Friday, June 21, 2013

Looking back...

This semester has been one of tremendous growth for me.  I came into EDU 701 feeling clueless and behind the times with technology.  Now that I have completed the course, I can say that I feel proud of my technology prowess.  In beginning this blog, I have taken a step toward being in a classroom and keeping a blog for my class.  I have blogged about what I've learned, and as a result, I have a way of ensuring I remember it all!  This place will always be here to reference.

My first "content" post on 21st century skills, NETS, and Tpack, I wrote an eternity ago; or though it seems.  Really that was just last month.  As I wrote the post, I remember having to switch screens often to read about what I was writing about- now I know that information like the back of my hand.  What a difference a month of practice and integration can make.  NETS has surfaced in both our class IWB lesson projects and the Flat Classroom project. Knowing how to put into action these ideas and guidelines has helped me understand how I will design my classroom and lessons. and Feedly were other topics I chose to write about.  While I'm not sure that either of those will carry over into my future classroom, I know that Feedly has been great for personal use!  It's nice to sign in and get a stream of both fun reads and heavier material in one place.

I posted about infographics and Edudemic a few weeks ago, and since then, I have used Edudemic to find infographics for school projects and for my portfolio website.  As a resource, it is among the best I've come across.  Infographics are such a cool way to present information.  My knowledge of the Web 2.0 tools out there used to design these clever little posters has grown tremendously since the beginning of the semester.  I went from not even recognizing the term to making several of my own.  I think infographics will play a role in my classroom, whether to organize thoughts to post around the room or for students to present their own work to me.    

My favorite part of the semester was the Flipped Classroom presentation.  That was also the blog post I most enjoyed writing.  What a fantastic way to teach.  Katie Gimbar's delivery of the information may be what sold me.  She was so enthusiastic and seemed genuinely happy in her classroom- something I certainly hope for!  It is my plan to teach kindergarten or first grade so I'm interested to see if integrating some flipped ideas into that environment could work.

I hope that this blog has been fun for others to read.  I have had a good time writing it and funneling all of my new knowledge into something of my own creation.  Power Tools for Educators delivered.  I feel quite comfortable with all of the technology resources covered in the course and I can actually see myself using them, which is a feeling that puts me at ease when I think of being a teacher!  All of my coursework at Meredith has been valuable, but this course has been the most helpful in actual lesson and project ideas for my classroom (maybe a flipped classroom!).

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Feedly- Update

My Google news. Delivered.  Feedly is the tool I've used this semester to compile online news sources of my choosing.  For the purposes of my technology course, I have used Feedly to follow several education blogs.  I touched on Feedly a couple of weeks ago but wanted to reiterate how  useful it has been.  It has made life easier.  When I come across a website or blog that I want to remember and reference, I add it to my "Feedly feed" and I see updates from that site every time I sign in to Feedly. Ms. Cassidy's Classroom Blog is a site I follow that I most enjoy looking at.  Her students have blogs that can be viewed from her page.  Very cool!  I've also discovered a few new sites as a result of Feedly.  The "you might also like.." suggestions provided by Feedly have proven to be resources I'm glad to have come across.  Before using Feedly, I always bookmarked sites under the "favorites" tab on my computer.  That quickly became overwhelming and difficult to sift through.  I have found Feedly to be streamlined and easy to navigate.  I've even added a few lifestyle and interior design blogs to my list.  I figure I may as well use it to organize everything I like to browse!  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Flipped Classroom

Katie Gimbar spoke to our class last night on creating a flipped classroom.   I was captivated.  At first I didn't really understand the concept behind the flipped classroom, but the more she talked the more I liked the idea.  Flipping a classroom involves the teacher recording content videos for students to watch at home and allowing in-class time for questions and practice work.  The idea is that with the content being delivered at home, students can work at their own pace and the teacher can spend more time working with students as opposed to lecturing.  Ms. Gimbar explained that her students' test scores have shot through the roof since flipping her classroom 3 years ago and her stress level has decreased significantly in that time as well.  Much of the hustle-bustle surrounding pacing guides is alleviated when the videos are pre-recorded and ready to go.  As someone who is already anxious about the struggles of keeping up with the paperwork involved in teaching, a flipped classroom sounds very appealing.  Not only can the teacher be free to walk around and interact with students more, but the students have free reign of their learning process and can revisit the videos as often as needed.   Here is an article and few links on flipping a classroom at the elementary level.  Such a cool  concept

Image: Edudemic

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Infographics & EduDemic

Creating an infographic (or even knowing the term used for those cool graphics) was something I had never done prior to our class project.  I enjoyed the process and playing with the different tools and websites out there aimed at creating eye catching presentations.  I ended up using infogram and it was an easy, streamlined way to make an infographic.  In perusing the internet for ways to use infographics in the classroom, I came across a website that has gathered together a multitude of great looking infographics based on the topic, information, and overall worth.  The infographic page is just one of the rich resources offered through the website EduDemic. The tagline of the website is "education technology tips for students and teachers".  I was astounded by the articles, ideas, and straightforward information I found just browsing EduDemic for a few minutes. Discovering a new resource is always exciting- this site is at the top of my list.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I just started using Feedly to keep track of several blogs that I've come across that give me ideas and inspiration for my future classroom- and the pathway there.  Scholastic has a list of "Top 20 Teacher Blogs" which is where I got the few that I've started to follow.  There is a blog for student teachers and a forward thinking tech blog, both of which are my favorites so far.  I plan to add more to my feed, but I want to make sure they are blogs that will be useful to me and not, for instance, ideas for high school teachers.  There are so many out there.  Slowly but surely, I think I'll start to build a great base of blogs that provide me with lots of insight!  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Week 2- It's Starting to Click

Summer school is in full swing and I'm finally feeling like I've got a bit of a handle on all of the new technologies available to teachers. is a site that allows users to post videos or voice-overs.  Last week our class did an activity with the site and everyone answered a few questions.  It was a little bizarre to hear my voice play back as I answered, but also pretty neat.  Once a thread is started, users can listen to the responses of everyone else on the thread, played in one sequence.  The end result was close to an hour of conversation between classmates.  I can definitely see myself using this technology in my future classroom.  I'm not sure that it is something an elementary teacher could assign as homework being that some students will not have access to internet at home.  However, as a tool in the classroom or as part of a lesson, I think it would work well.  Students with writing disabilities would certainly benefit from such a way of learning.  It is a free site, although users must be age 13 or over to create an account.  This road block may be alleviated by sending a permission slip home to parents.  That's a subject we are still discussing and working through in the MAT program.  Overall, I think VoiceThread is a great tool and I am delighted to discover it for classroom use as well as for communication between far-away friends! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lots To Learn- 21st century skills, NETS-S, NETS-T, and TPACK

As I enter my third semester in the MAT program at Meredith, I am realizing that I have a long way to go before I feel confident in my skills as a classroom teacher, particularly when it comes to using technology in the classroom.  Most of the terminology and ideas are new to me.  Here, I will attempt to explain what I am learning- to both myself, and my audience!  21st century learning is a whole new world.  The old ways of learning (writing a sentence 100 times on a chalkboard) are becoming obsolete, and iPads and chat room collaborations are building a significant presence in the classroom.  The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is an organization that champions 21st century readiness for all students.  "P21" provides resources to help teachers stay up to date with technology by blending together the 3R's and 4C's (Critical thinking and problem solving, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity and innovation). The framework P21 advocates a comprehensive view of teaching in the 21st century and learning in today's world.  

Image: P21 Mile Guide

While P21 leads the charge for 21st century learning, there are many ideas that campaign for the cause. TPACK is an organized way to identify the knowledge and expertise teachers need to teach with technology and to be effective in their teaching.  Content knowledge, Pedagogy knowledge, and technology knowledge are the componenets that make up the TPACK framework.  To fully understand TPACK, a teacher must also recognize the information that lies between the three knowledge bases. 

NETS-T and NETS-S are still more terms we have looked at in class, although I'm still working on getting a firm grip on all of the acronyms!  These are the standards for evaluating the skills and knowledge needed to teach, and learn, effectively.  The website states, "Simply being able to use technology is no longer enough."  How true a statement that is.  In the world we live in, students must be able to use technology capably, and teachers must be able to teach technology with complete knowledge of the trends themselves.  That's all for today.  I'm off to class tonight- stay tuned for the next round of new-to-me technology concepts in education!