Final Reflection (done)

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Technology integration in the classroom is an incredibly useful practice that should be implemented by all teachers to some degree. I say this because every teacher has their own likes and dislikes, they have their own strengths and weaknesses. Technology must not impede on these weaknesses or dislikes. After taking this course I have come to understand that a huge factor in implementing technology use in the classroom is the teacher’s own conceptions. If a teacher is not comfortable and wishes to use technology, they may consult an expert or colleague. This collaboration between professionals is a very helpful strategy. This must be understood, along with the fact that technology should not be relied on. Sometimes technology fails and we need to have a backup plan, this is important to include in our lessons. Technology most definitely facilitates learning when it can be used.

Therefore, in order to integrate technology in my classroom I must be comfortable with using and excited about using whatever technology I select. For example, in my future classroom I hope to have the opportunity to utilize a Smartboard. I say this because I am comfortable using this device, and it really interests me. The Smartboard is also a really fun and engaging device for students to be involved in using. Technology has an amazing ability to enhance learning for students, it allows them to hear, say, and do. The interactive learning that is made possible by technology integration has a more meaningful impact on students. For example, games allow students to practice what they learned. Students will actually want to play and they arrive at a point where they desire to teach somebody else to play, this is an example of students saying, doing and even hearing/seeing within the game. Essentially technology is a huge help when it comes to the working memory of students.

In addition, using technology saves time! Technology integration does not have to be huge in order to have a huge impact. Teachers can utilize simple technologies in order to save time for themselves to focus on students. For example, students can mark themselves present on ClassDojo upon entering the classroom. This way, the teacher has more time to provide non-contingent attention to their students. Teachers can also use tools like Screencastify in order to provide directions during center time or to parents at home. In doing this, the teacher can focus their attention on helping with content in the classroom or planning lessons instead of responding to parents via e-mail. Again, this use of technology facilitates learning because it provides the teacher with more time to focus on their students’ needs.

I believe that it is appropriate to use technology in order to differentiate instruction. There are so many helpful technologies that could be integrated into instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners. This specific integration can not be done aimlessly, it must work for and meet the needs of the students. Therefore, in this case, a variety of technologies can be used to meet the needs of various learners. For example, students who have hearing impairments or difficulty decoding, or even who are simply visual learners can be accommodated. In this case, the teacher can record the instructions and they could listen to them instead of having a paper to refer back to. These students can even listen to a book on tape, which would promote comprehension and aid instruction. This would most definitely be an appropriate instance to incorporate technology, but again it is essential to know your students’ needs and likes in order to accommodate them. Instruction can even be differentiated for students who do not have a disability, with metacognition students are able to know how they best learn. Technology can assist us in offering choice for our students. This would result in more engagement in the activity and content which fuels meaningful learning. An example of this would be simply allowing students to type notes from an online textbook or write them from a regular textbook, while some students watch a video on the content.

Next, technology can differentiate and make assessment much easier for the teacher and students. There are many assessment tools that do not require all students to have devices as well. For example, Plickers only requires students to have their own paper and the teacher to have an iPad or iPhone. With tools like this, assessment can be done quickly and formatively. Many assessment tools are efficient because they provide immediate feedback. For example a tool like Quizalize will give students the correct answer if the answer that they enter or select is incorrect. These types of assessments can immediately modify misconceptions. However tools that do not give students immediate feedback may not be very effective when the teacher believes there may be many misconceptions, instruction may work better in this situation.

Sometimes technology will not work in the classroom, for many reasons. One of these reasons is that the school simply cannot afford to supply students with personal devices to take assessments on. This may not work but a teacher who genuinely desires to incorporate technology into their instruction in order to enhance it will figure out a way to do so. Students may be asked to use their own devices to take polls through texting. These numbers can be used for formative assessment, or even used in a math class to create charts and graphs. Also, students do not need technology for all integrations. For example, students do not require a device to use ClassDojo, watch videos on SchoolTube, or practice GoMath facts or sight words on the teacher’s iPad.

Overall, technology is a great aid in instruction. It allows students to experience learning in multiple forms and ways. Technology allows us to attend to all kinds of learners as well. Also, it can create a fun and interactive environment that will result in more meaningful learning. There are barriers and speed bumps when it comes to incorporating technology so it is essential to know what you are attempting to use. Teachers should have a check-list of how to incorporate, and a plan on what to do if it fails. This is because it should not be relied on but admired as a tool to improve instruction.

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Reflection #10

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The FIVE most important technology tools to use in your classroom

1. A SmartBoard

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Having a SmartBoard in your classroom transforms the environment into an interactive one. Interactive learning is much more engaging for students of any age! Presentations can be created on a software called ActivInspire, which allows you to take notes on the screen, incorporate sound upon touch and video easily. Students can be a part of the presentation by dragging and dropping items as well. A smart board can also be used for housekeeping tasks, students can mark themselves present upon entering the classroom, and in lower grades can select what they will be having for lunch that day.

2. Student Response Systems

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There are many types of student response systems that can be used in the classroom. Some of these include: clickers, plickers, student iPads, and even students’ cell phones. Student response systems serve as an effective tool for formative assessment in the classroom. This is something many teachers struggle with implementing, using technology will make it more engaging and fun for the students. Not only that, but scores and results are received immediately and can be used to further guide or correct instruction!

3. Games

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Games are a form of active learning for students. They can be used for many purposes in the classroom, and there are many online sites that have a variety of games to be played. Students are much more likely to want to play these games and will be learning or reinforcing a concept in the process. They can be assigned as homework of an in-class activity during a center time. One of my favorite sites for games is pbskids.org! Students can play whatever game that they require help in, so they help differentiate instruction as well.

4. A Classroom Management Tool

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As a first-year teacher it is important to be prepared with classroom management strategies. ClassDojo is a fun and effective classroom management tool to be used in the elementary classroom. Students love this app, it can be used online or on a device (iPad). Points are given for positive behavior, and they can be specified. Also, parents have access at all times, this is a great connection between the classroom and home. 

5. Presentation Tools

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It is important that the students utilize technology in the classroom as well. Using technology for student presentations or projects make it easier for students to organize their learning and ideas. For example, students can create a presentation on Buncee to be shared with the class. Using technology takes the stress of making it presentable and neat off, and allows students to focus more on content. It is also more fun for students to create a presentation using technology, there are more options for diverse learners. Some students could use Buncee, others could use Prezi while some use PowerPoint.

Floating Tool Evaluation 3 (done)

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Online learning for children at e-learningforkids.org

Free to use for elementary students (K-6), e-learning for life for adolescents (13-18)

Features:

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Lessons available across various subjects for all grades, allows you to select which grade level you or your students are in.

Incredible amount of games and lessons available for every subject and grade

Popular lessons are displayed on the home page upon accessing the site

In addition to popular lessons, recently played lessons are also displayed on the home page

Allows you to search for specific lessons

Age Appropriateness:

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e-learning modifies its lessons provided based on the grade level that the user selects.Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 5.32.43 PM.pngThe lessons are also labeled, so if the search is not modified the user still knows what grade level it is suitable for. Therefore, the tool is age-appropriate for any age selected.

Strengths:

Tool has Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 5.38.28 PM.png option. This is helpful because students need to become familiar with  how to use a computer, this tool can assist.

 

Tool also hasScreen Shot 2017-04-14 at 5.38.34 PM.png option. These lessons teach students how to deal with issues like: bullying, depression, stress, etc.

Tool designed for various countries, this is helpful for English Language Learners.

Limitations:

Tool does not have a social studies or history option. Users would have to seek an alternative tool to access this material.

So many lessons are available, it may be difficult to choose exactly which one to use.

Internet access is required, some students may not have access to this at home.

Ease of Use: 

Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 5.47.20 PM.pngTool is extremely easy to use, the search bar is displayed appropriately. The subject options are also displayed right when the use accesses the site. Each lesson also begins with instructions.

In the classroom…

StudenScreen Shot 2017-04-14 at 5.50.56 PM.pngts need to learn how to type efficiently:

Students can play the ‘Keyboarding Skills’ lesson, which shows students how to use a keyboard and what each key does. This game is fun and engaging for students.

 

 

Students need supplemental instruction or concept reinforcers after the lesson

Various lessons for various subjects are available, teacher can search the concept that they taught that day and have students play the lesson either during centers or for homework. For example, a lesson on the body can be supplemented with: Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 5.53.25 PM.png

 

Tool Evaluation #9

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Practice spelling with technology!

vocabularyspellingcity.com

Users: students grades K-12

Cost: $54.95 per classroom, free version has limited capabilities

Features:

  1. Ability to create multipleScreen Shot 2017-04-09 at 11.44.10 AM.png
    word lists
  2. Formulates sentences for each word entered into the word list
  3. Ability to set assignments for all students or specific students, games are available for assignments
  4. Track student scores
     and progress online
  5. Teacher can add students to their class by providing them with a username for an account

Strengths: 

  • Fun way for students to review spelling, phonics or anything necessary. Games are more engaging for them to practice!
  • Teacher can track student progress right on the sight (see below)Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 11.54.50 AM.png
  • Free activities provided for individuals who are interested in testing out the tool
  • Teacher can individualize assignments for each student

Limitations:

  • Costly to purchase premium version
  • Not many free games are available to try out
  • Word lists can only be 5 words each

Ability to maintain interest:

Games are fun and engaging for students and assigning them to students will make it more likely that they effectively review their spelling words. More than one game can be assigned, which provides students with choice!

Age appropriateness: 

Word lists are created by the teacher, therefore they can be created for any grade. The vast amount and types of activities available are suitable for any grade. Tenth grade SAT words can be entered and practiced using flashcards, while 

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First grade

 sight words can be practiced using a game.

 

 

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Tenth grade

 

 

 

In the classroom…

Teacher has trouble differentiating their instruction…

The teacher can assign students different assignments with the same word list. Some students may need to practice spelling while others need definition. Therefore, students get all the practice they need in their weaker areas.

Teacher has trouble tracking student progress…

Progress is posted directly on the site for the teacher to see, evaluate and grade. Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 12.13.38 PM.png This way, progress is condensed onto one page for easy access by the teacher. Teacher can also see if assignments are completed or not, friendly reminders can be sent out to students who have not completed an assignment.

Tool Evaluation #8

Tool Evaluations

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Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.31.30 AM.pngTechnology tools that help anybody read!

Downloadable extension to Google Chrome, 

Can be used by any type or age reader

30-day free trial followed by $3.99/month for educators and a 7-day free trial followed by $2.99/month for students

Features:

Text-to-speech: program will read text aloud to the reader which promotes comprehension

Screenshot reader: incase text cannot be copy and pasted or highlighted, a software will read it directly off of the screenshot

Simplify: modifies difficult text into easier to read phrases and sentences (e.g baffled > surprised)

Translate: software will translate into different languages

Capture: allows user to create an outline by capturing parts of the text and allows them to expand on and select what information they wish to include directly from the text

All features can be applied to PDF files and text found online!

 

Ease of use:

The tool offers a useful tutorial on how to use its features. The fact that the tool offers only five features also makes it incredibly easy to use. With few, but useful, features it allows users to do exactly what they need. The toolbar appears on the right side of the page and allows users to do what they need right on the screen.Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.58.56 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.32.02 AM.png

Ability to maintain interest:

This tool increases student interest in the content that they are working on. Students will become frustrated if the content they are present with is too difficult. Therefore, having it read to them, modified to their reading level, or assisted in making an outline, will motivate them more. This tool is also easy to use so it is unlikely that students would get frustrated enough to not use it.

Age appropriateness:

The variety of features of this software can benefit all ages. For example, books found online can be read aloud to students as young as preschool age. It can also be used for older students who read at a lower reading level than the rest of their class, the tool can modify the text for them. The tool can work with any text online as well!

Alternative software:

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Text-to-speech software built into computers. While these softwares will convert text to speech, Snap&Read offers more useful features for students especially to use. It is just as easy to download and use as the built-in tools as well.

 

In the classroom…

Students may be asked to create an outline for a reading

Some students may require modifications for this task due to their disability. These students can copy and paste information from the text if they are physically unable to produce a written outline of the text. Students can also have the text read aloud to them if they are slow readers or even have the text modified for them in order to promote comprehension of the text.

Example of modified text:Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.58.43 AM.png the changed phrases are italicized

 

 

 

 

 

Teacher wishes to include a listening station during centers time but cannot purchase the costly tools for it

Teacher can either find books online or type the book for students to listen to. This station can be set up for a few students at a computer with headphones. This saves the teacher time and allows them to focus on all students instead of just one small group of students.

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Reflection #9

Reflections

Reflect on what you have learned this week about universal design for learning and assistive technologies

Universal Design for Learning is a proactive approach!

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Before learning more about UDL, I was unaware that it was a proactive approach. This is a very useful thing to know because now when planning my lessons I can incorporate different activities to engage my students. For example, I can allow them to learn about Independence Day using their textbook, or allow them to find information using an educational website. I can also assess them in different ways (seesaw), students could: draw a picture, write a blog post, or explain orally to exhibit what they learned. Knowing this also makes me more aware when presenting directions to my students, I will be sure to explain them and print them out for everyone to have access to. Doing all of this beforehand will serve for a more effective lesson.

Accessibility tools are built into laptops already!Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 10.36.36 AM.png

After using a laptop for so long and for so many different reasons, I had no idea that these tools were already available on it. I love how easy it is to put these tools to use. Although not every student may require them, they are still helpful for any type of learner. If some students do not want them to be used when using the computer, they can be activated on only certain computers in the classroom. This is something that I can be proactive about in the classroom. For example, if I have a student with impaired sight I can be sure to activate the larger cursor and text on a certain computer and have them use that one. These tools can even be used to explain directions to students using voiceover. The fact that they are already available on the computer gives teachers no excuse not to use them to benefit their students!

Overall, it seems that UDL and diverse learners go together pretty well. Although UDL is a broad approach to teaching and helps ALL kinds of learners, it seems to benefit diverse learnings (specifically with disabilities or impairments) even more! The great thing is that it does not just target them, it targets and benefits ALL students.

Floating Tool Evaluation 2 (done)

Uncategorized

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Seesaw: A digital profile for your students!

Free for general use by students of any age, teachers and parents

Features:

Teacher creates a class and adds students to class, students will scan a QR code or enter a text code to enter the class

Students document what they know in a variety of forms Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 1.19.18 PM.png

Can create folders for each subject/class

Able to access from any device (computer, laptop, iPad, iPhone)

Teachers and parents can comment on student work that is approved by the teacher and then posted on the page (student work is displayed similar to an Instagram feed)

Teacher must approve posts before they appear on the feed for parents to access and view

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Age Appropriateness:

This tool is appropriate for any elementary grade. The variety of methods to post about learning makes it fun and interesting for any age student. Younger students could simply draw a picture to post, or take a photo of their written work. While older students could type an answer to an exit ticket or record their thoughts.

Strengths:

-Teacher must approve posts before they are displayed, therefore no inappropriate posts will be displayed

-Parents can only view their own child’s work

-Parents and teachers can comment on student’s work which is positive feedback Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 1.35.48 PM.png

-Quick and easy for students to post

-Teacher does not need to refresh page or go to a certain tab to approve posts, they appear right on whatever page they are currently on. This assists is speed of approval

Limitations:

-Teacher must approve every single post, this may become time consuming depending on when the students post

-Students do not make their own accounts, they select which account they tag their post to. Students may mistakingly or purposely post to the wrong account

-Students need access to a device to participate in the use of this tool

Ease of Use:

Site is easy to use, simply click the Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 1.42.57 PM.png to make a post. Students will then select their name and post. Again, the posts that need approval pop right up for the teacher and appear right on the feed once they are approved! All parents have to do is scroll to look at work.

In the Classroom…

The tool can be used a quick form of assessment, as an exit ticket. With this, teacher can gauge student learning quickly and modify instruction for the next day. For example, the teacher can prompt the students to post one thing that they learned today. Teachers can comment answering questions or giving feedback.Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 1.47.36 PM.png

Tool can be used as a brain brake or an indoor recess activity. Teacher can ask the students to draw a picture and post it.

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