example to tie the information to.

I also agree with his statement about teaching students to be great citizens which includes ethics and moral values. If a student is taught respect then he will listen to the teacher and try his best on his work. I believe it is important to make learning fun. I thought having benchmark projects was a great idea and it brings out their creativity.

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Flipped Classroom Post – American Leaders

I chose first grade, history, standards of learning 1.2. I searched 1.2 in the curriculum framework to obtain the essential information that must be taught. After that I searched for a creative presentation tool and found Emaze.com. The basic functions are free and you only need to create an account.

Once logged in the system I found it very easy to maneuver around the site. You just pick the background and add information to the slides.  I love how you can move objects around or copy from another slide.

I used QuickTime Player to record my screen. All you need to do is click on file and “New Screen Recording”.  I had issues recording sound but to resolve that just click on the drop down arrow next to the record button and choose “Built-in Microphone”. Next click on the record button. It will prompt you to highlight the portion of the screen that you want recorded. Once you are done recording, click on the stop button in the menu bar near the volume and internet signal icons. It’s quite easy.

I enjoyed this process very much. I can definitely see myself using this for my lesson plans.

Check out my lesson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3axkQA2irkM&feature=youtu.be

 

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To Podcast or not to Podcast? That is the question.

This week we learned about podcasts. On Bam! Radio, there are many categories to choose from to help and guide teachers in their classrooms. I chose to listen to Four Must-Know Tips for Giving Effective Feedback to Students. I quickly noticed that it was a group discussion about the topic and suggestions on how to provide effective feedback. A suggestion I learned was to provide feedback during the learning process where the student has the option to edit or correct the task at hand. Feedback should always be positive and specific so the student understands what the feedback is in relation to. The great thing about effective feedback is that it provides students the motivation to learn.

As a student and future teacher, I can obtain a wealth of knowledge for free and at anytime of the day when listening to a podcast. What I enjoyed most about the it was that I can easily pause and return to the audio. I can understand why this tool can be effective in classrooms today. I love the concept of flipped classrooms and creating a podcast for students to listen to before entering the classroom. This reduces the time required for lectures and concentrates more on the comprehension and hands on activities. I can even use it as an introduction to the lesson the next day by linking past lessons to the new lesson.

I find myself brainstorming ways to use a podcast for children in K-2nd grade. I could imagine that a podcast for parents with updates, resources or suggestions on assignments would also benefit them. Another idea for podcasts is for students to retell a story then share and listen with their parents at home. Honestly, there are so many activities that can be used in conjunction with podcasts. I can definitely see myself using this tool in the classroom.

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Infographic Image Post

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I love Pictochart! Very user friendly and eye catching.

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