Monday, April 27, 2009

Man Vs. Machine

There are so many inventions that have been created to make life simpler, and fulfill the demands of every day life. These inventions can be as simple as a pencil and paper to record documents, to the refrigerator that keeps food cold and fresh. It is because of necessity that these inventions were created by man, and it is because of necessity that invention will continue to be constructed.

Machines are a great why to include the use of technology within the classroom setting. Machines help everyone with their day to day activities, and are constructed with the use of technology. In the classroom, you could discuss some of the inventions that have been made over the years, and what purpose they served or are serving to society. Then you could have them come up with a chore that they really didn’t like to do, and make a list of those chores. Then they would pick one of those chores, and make a model of a machine that would complete the chore for them. Now to incorporate technology further, it is better to have them construct their drawing using the computer with a software program, such as Microsoft Paint, or TuxPaint. Then you could have them save their picture and place it into a PowerPoint that would show and tell how the machine worked.

As a teacher you probably have some problems with keeping the students on task, especially when using a paint program on the computer. A good way to solve this problem is to have an outline of what tasks are going to be completed, and how much time they have to complete each task. This allows them to stay on task better, and allows them a better structured environment.

Finally, this activity is a great way to show their students that inventions have changed the way that people function within the world, and how the world would be if technology was not a source that people could use. This is a great way to incorporate technology into the classroom, which allows your students to be creative, and active within the lesson plan.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Graphic Organizers

Have you ever wondered as a future educator, or an educator how to get your students to place on paper their thoughts, in an effective and structured fashion, that would be seen as fun in their eyes? Well the answer is graphic organizers. With the use of graphic organizer you can allow your students to excel in problem solving, decision making, and brainstorming. A graphic organizer is simply a way to organize your thoughts graphically. Graphic organizers can range anywhere from the simple story map chart, where you place what happened first, second and third in boxes to a more complex and creative organizer like a sense chart, where you put in different senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell) in each box.

The best thing about graphic organizers is there free! That’s right you can go onto web and type in the hyperlink and there are tons of graphic organizers that you can upload and print out free! However to make the students get more involved and creative with the use of graphic organizers you can have them go to the website and look at all of the different types of graphic organizers, and then have them go into Microsoft word and have them make their own. Once the students understand how to you the draw toolbar in word they will soon be making their graphic organizers that are original, and that are full of vast information.

Not only are the students writing and expressing what they have learned already into the graphic organizer, but they are learning how to use the different functions and toolbars on Microsoft word, or any other type of application that is being used in the classroom. This helps them gain knowledge in the area of technology, and promotes them to use it more for educational purposes.

Another good idea to use with graphic organizers is to have everyone in the class print off their finished product, and the teacher can hang them up on the wall or in the hallway to show off the students work. So not only are the students having fun using technology, and expressing their thoughts and ideas, there are getting acknowledged for their work.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Saving trees one piece of paper at a time

Using technology in the classroom with students can cut the cost of the use of paper, as well as teaching the students that technology can be a fun, fast, and easy way to complete a project. When using technology in the classroom, such as a computer and email access programs you can lower the damage done to the environment already. By cutting down on the use of paper in the classroom, and getting your fellow colleague to do the same.

So how can you cut down on the use of paper? Well it’s easy you can teach your lesson, and up load worksheets and activities for the student to complete on the web. You can have them go onto a website, and have the website calculate their grade and overall assessment, that will be at the teacher’s access later on. Or you can have the student email the document to you, and you can grade the document, by using Microsoft word and send the document back to the student to let the student see what he/she did or didn’t do correctly. Also by using the Microsoft word application you can actually remove and add words and comments to the paper, and show the student exactly what they should have done, if anything was done incorrect.

Also, by using technology instead of paper, really helps to cut down on the use of paper when having to write portfolio pieces. When writing portfolio pieces on paper over and over, you tend to use an abundance of paper. But if you have them do it from the beginning on a computer, tons of paper is saved during the process.

You may say that by using technology, takes away from creativity, but it adds more to the class. You have tons of different programs that can be used to help the mind grow. Also by using technology you have applications that read back what the student has written, and you can increase the font size of text, to allow the student to read and connect better.

So you see, technology can actually help the environment, and help the students grow at the same time. Technology doesn’t always have to be used to harm the environment, there are so many things that technology has supplied to the world that has allowed us as a people to better the environment, its just a matter of putting those applications into place.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Say Cheese!

Say Cheese! That’s what you could be telling your students, by using a camera in your lesson plan. You can incorporate the use of a camera into any subject, and pretty much any lesson that you need to teach. Not only will the use of a camera show the students how to use that type of technology in not only the classroom but in the everyday world, but it will also allow you as the teacher to incorporate technology into the classroom in a fun way that can be used time and time again.

You can incorporate the use of a camera, by taking the time needed to show the students how to actually use a camera and the different functions that they have. It would also be a good idea, at this time to show the students the type of software that they are going to be using to update and work with the pictures that they take. Some software that you may be using is iphoto, in which case you should show them how to use the software, and what it is capable of doing.

Next you need to give instructions to the student to exactly what they are going to do with the camera to incorporate with the lesson being taught. This can be incorporate with any age. But for example if you what to teach first or second grade spelling with the alphabet, you could give everyone in the class a letter, such as A, B, C and so on. Then you would tell them that they need to find an object that starts with their letter, and have someone take a picture of them holding that item (It would be best to do this in partners that way everyone gets to take a picture and use the camera). After the picture has been taken the students can go back to the computer and upload their photo, and by using photo technology they will be able to view their photo(s). Then they would insert a text box under their photo and spell out the object. This shows that the student not only knows the beginning letter of an object but also how to spell it as well.

Using a camera in the classroom is a great idea, and should be taken full advantage of when teaching lesson. This allows the students to use creativity and technology to learn more about the subject, and understand what is being taught better by performing hands on tasks.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Technology Surrounds Us: Educational Blog

When some people think of technology, they think of fancy gadgets. However, some people forget that the definition of technology is tools that are developed and made to help make life simpler. Because of this people forget that pencils, paper, scissors, along with so much more, is considered technology. A good way to demonstrate this in the classroom setting is to discuss what technology is, and how it is used in everyday situation, and no one even considers the technology used, due to the human adaptations to our surroundings.

One of the best ways to have the students understand and apply their knowledge and understanding of technology is to have them make a craft, and then state what type of technology was used in making the craft. You would have everyone explain what type of technology they used, and have the next student add technology to that, without repeating what was stated before hand. This allows the students to see just how much technology is used in the everyday setting to perform a simple task.

For example in my Integrating Technology in the Classroom class, we all made hats that dealt with Easter/spring and M&M’s. However you could use anything that you wanted to when doing this project. With this project, almost everyone used paper, scissors, pencils, markers. However when going deeper into the question of what technology did you use in completing the assignment, the issue of lighting, going to the store to buy supplies, which used transportation, and the use of doors, along with so much more was discussed.

This assignment is a good way for students to realize that technology surrounds them everyday, but people are so used to technology that they forget how much technology is actually out there for them to use at their disposal. This exercise allows students to understand that their computer isn’t the only type of technology that is out there, and without technology there wouldn’t be much left to work with on everyday situations, and life would be much harder for man or woman to survive. So, not only does this exercise allow students to understand what type of technology that surrounds them, but how technology is used, and helped to make human life easier and more efficient.

Do you have a backup plan?

Have you ever wondered what would happen to everyone’s grades that are stored in a central database, if it were to malfunction or shut down? Well the answer is simple, if the teacher of the students didn’t have a backup file stored somewhere, then the grades would simply be lost, and the process to rerecord those grades would involve into a long strenuous process. Don’t think it could happen? Well it has happened, and is more than likely to happen again. The best solution to this is to have a backup file that is stored on a hard drive, or other type of resource that will be available to you, the teacher that way if the central database were to crash or be down at a “bad” time, you would have a backup, and would save yourself all of the hassle of tracking down the grades earned by individual students.

So exactly, how would you go about storing the student’s data in a safe and reliable source? Well the best way that I believe to do this is to use the Microsoft Excel Application to store the information on. With the use of this application you can set up every student with their grades for individual activities, quizzes, papers, tests, and more on. With this application not only will you have a backup when needed, but you will be able to figure out the class, and total points received with just a few formulas typed into the application.

But that’s not all you can do with the Excel program. The Excel program also allows the teacher to put important data that needs to be compared, in order to help the overall progress of the class. It does this by allowing you to put what ever data you chose into charts and tables that allow you to see trends in the data easily. Along with building upon the viewing of the data within the Excel program, is the way to demonstrate the data to the parents/guardians of the students. With the Excel program you are able to hide all of the student’s grades except for the one(s) that need to be shown to the parent/guardian when parent/teacher conferences need to be addressed.

All in all the Excel program can be considered a life saver to those teachers that find they need a backup plan, or need to display student data in a clean cut professional way, that is quick and easy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's a boy!

Here it comes, the age old question, is it a boy or a girl? This question is the mostly asked question that parents want to know, in order to prepare properly for the arrival of their newly born son or daughter. In the early 1950’s the ultrasound was invented, and with this invention not only would parents be able to find out what their baby would be, but they would have a better idea as to the health and well-being of their baby. With this vital piece of technology that was created, it has helped to not only help the survival of the unborn infant, but the pregnant mother as well.

The Ultrasound as came a long way within the years, to the point where you can see your baby in 4D mode, this is a mode that always the doctor and parents of the baby to see the baby’s features, almost to the point as if you were looking at them outside of the womb.

Why is this creation of technology so important? Well it allows the parents of the unborn baby or babies to make sure that their baby is growing correctly, and that everything is forming in the right portion. If the doctor does find a problem, it can sometimes be fixed and the baby can then have a clean bill of health once again.

I am 25 weeks pregnant, and the advancements in medical technology have impacted my experiences greatly. I just recently found out the not only is my baby developing good, but is also a baby boy! I couldn’t imagine not being able to know if my baby was okay for the entire 40 weeks of pregnancy. With the use of the ultrasound, I have been able to hear my baby boy’s heart beat, see the development of his body, and have the reassurance that everything is going according to plan.

Finally, I would like to state that technology is not only making life easier and more efficient for the average person. But technology is also allowing human life to exist in a such a way that not only are baby’s being born healthier, but as they continue their lives technology allows them to live longer, healthier lives