Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tool #11

1. I think the most useful, and therefore my favorite tools are Google Docs and the use of iPads.  I have already been using these tools for sometime and love that others are seeing their potential now.

2. I'm torn on this issue.  While I do recognize value in increasing technology in the classroom to better engage learners, streamline daily activities, decrease environmental impact by eliminating some of the paper assignments, all while keeping up with the "times," I also know that many students would benefit more from having smaller class sizes and more bodies in the classroom for a more one-on-one learning environment.  This is especially true for my academic students, many of whom do not have full access to some of these tools outside of school.  I will be incorporating many of these things into my classroom, but as with any major changes, we will have to start with baby steps.

3. There weren't any unexpected outcomes since I am already using many of these tools and had already completed 23 Things and 11.5 Things in previous years.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tool #10

1. I want my students to know about digital communication and how to make appropriate choices when communicating with others in the digital world.  I also want them to know about digital security and how to protect their computers and themselves against viruses & surges.  I believe it important to teach digital etiquette since people tend to feel braver and say things they wouldn't to someone's face when they are hidden in the virtual world.
2. I can see myself using NetsSmartz videos to introduce internet safety to my students.  Based on what I saw, these videos would put some reality to the horror stories you hear about and students will probably relate better if it comes from someone their own age and not a nagging mom or teacher!
3. I would probably use some of these same videos to teach digital citizenship.
4. I think I would consider sharing this information on digital citizenship with my students' parents through a letter sent home and maybe a link on my website.

Tool #9

It is important to tie technology to the objective for several reasons: First, the use of technology must be relevant and congruent to the objective and not just there for the sake of using technology.  If there isn't value to using technology in a lesson, don't use it!  Secondly, when it IS appropriate for the lesson, technology makes the lesson more engaging and enhances the learning.

Stations are a great way to incorporate technology into a lesson, but students must know that they will be held accountable.  How many times have we given students the opportunity to use a computer or phone for research or some other virtual activity only to find them on Facebook (for social reasons) or texting?  Students need a clear picture of what will be expected of them and what will be acceptable use and non-acceptable use.  It is also helpful for them to have something that must be produced to hold them accountable, i.e. analysis questions, etc that can be shared via Google Docs with the teacher.

This year, I stumbled upon a Natural Selection Game that tied in perfectly to an adaptation lab activity my Biology classes do.  The kids ATE.IT.UP!  I had to share it with my co-workers and they have also reported that their kids {LOVE} it!  So this online game could be part of a station and the Tiger Stripes adaptation activity could be how we hold them accountable.  Science NetLinks is also an amazing site chock full of animations, interactive websites, and activities that would lend themselves perfectly to station creation.  I was also fond of Thinkfinity, which is a lot like Science NetLinks - great games & tools to enhance learning and engage the learner.  I saw virtual dissections, interactive human body stuff - just perfect for Bio!

There are lots of cool apps that I explored also.  I like the Cell & Cell Structure app.  This app would be a great intro or review into cell structure!  The animations and pictures are so cool!  It's a bit pricey at $2.99, so if you are putting it and others on all your iPads it will add up, but maybe we can figure out some departmental or technology funding to help ease the cost. The app is neat too - I have used TED-talks before in my classes.  Students could view a talk on a current topic and then right a reflection blog or Edmodo conversation debating/discussing it.

I plan on using my iPads & Netbooks for data collection, having students create video tutorials, making timelines, doing research, creating presentations.  Endless possibilities.  So excited!


Tool #8

1. I learned that Net books are basically just smaller, handier laptops.  I learned how to take photos and videos on Net books.  The benefit of this over the iPad 2 is that it has a projector port, so students could just plug right in and present different information to the class.  I also learned that students will no be able to use them if they & their parents have not signed the usage form at the beginning of the year.  I have an iPad so most of the info I learned was familiar to me.  All teachers have to have separate iTunes accounts from their own personal account.  The creation of podcasts, using FaceTime and countless other apps is really going to enhance & engage learning in the classroom.  I {LOVE} that the kids iPads will be synchronized to my laptop so that I can monitor what they are doing to ensure they are on-task.

2. I plan on setting ground rules & expectations for use of the Net books & iPads. We will discuss the synchronization and make them aware that I will be monitoring what sites they are visiting and making sure they are on-task.  I also plan on implementing one lab group per week that will be in charge of making sure the iPads and Net books are returned/stored in the proper manner.  

Tool #7

Content Objective: Students will analyze data from fruit fly crosses of red and sepia eyes collected by Biology students.

When implemented: Students will be introduced to this project at the conclusion of our genetics unit as a form of independent practice of the skills they have been taught.  This will illustrate how predicted outcomes of genetic crosses using punnett squares model real life data.

Tools used:  Edmodo to communicate info between myself and the students, as well as peer-peer communication.  Could also use this to find other classrooms across the world that would like to share data - maybe couple with Skype???; Google Docs for data collection spreadsheets & creating presentations.

Description: Students will set up a cross between first generation flies that have red eyes to determine second generation outcomes.  This will give them the information necessary to determine the genotype of each generation.  Students will use Google Docs to record data into spreadsheets that can be shared with me, each other, and other classes both in our school and outside of it.  Presentations of the findings can be made in Google Docs as well.

Tool #6

1. I used Voice Thread.  Here's how I used it:  
 It's very easy to embed, but would be better to just link to it, so students can see the full document.

I of course, already have a Google Docs and mentioned in Tool #4 how I have used it & plan to continue using it.

Tool #5

BigHugeLabs Mosaic Maker could easily be used in the classroom.  I envision using it for a classification assignment or maybe even to create hands-on activities.  Students could use it for projects on genetic disorders, bacteria & viruses, etc.  

Wordle has lots of personal uses, but could also be easily adapted for the classroom.  Kids could use this for vocabulary terms or to review for a final.  It would be fun to put all of the vocab terms learned together at the end of the year to show kids just how much they have learned - they'd probably be amazed!