Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Journal #9: First graders with iPads?

Getting, S., & Swainey, K. (2012). First graders with ipads?. Learning & leading with technology, 40(1), 24-27. Retrieved from www.iste.org/Store/Product.aspx?ID=2515

Summary: This article talked about how two teachers from Minnesota decided to give their first-graders iPads with hopes to improve student reading and improve their digital skills. The students were grouped based on their ability. The iPads served a number of purposes. For instance, students would record themselves reading a story, then would swap their iPad with a fellow classmate so they could listen along. There were also different apps that were used to improve reading and vocabulary, such as Sight Words, Talking Tom, and Glow Draw. However, using the iPads did cause a few problems in the classroom. These problems included, but were not limited to, cost, noisy apps, and time constraints. However, in the end, these teachers concluded that iPads truly make a positive difference in student learning.

Question 1: Would I use the iPad in my classroom?

I would only use the iPad in my classroom for grades 3 and above. Although I think iPads can benefit students of all ages, I think it is too risky to introduce such young children to this type of technology. Children who are this young are more prone to damaging the iPad. Furthermore, I feel like younger children would see the iPad as more of a toy rather than a learning device.

Question 2: How would I go about using the iPad in my classroom?

I would find useful apps for every subject and download them onto the iPads. These apps would not be meant to teach a full lesson, but to supplement one. They would most likely be used after a lesson was already taught. For instance, if I taught a vocabulary lesson, I could have my students go on freerice.com to test their vocabulary range. I could also use tools like Google Earth or Cosmographia to provide more in depth information with what I am teaching about.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Journal #8: Adaptive Technology

Augmentative and alternative communication is a type of communication device that those with disabilities/speech impairments use to communicate. After searching on Diigo, I found a low-tech AAC device called "talk time cards." Each card has a spot to slot a picture into, as well as a device to record on. "Talk time cards" can be used just like regular flashcards, only they have a recorded voice/sound that will assist the student in their learning needs. Teachers can work with their students individually or in small groups while using these flashcards. One way teachers can utilize this in the classroom is by showing the student the card and only using the recording as a hint if they get stuck. 

A high-tech AAC device I found was called "Allora." "Allora" looks like a miniature hand-held computer. To use this device, you type your message into the system, which is then read aloud by an automated voice. "Allora" also has a word-prediction feature that is used to predict the next word in a sentence.This tool can be very useful to use in the classroom, especially for students who cannot speak. It provides them with a voice, which opens up so many educational opportunities. For instance, it gives them the opportunity to participate in class discussions. It also lets them express their knowledge in such a way that was limited/nonexistent in the past.

Input devices for people with special needs are devices that help physically or mentally handicapped people use the computer or a computer-related device. An example of a software input device is an on-screen keyboard, which is essentially a virtual keyboard. This can be very useful to use in the class with students who have limited mobility and may not be able to use a keyboard. It may also as an alternative keyboard to increase the speed at which a student types. 

                                                                            An example of a hardware input device is the TetraMouse TM05. This is a device that has dual joysticks that can be manipulated by the mouth or tongue. The TetraMouse can be used as an alternative to the traditional mouse in the classroom. It can be used for students who have little to no hand and/or head movement. The TetraMouse gives students a way to use a computer, even when their bodies may not be physically able to do so.

 Follow my other classmates blogs about AAC advices!
Mike I.
Melanie H.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Journal #7: Personal Learning Network

A personal learning network (PLN) is a compiled network of people or digital resources that you interact with to gain and/or share knowledge. PLN's can range from family to teachers to Internet, with the most common being Internet. Examples of my PLN's include, but are not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, PLN, School 2.0, and Diigo. As seen in these websites, PLN's have sections where you can write your own statuses, share links, comment on someone's page, and engage in instant messaging. These features will be very helpful to me as an educator; not only will they let me investigate and discover educational resources, they will also allow me to receive feedback on any educational ideas of my own. Furthermore, I find that they are great resources to get advice from when I feel like I need it

Although I do not use Twitter very often, I find that it will be a great tool when I enter the credential program and start my student teaching. I will be able to get support and advice from those I am currently following (my classmates and professor), as they will be going through the same credential program as me. Furthermore, I find that Twitter is a great way to start networking and making connections. In fact, I have recently started following Arne Duncan (US Secretary of Education), John T. Spencer (author of Journal 6 article), Discovery Education, US Department of Education, and Emil Ahangarzadeh (follower of Professor Heil). Each one of these people/groups are good to follow because they have already established themselves in the educational arena and are experts of the field. Furthermore, it will be great to hear different perspectives on education, especially when they are coming from those who are so well qualified.

On Weds, August 1st at 5 pm, I participated in the New Teacher Chat, and thought it was pretty cool. There were many different people participating, and tweets just kept coming and coming! The facilitator a few questions based on the topic of "designing your own classrooms." I did not participate in these questions because I was more interested in reading what others had to say. The responses came so quickly; it was pretty exciting reading everyone's responses! Everyone had such insightful answers. 

Diigo is a great networking resource, especially for education. By using Diigo, I am able to tag articles and resources that I find relevant to my life. However, I find that the greatest benefit of Diigo is being able to follow others. Following others lets me learn about different resources that I may have not been previously aware of; it lets me expand my knowledge, especially in the field of education. In fact, I am currently following Professor Heil and a few of his followers: Susan Glassett, Domenica Pearl, Joel Garcia, Steve Dembo, Tim Heck, and Tom Whitby. The reason I chose these people is because I am still new to the field and people of education; I do not have many connections, so I figured that the people my professor follows are probably pretty well established in their field. Furthermore, several of these people are professors or teachers or principles. Following people who work in the same field that I want to go into can be a great way for me to gain access to resources that I can probably use myself. Using Diigo, I tagged the following under the heading "PLN": School 2.0, The Educator's PLN, The Innovative Educator: 5 Things You Can Do to Begin Developing Your Personal Learning Network, and Creating a Personal Learning Network With Web 2.0 Tools, Everything ESL: The K-12 ESL Resource, Art Education 2.0: Using New Technology in Art Classrooms, and The Ultimate Guide to Using iPads in the Classroom. The first few were tagged as PLN because they are about how to use and build your PLN. These are all resources to help me expand and develop my PLN in the future. The next few tags were tagged as PLN because they are articles I found very interesting. Each one talks about a fairly controversial subject. In my opinion, it is always good to hear different perspectives, especially before I decide to develop my own opinion on the controversy.

I joined "The Educator's PLN" and watched "A Vision of K-12 Students Today". This short film featured children of all different ages. None of them spoke a word, but they each held up a sign with a message they wanted to say. The video was about how most teachers do not incorporate technology into learning, and yet students spend so much time a week on the computer, iPad, iPod, cell phone, internet, etc. Further into the video, it talked about how teachers need to use technology in the classroom because most students can relate to technology and feel relatively comfortable with it. In my opinion, this video is spot-on. Students nowadays are interested in different things then they were 5, 10, or 20 years ago; they are interested in technology. In my opinion, the best way for a teacher to effectively reach out to her students is by incorporating students' interests and familiarities into the classroom. Students who are having fun learning are more engaged in the material and will grasp the concepts better.