Blog Post #3

Today I want to talk about some of my favorite online sources that provide me with lesson ideas, insightful pedagogy, helpful strategies, ideas for tech integration, and much more.

The 3 sites that I visit most often are Dan Meyer’s dy/dan blog, Free Technology for Teachers, and Math = Love.  I will provide some posts from each blog that I found very interesting and helpful during my student teaching this past year, and that I will continue to use as resources during my first year of teaching.

dy/dan

The most recent post that I really enjoyed was regarding welcoming newcomers to online professional development. Dan Meyers went into a lot of detail explaining that he never wants newcomers to online communities to feel as though they are not welcome or need to build a reputation before joining. He hired a freelancer to create an extension that will notify him whenever someone who is a new user on Twitter tags him or posts on any other pages. There are a number of parameters that can be set up within the extension, which can help narrow down which people you are trying to reach out to. I really enjoyed this because I felt the same way that many others felt when it came to online professional development. It was a little overwhelming to see the number of followers from some people, and I had the feeling that I wasn’t at the same level as other members of blogs and online communities. To have someone like Dan Meyer advocate for newcomers to participate more in these communities is motivation to get more involved, and I really appreciated it.

Another post that hit close to home had to do with cell phone policies. He cited that two of the most common policies for cell phones lie on either side of the spectrum: total prescription to unlimited usage. Rather than go with one of these methods, he cited another blogger’s post. Rather than having a policy specifically for cell phones, the teacher has created a “Distractions Box,” where students are to place any number of distractions as they enter the classroom. It doesn’t single out cell phones, and acknowledges that some students are capable of keeping their phones while others are not.

The last post is titled Ten New Desmos Activities, and goes into detail about how they can be used or modified. One of my favorite ones was the What’s My Transformation activity, which helps introduce students to the concept of transformations with a fun, interactive game. Another activity, Constructing Polynomials, is centered around introducing students to the idea of polynomial graphs and their behaviors. Students work with polynomial graphs by creating them piece by piece and factor by factor.

Free Technology for Teachers

FreeTech4Teach is a very helpful site for ways to implement technology not only into my lessons but into my daily routines. A post titled Good Formative Assessments that aren’t 1:1 provides some information on different apps and how they can be used in classrooms that are not 1:1. For example, Kahoot has a team mode that allows students to work together to answer questions that the teacher has created. SocrativePlickers, and Quick Key are three additional assessment tools where teachers can create their own assessments. All three of them have automated grading and make it easy for teachers to check their students’ scores.

Another post that I found helpful for staying organized was 5 Neat Things to do with Google Sheets. As a first year teacher, I need every bit of help I can find when it comes to staying organized and up to date with my responsibilities. Flubaroo is an extension that can be used to grade student assessments created on Google Forms, and will then send them their scores automatically. I already enjoy using Google Forms, so it is great to find additional resources for this App. I also plan on using Google Sheets to keep track of all my lessons, which is why Add Reminder will be a great tool. Just as it says, I can add reminders directly onto my spreadsheets that will notify me whenever I decide I need it.

The last post, which is something I wish I read at the beginning of this semester, is titled A Convenient New Way to Search for Educational Videos. The website, Class Hook, allows for you to find video clips that will support lessons that you have planned. Their is a new search engine, and the website uses YouTube to provide all of its videos.

Math = Love

This is a great blog that is run by a high school math teacher in Oklahoma, Sarah Carter. I enjoy her posts because a lot of them are relevant to my experiences and she teaches Algebra II, which I taught during student teaching. One of my favorite posts of hers was titled Trigonometry Advice from Former Students. Her idea for having her students reflect was a great way for not only students to improve their learning skills, but for her as a teacher to improve her practice. She had students write letters to her next year’s students about tips to be successful, and it worked out really well. Not only did she have some helpful advice for next year’s students, but she learned a little more about what she could do to improve her own classroom for the betterment of her students.

Her Deal Alerts post was another great source for me as a soon-to-be first year teacher. I am trying to save every penny I can, and she often posts notices about great online deals for classroom supplies. I recently bought a pack of white board erasers after seeing her post, and some coworkers of mine took advantage of the deal as well.

 

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Blog Post #4

My Biggest Takeaway from ED 358…

After 5 meetings in ED 358, the biggest takeaway for me is the idea that technology can always  be integrated into a classroom, regardless of the setting. At first, I was opposed to the idea of tech in the classroom, mainly just because it was not available at my school site. I jumped to the conclusion that the class was not relevant because not all of my students had access to iPads or Chromebooks. However, I quickly realized that 1:1 integration is in no way a requirement for implementing some form of technology into the classroom. Additionally, there are countless forms of technology that can be used to substitute for traditional classroom practices and strategies.

After being introduced to the SAMR Model, I had a better vision of the progression of technology in the classroom and the different levels at which it can be used. This Thing Link was extremely helpful for understanding the four different levels of the SAMR model, and what activities or practices might accompany each one. After familiarizing myself with this model, along with ISTE Standards and TPACK, I think a lot of progress has been made to help teachers integrate technology into their classroom when they see fit.

In addition to making an effort to implement technology into the classroom, the concept of Digital Citizenship also stuck with me. I often see how technology can be used in all the wrong ways by children and adults alike, and I appreciate that their are steps being made to train students to be Digital Citizens. Common Sense Education has a website with great information on how to train students on Digital Citizenship. As Digital Citizens, students will understand how to navigate the web in a safe manner and how to create a positive school culture that supports safe and responsible tech use. There is also a comprehensive curriculum that they have developed for K-12 students that “empowers students to to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world.”

The last takeaway I’d like to mention has to do with the different websites and apps that can be used in the classroom for assessments, instruction, and a wide variety of other activities. Websites like EdPuzzle and PearDeck allow students to contribute to a class discussion anonymously, which opens up the opportunity for certain students to participate that would not otherwise do so. Twitter and Feedly are also great platforms that enable me to collaborate with other educators and share any insights I have regarding anything having to do with tech and/or education. The Twitter Chats we had during class were a great way for me to get familiar with posting tweets as well as responding to others and sharing links. I plan to continue using the network I have created at UCI to keep in touch with my peers and continue learning from them as I become a more experienced educator.

Digital Citizenship, Fair Use, Copyright, and Creative Commons

Digital Citizenship

As technology becomes a bigger and bigger part of our everyday lives, and the lives of our students, it is crucial that teachers begin to address the idea of Digital Citizenship. There is a huge list of advantages that the digital world provides, but there are also a number of disadvantages that come with it, including things like cyber-bullying, copyright issues, online privacy, theft, and more. As such, we need to begin integrating some curriculum that deals with digital citizenship, so we can guide our students through the digital world. As mentioned on the ISTE website, the characteristics of a digital citizen are not so different from those of a traditional citizen, which makes this task a little less overwhelming. In fact, the ISTE website provides an amazing graphic that shows the parallels between a traditional and digital citizen:

 

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There are different philosophies on how Digital Citizenship should be developed as a curriculum, but there is no one right way. Some stress that Digital Citizenship should be taught as a separate curriculum from other content areas, such as in a Health class or tutorial block. Others believe that it should be weaved into the overall curriculum of all content areas.

Regardless, students need to develop a sense of respect and protection to their online identity. Their digital footprints are very real, and can affect future academic and work prospects. Salima Hudani, a guest blogger on Free Technology for Teachers, the digital citizenship curriculum should focus on three key components:

  • Respect and Protect Yourself
    • Digital Wellness
  • Respect and Protect Others
    • Digital Interactions
  • Respect and Protect Intellectual Property
    • Digital Preparedness

Just as with the infographic above, all of these components have very distinct parallels in the traditional world of good citizens. By educating students on how to be a respectful member of the digital world, not only will it create a safe space for people to collaborate, but they will benefit their own future prospects and bolster their digital footprint.

Fair Use, Copyright, & Creative Commons

Even before the digital world came about, copyright issues were still around. But now that everything is so easily accessible, fair use and copyright concerns are extremely prevalent, especially within education.

It is imperative that students are aware that not everything on the internet is true, nor is it theirs to take without giving credit to those who deserve it. The Edublogger has a great post on fair use and copyright issues, which stresses the idea that not everything on the internet is true, but there certainly are resources you can use.

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Copyright is important to protect the property of others, but according to the blog, it can also “stifle creativity and hamper educational goals.” By understanding how to give credit where credit is due, students can take advantage of the plethora of resources that are online. Most resources can be used as long as they are tied to the curriculum, but there are still violations that can occur (especially with images, curriculum docs, and music).

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All of this led to the creation of Creative Commons, a platform that helps people around the world share their knowledge to “build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world. The staff at Creative Commons provides a service where creators of content can give the public permission to use their work under the conditions of their choice. Through legal, technological, educational, and other types of support, Creative Commons is bringing educators and many other professions together to create a collaborative environment.

Not only does the site show how you can share your work, it also gives tips on how to give attribution to others’ work. This allows for a more open environment, especially within education, where content is accessible to anyone who needs it. Creative Commons has a great video that talks about Open Education and fighting the insane costs that accompany a lot of important resources. We can fix the issues of school debt and education expenses by putting top notch learning materials that are constantly revised and cost little to nothing for students.

 

The SAMR Model: An Intro

As someone who likes to believe they are technologically adept, I am still barely scratching the surface of its impact on education. Growing up, I remember when the first computers started getting brought in to my high school library, and how big of a deal it was. Nowadays, students all have computers that are ten times as fast, and fit in their pockets…

The SAMR Model is designed to allow educators to incorporate technology into the classroom. The goal is to infuse technology into lessons in order to provide scaffolds, or to provide more opportunities for academic achievement. SAMR stands for: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefintion.

As shown above through a sketch by Sylvia Duckworth (@sylviaduckworth), the model follows a progression that teachers will follow as they begin to incorporate technology into teaching and student learning. I am still familiarizing myself with the model, and cannot be 100% certain whether a method will fall under one category or another. However, the important thing to understand is that as you move through each level, technology becomes more interwoven in education, and starts to become the foundation for new activities that were never before possible.

This ThingLink provides a bunch of great information on what each level entails, including words associated with that level and activities one can use. Candace M also made a short video that breaks down the different levels of the SAMR model.

Substitution: Substitution is the first stage, where new tech replaces old tech. An example could be students printing out a worksheet, filling it, and turning it in.

Augmentation: Augmentation involves the same task, but the technology being used increases its functionality. This could be something like students taking a quiz on Google Forms rather than with pen and paper.

Modification: Modification allows educators to completely redesign certain parts of a common classroom task through technology. An example might be students writing an essay about the theme of a novel, and then creating an animated video to summarize their paper. Then, a link could be made available to an audience, including others students and parents.

Redefinition: Just as it sounds, this is where educators are able to create new tasks that were not possible without technology. An example would be students (potentially on the other side of the world) collaborating on a video presentation through an online platform.

As I grow more comfortable with technology and its place in the classroom, I hope to start redesigning tasks that I would never have thought of before entering into this field. Without sounding too cliche, it is definitely the way of the future, and I fully accept technology’s growing role in education.

1st Blog Post: Getting to Know Me

Hi there!

Since this is my first blog post ever, I’m not exactly sure if I am doing this right. So, bear with me…

As of right now, I am a Student Teacher in Southern California, attending UC Irvine to get my Credential and Masters in the Art of Teaching. I will be graduating in June, and starting my first job this August!

I was born and raised in SoCal, but went to college for my BS in Business Finance at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. After a few years of working in sales and finance, I wasn’t getting what I wanted out of life, so I decided to change things up a bit. That led me to applying to UC Irvine for the MAT program, which I am almost finished with. Time flies!

I’ve always loved math and found that it came easy to me, so I can think of no better way to give back than to show others how NOT scary math can be! There is still a lot to learn, but I have high hopes for the future, and look forward to developing as an educator.

This blog will serve as a way for me to share my ideas and experiences with others, while also tracking my development in my first year of teaching and beyond.

Here’s to many more blog posts and amazing experiences to come!

 

-RP