Participating in Learning with Twitter

I recently joined twitter.  I didn’t have any twitter experience prior to starting this course.  I was intrigued by the potential benefits that could be gained by collaborating with other educators that might be experiencing similar situations in the classroom.  One community that I decided to follow is called Special education@ specialedneeds.  I don’t find this sight to be too valuable.  There are some good questions posed, but tweeting in general doesn’t allow for much of a conversation to occur.  I found that I wanted to write more in response to the question that I answered, but ran out of characters.  Of course, this is the whole point.  I will try and continue to search for some better sights within twitter.twitter

ISTE Standard 5 post

How can I keep up with all of the demanding requirements of the teaching profession, and still continue to find new tools to enhance my students learning with technology?

I came across a great blog that combines the use of technology and collaboration.  Collaboration and technology are becoming ever entwined.  Through reflection and great effort, I can continue to enhance my collaboration skills both as a digital citizen and with the community that I will be teaching with.  This site provides excellent descriptions of the various roles that we will need to be comfortable maneuvering in and out of, if we are to meet the necessity of collaboration and technology.

A classmate of mine shared a link to a site that promotes teachers to be lifelong learners.  There are ten ideas that are meant to inspire us.  Reading this list, three of the ideas have on-line in their titles.  With this being our last blog post for this class, I find it very fitting to have my final bog for this class include advice that advocates for more time spent on-line to further our learning.  I have included a link to the sight below.

I have been participating in online learning for quite a long time know.  I have not ever participated in any kind of twitter activity.  After watching the Vialogues video for the week, it is clear that twitter can be a place to keep track of what great teachers are doing in the classroom.  This was very nice to learn.

I found it interesting to read about the National Education Technology Plan for 2010.  To say that technology will be included in education would be to put it mild.  Every step of the educational process will be linked into using technology.  The report mentions the term connected teacher.  The connected teacher will have access to all sorts of programs that will allow them to be better teachers.  Assessments, lessons, discussions, will all be able to be held online.  The word connected implies hooked, plugged in, or an on-line teacher that will be aware of all the available resources.

I will need to work on becoming more efficient at navigating the various teaching tools that are available.  At the same time, I will need to remember to do so with proper etiquette that I aspire to use while having in-person conversations.  In engaging with the world, via the web, I also need to remember the ultimate purpose will be to enhance my students’ growth and learning.

Reference and Links

http://novanews19.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/inspiring-teachers-to-be-lifelong-learners-10-ideas-to-make-it-happen/

http://kimcofino.com/blog/2010/03/20/creating-a-culture-of-collaboration-through-technology-integration/

 

Atkins, D.E., Bennett, J., Brown, J.S., Chopra, A., Dede, C., & Fishman, B. (2010) Teaching:

Prepare and Connect from Transforming American education: Learning powered by technology. National Education Technology Plan, 39-50.

ISTE Standard 3

ISTE Standard 3
How can my interactions with students and their parents/guardians be digitally innovative to facilitate student growth and parental involvement in education?

In doing research for this question I came across this site called Schoology.  According to Schoology, they offer software that allows teachers to streamline all of their task into one program.  Teachers can post content, lessons, quizzes and test, assign homework, run chat rooms, track data, and also run a professional learning community with colleagues, all from within this software.  A selling point is that this will integrate a lot of our task and allow us more time to teach. Parental/guardian involvement could also be increased by assigning students content related topics to discuss at home and allowing students and families’ access to what is going on in class.

In our weekly vialogues meeting, our instructor introduced us to Cellly.  Celly would be a great tool to increase parental involvement.  I like the thought of using Celly because it provides access to anyone who has any type of cell phone.  Messages could be sent out informing parents about how the class day went, what type of topics were covered, or ideas to continue the learning at home with conversation starters. Messages about homework to be done or test that need to be studied for could also be included.  My intention with using Celly, wouldn’t be to create helicopter parents/guardians, but to provide families with options for increasing dialogue around school content, resulting in increased levels of interest and learning.

From our readings for the ISTE 3 standard, we learned from the Kennedy article that it will be essential that teachers become competent using internet based learning systems.  The article discusses on-line learning and blended type of learning environments as becoming more of the norm in the future.  If this is the case, educators will need to be prepared to adapt.  As an educator I will remain open and embrace the opportunity to learn new technologies as they become available.  I will have to be able to teach myself how to use the multitude of tools that can enhance learning. Smart boards are becoming common features in classrooms. My classmate Katie Young, is interested in learning how to use Smart boards effectively.  I too need to increase my knowledge base around using smart boards in ways that increase student engagement.

References and Links

https://www.schoology.com/home.php

http://smarttech.com/Home+Page/Solutions/K-12

Kennedy, K. (2011). Cross-reference of online teaching standards and the development of quality            teachers for 21st century learning environments. Distance Learning, 7(2), 21-28.

 

ISTE Standard 2 Reflection

For the ISTE 2 standard, I developed this question: Utilizing technology, how can I create formative and summative assessments that facilitate student growth and excitement that enriches the classroom experience?

In doing research for this question, I came across the Khan Academy and was immediately intrigued.  In serving students’ in special education, I will have to be open to all teaching tools that have the potential to increase student learning.  The Khan Academy is a free resource that teachers and students can use that provides students with videos to watch and matching assessments to take.  The classroom experience is flipped for students and teachers.  The lessons are viewed at home and during time in class, students’ are assisted in trying to utilize the lesson material to solve problems.  There is the potential to alter the dynamics in a classroom to increase peer to peer and teacher student interactions.  There will be challenges with students finding time and resources necessary to take advantage of Khan Academy but it also has the additional benefit of increasing family involvement.  The Khan Academy videos and assessments could be utilized for specific students or the whole classroom.

From my classmate Michael Warren, I have also been introduced to a great link that contains suggestions for utilizing different technologies that will benefit the different learning strengths that students’ possess.  The site is focused around Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences and provides technological tools that are a good match for the different multiple intelligences.  A challenge faced in special education is trying to design lesson material with students’ strengths in mind.  This article will facilitate in the process.

From our course reading materials, I enjoyed reading about the possibility of creating virtual laboratories for conducting science experiments in the NMC Horizon Report.  The report touts the potential of providing students with greater access to costly equipment that most schools might not be able to afford (p 32).  This could potentially lead to an enriched classroom experience for both students and teachers. As a teacher, if the opportunity arose, I could choose to purchase computer equipment that could serve multiple benefits across subject matters instead of just a science specific piece of equipment that only served one function.

In designing lessons, a question that I will ask myself is: Am I taking full advantage of all the technological resources at my disposal to increase student learning and growth?  In order for me to be able to answer this question accurately, I will need to stay up to date myself on the potential tools available.  This class has increased my knowledge of how I can increase students learning opportunity through technology.  I’m sure it will continue to do so.

Links and Reference

http://www.calpoly.edu/~lfose/articles/Exploring_Technology.pdf

https://www.khanacademy.org/#mission-statement

Johnson, L.,(2013). The NMC Horizon Report: 2013 K12 Edition.

New Media Consortium, 1-44.

 

ISTE Standard One Reflection

The question that I generated for this standard was: How can I utilize technology to help my self-contained special education students’ work towards meeting their writing IEP goals?  A challenge that I see in teaching special education is figuring out how to simultaneously meet each students’ unique needs.  Often times students with special education needs struggle with hand writing legibly and spelling.  These struggles can be minimized by using technology that allows for spell checking and typing. One such tool that is great for helping struggling students’ is called Co:writer.  Co:writer is a software system that is designed specifically for students with special needs.  The way it works is students begin typing and the system predicts what the student might be trying to type.  This is done by providing them with options to choose from.  All of my students struggle with spelling and they could all benefit from this.  Often times the writing process stops all together as they ponder spelling. I found out about Co:writer through an article by Koppenhaver and Wollack.  Koppenhaver and Wollack have designed a writing program for students with special needs that utilizes e-pals and blogging to increase the writing efficacy of their students. Barbetta and Unzueta found that computer graphic organizers enhance students with special needs ability and enjoyment of writing persuasive pieces.

From our assigned reading by Sadik, I have learned about the great educational tool of digital storytelling. I found this quote to be particularly applicable “Barrett (2006) found that digital storytelling facilitates the convergence of four student-centered learning strategies: student engagement, reflection for deep learning, project-based learning, and the effective integration of technology into instruction” (p 490).

By participating in our class google community, l learned from Courtney Swanson about a site called Penzu in the classroom. Penzu allows Teachers’ to provide students’ with real time feedback and also potentially increase parental involvement.  Parents and students could look online to check out the students’ work that is stored in the cloud and view the comments I am making in response to their writing.

Utilizing different technological software programs and communication systems will allow for all students to advance in the writing process regardless of the differences in their IEP goals. The question for me turns towards finding resources to acquire access in order to utilize these technological tools and means of communication.  It would be great to have computers for every child but at my current school we are very far from this. However, the rush by the students to use the computers that we do have is very apparent.  Being able to utilize the computers in ways that can harness that excitement and assist students in learning would be an extremely valuable direction towards meeting educational goals and increasing technological competency.

References and Links

http://penzu.com/content/products/classroom

http://donjohnston.com/cowriter/

Barbetta, Patricia M. Unzueta, Caridad H.;  The Effects of Computer Graphic Organizers on the Persuasive Writing of Hispanic Middle School Students with Specific Learning Disabilities.  Journal of Special Education Technology, v27 n3 p15-30 2012. 16 pp.

Koppenhaver, David A. Wollak, Barbara A.; Developing Technology-Supported, Evidence-Based Writing Instruction for Adolescents with Significant Writing Disabilities. Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits, v7 n1 p1-23 Sum 2011. 23 pp.

Sadik, A.(2008). Digital storytelling: A meaningful technology integrated approach for engaged student learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 56, 487–506