Tutorial for Online Teaching Tool-Word press webpage

I’ve created a tutorial that is very short, but shows you the basics of creating a webpage that can be used to enhance teaching and learning with your students.  I currently use “Word press” to host my class webpage.  I like using Word press with my students because it has a “quick press” feature that takes literally seconds to update.  I don’t always have time to type out each thing that we’ve done, but if I quickly want to get a message out to my high schoolers it is available.

When I email the parents of the students in my class, I often times will paste the link to my webpage so that they can see what is going on in the course.  The Word press is handy because it is free and it is user friendly for me as well as my students.

Click here to view the tutorial that I’ve created using “Jing”.

A little about using “Jing”:  it was nice, it was easy to use, free, created a high quality video with audio.  I think that I would use Jing again because I like being able to create tutorials for my students using my computer screen.  It linked to screencast.com which is a product which I have already created a log in for.  I would use Jing as a way to create a resource for lecture or problem solving of chemistry content when my students need to review or when they are absent.

Jing was limited to 5 minutes (so I had to create my tutorial about six times), which may be attractive to my students.  It was easy to work with.  In the future I will need to see what program my students prefer, maybe one is more accessible on their phones.  I will continue to create problem and lecture videos using Jing and screencast.

 

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Using Screencast-O-Matic

Using Screencast-O-Matic

During the last couple of days I’ve been doing readings for this weeks Technology lesson which focuses on Integrating Technology into the classroom effectively.  I’ve been reflecting on Weeks 1-4 and not really looking forward to using Screen cast.  (I’d looked at it early in the week and decided it looked to difficult and time consuming.)  I couldn’t really get the Prezi to do what I wanted, it also didn’t seem as smooth as when I first used it.  I contemplated submitting my Prezi without the Screen cast.

 I ended up using the screen cast and I’m happy that I did!  It was really quite easy and although it wasn’t as smooth as I’d like, I know that if I used it a little more it would be a great tool for my students!!!!  I have my PowerPoint presentations already created and the learning objectives are embedded, so I will be using Screen Cast in the near future to create something that my students can assess outside of class time.

Many students are assigned to ARC or Academic Resource Class, the teacher there is not a science person.  This will help my students use their time effectively!  I’m glad that I did this assignment.  I actually was dreading putting it all together, I’m glad I did it.

Web 2.0 and Mobile Learning

Web 2.0 is the next generation web experience in which people can be more creative and use tools to create their own resources and share with others in an unlimited amount.  According to Shelly et al., (2012), visitors to a dyamic Web page can customize some or all of their viewed content,  industry experts would call this “Web 2.0” (p. 68).  Web 2.0 includes presentation tools such as prezi, slideshare, 280 slides.  The video tools available to teachers and students are Animoto, gizmoz (to make animations), Photo Peach (to create built in polls and quizzes).  Mobile tools that are available as parts of Web 2.0 are: Poll Everywhere and DropIO.  Community tools are also available as part of this new technology, these include applications such as Edmodo, google docs, wiki spaces and Ning (to create your own social network)   (Discovery Education, 2013).

Defining Web 2.0 is difficult because what is available is constantly evolving.  The main point is that Web 2.0 is much more interactive than the web of a couple of years ago.  The original World Wide Web was more of a collection of static sites, where as now the web is much more user created, especially due to the explosive growth of social networking sites.  “Web 2.0 is creating a new set of tools to empower educators, consumers and businesses”, (Shelly et al., 2012, p. 93).

According to the New Media Consortium, (NMC), (2011) mobile devices such as smart phones with their “always-on” Internet are an ideal store of reference materials, learning experiences, observation tool and more.  The mobiles are less expensive than laptops and require fewer infrastructures to support.  New features are being added continuously, which support learning in all subjects.  NMC states that in the coming months the vast potential of these mobile devices will begin to outweigh concerns about misuse that currently dominate most conversations about their use in school settings.  The tool itself has changed education, as we know it.  Teachers and students alike can dig deeper into target objectives than ever before.  The limitations for learning new material, which used to be the textbook and the teacher’s knowledge, have been removed.

The use of technologies in the classroom will continue to increase; the devices can be powerful learning tools.  “The presence of the Internet in students’ lives outside of school, and especially on mobile devices, is allowing for more online and blended learning models in classrooms. That trend is supported by an increasing tolerance and even excitement among teachers for mobile devices as learning tools.“  (Schwartz, 2013)

The Challenges to integrate Web 2.0 and mobile technologies are complicated.  The first challenge with integrating this 2.0 and mobile devices is the teachers, how can a school district provide enough professional development to keep up with the evolution of applications available to students?  If you have an elementary teacher, they are already teaching several different subjects at the same time and are also likely differentiating for the different levels of students.   How can teachers be expected to take on the task of incorporating new technology into their daily lessons alone? How can large districts provide time and training for true effective implementation?  Surely, being able to lead students in the use of new technology will take more PD than an hour or so once a quarter.  Money is also a challenge, some mobile devices as mentioned above will actually save a district money in the long run, but the upfront investment in the devices may be more than some districts can handle healthily.  Finally, as the demand for technology increases, the evolution and availability to students and teachers may not be enough to support needs.

Because mobile technologies are such an important part of many people’s lives I do agree that more and more apps will be developed for learning and education.  Companies will continue to develop programs to support learning and feed the hunger that people have instinctively for learning.  I believe that mobile learning will continue to supplement good teaching and will provide motivation for students.  Pre-secondary students are using iPhones in Art, Science and Social Studies to connect with colleges, performing Arts centers and other organizations for real-time data connection and learning resources as we speak (NMC, 2011).  Each of these connections that students are making offer the answer to the age-old questions “When will I ever use this in real-life?” before it is even asked.  As with the integration of desktop computers and interactive whiteboards, mobile learning will have its place in the classroom.  Each teacher needs the autonomy, and training to be able to integrate new strategies as they see fit.  I believe that these new applications will help engage students, which will help them learn better.  My hope is that the school districts will not just “jump on the bandwagon”, but create a plan that is strategic to implement iPads, mobile and the like.  Board members and administrators need to be good stewards of the public’s money and keep in mind all of the practicalities as they move forward in technology implementation.

 

References:

Discovery Education (2013).  Retrieved on 9/18/2013 from: http://web2012.discoveryeducation.com/web20tools-community.cfm.

New Media Consortium, (2011) The NMC Horizon Report: 2011 K-12 Edition.  Retrieved on 9/18/13 from: http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2011-Horizon-Report-K12.pdf.

Schwartz, K.,  (June, 2013)  Six Big Tech Trends in Education to Follow.    Retrieved on 9/18/2013 from: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/06/six-big-trends-in-education-to-follow/.

Shelly, G., Gunter, G., Gunter, R., (2012). Teachers discovering computers: Integrating technology in a connected world Seventh edition.  Boston, MA: Cenage Learning.

5 Rules for Student Engagement

Follow me on Twitter!  @kimstoebner

I’ve been following lots of science and teaching related tweets.

This week I read an article from @ASCD which discusses 5 Rules for Engagement (its worth the read):

1. Update your Attitude

2.  Build Relationships and Respect

3.  Get Buy In

4.  Embrace Clarity

5.  Show Passion

I’ve read several educational articles that I’ve been directed to from my Twitter account.  A common theme of a couple of the articles is that teaching will be hard work.  I thought that this article summed up what I’ve read about improving teaching.

Students need motivation from teachers.   Teachers need motivation and fresh ideas to meet the increasing demands being placed on them.  I will use Twitter to get a lot of information that I can quickly sort through to find out what I need at the moment.  Right now, I’m struggling with student engagement in my classes.  There are anywhere from 5-10 students who just aren’t engaged in chemistry right now (per class).  As I think about those students, I realize that the 1-5 listed above is something that I need work on this week.

Twitter is great because of it’s ease and it’s free.  Using the educational journal database provided through colleges is great, but it takes valuable time.   I need to find the time to connect with some similar minded educators to broaden my horizon, twitter is great for that.

My question is….. if I use twitter to communicate with my students will I actually reach the unengaged, or will it used by the ones who don’t really need it.  Will my socioeconomically disadvantaged students find a way to “plug in”?

Using technology to prepare my students for life

Technology for learningImage

This is a picture of a pie with steam, made by my 8yr old using peanut butter play dough as a medium….. what a work of art.  I open with this picture because it was her idea to bend the piece of plastic that it was on to show the steam instead of holding the steam pieces up.  I thought it was a creative idea; she’s early in her educational career, so according to Ken Robinson we haven’t drained the creativity from her yet.

According to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills our students need to develop specific life and career skills in order to compete globally.  Students need to be able to adapt to change, be flexible, show initiative and self direction.  Students need to be able to communicate effectively with others by exhibiting social and cross cultural skills.  Students also need to be able to manage projects and take accountability.   Finally, students need to learn to assume leadership and responsibility.  I believe that the use of technology is an effective way for students to begin to use those 21st century skills that will move our students from the industrial age, when a lot of our schools were developed and even built into the “technology age”.

Students who are engaged in learning will be able to internalize the concepts presented to them.  Students who incorporate the devices such as smart phones, tablets, PC’s and software/apps available to them will engage with the content and be able to ask questions that will help their basic understanding or further it.  I teach chemistry, there are some students who choose to be in the class, but the average student is taking the class because they need to, it is some requirement for them.  I feel that the student’s and teacher’s use of technology will help them engage with the material.  Many science students that come into my classroom have not engaged in science or math, so they automatically have a dislike of the subject.  New computer applications that help students get real-time answers to their questions, see visualizations and collaborate with others will create opportunities for students to succeed and develop those 21st century skills which are necessary for students.

References:

Partnership for 21st Century skills.  Retrieved from:  http://www.p21.org/overview/skills-framework/266, on 9/8/2013

Shelly, G., Gunter, G., Gunter, E., (2012). Teachers discovering computers: Integrated technology in a connected world. Boston, Cengage Learning.