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

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Interactive Bulletin Board: Make learning fun!

This week, I have found many ways to incorporate bulletin boards in with the classroom lesson plan that are not only interactive, but allow the students to use them as another learning technique for the students to learn certain material. Given any subject such as mathematics, reading, english, science, social studies, etc. a bulletin board can be made for the students to use to incorporate with a lesson plan. For example take mathematics for example, if you were teaching the concept of money or place value, you could make a bulletin board that shown different types of coins and have them move the coins to show different money values and different place values with dollars and cents.

However, you don’t just have to constrict the use of an interactive bulletin board to the younger ages but you can use interactive bulletin boards just as effectively in middle and high school age students as well. For example an interactive bulletin board can be made in social studies during Women’s history month on important and influential women in history that the students would be able to match certain characteristics up with the woman in history. Or given the subject of science you could show the phrases of mitosis, as a summative assessment for the students, as a review before a test.

You can also use interactive bulletin boards for the younger student by incorporating english/reading with the alphabet. You could do this by having the student match up the upper case letters with the lower case letters and vise versa.

Of course the making of an interactive bulletin board wouldn’t be possible without the use of technology. With the use of the computer to find and expand ideas, print out pictures and information, to the use of plain paper, technology takes regular bulletin boards and helps to make them interactive. With technology not only are the bulletin boards interactive, but they also become more attractive, accurate, and appealing to the students learning the material being taught by the teacher.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Creating a Web Quest

This past week in my EDEL 302 class we learned how to make a web quest using Microsoft Office Power Point. The web quest is a useful tool that can be used in the classroom for the students to use technology hands on and perform an activity that could take 30 minutes to 2 weeks. A web quest can be designed for any age level or content area. There are seven things that you need when you make your own web quest. Those seven things include: Introduction, Task, Process, Resources, Teachers Guide, Evaluation, and Conclusion. There can be more added to your web quest depending upon what you would like to achieve. But those seven listed above are vital to have in order to have a good and correct web quest.

An Introduction is the first thing that should be shown on your web quest, and is for the students and not for other teachers or higher administration to read. The introduction is the first thing that the student will read, and it should capture the student and make him/her want to go further into the web quest. It should be interesting, and should be appropriate for the audience.

The Task is where you will state what the goal of the student will be, and what they will need to accomplish. This will also have someone stated what the final product will look like at the end of the web quest.

The Process is how they are to complete the task that they were given. In the process section you can include all of the sources that they will need to use to get to the final product. If you would prefer to put these links separately you can place them on the Resource page of your web quest.

The Teacher’s Guide is made for other teachers or higher administration to tell the teacher what they would need in order to complete the web quest. This would also include the national standard, grade level, and how long it the web quest will take to complete.

Then you have the evaluation page, which tells the students how they will get graded on the web quest.

Finally you would have the Conclusion page which is made also for the student, and should tie in with your introduction page, and should make the student feel a sense of accomplishment.