Reflect on what you have learned this week about universal design for learning and assistive technologies
Universal Design for Learning is a proactive approach!
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!
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.
Facebook appears to be a useful tool to use in the classroom. However, I believe that it could not effectively be utilized directly in an elementary classroom. I would most definitely use this tool in a high school or college class. I believe that the biggest merit for this tool is that it assists in communication and collaboration. However, this tool is also used for social networking by a large amount of people from all around the world. With this considered, I believe that the biggest drawback of this tool is that it may not be considered safe by all parents and teachers. Some classroom applications would be:
- Creating a group for parents in the elementary or middle grades. Teacher could post updates, homework, photos, and parents could like and comment with questions or what not.
- A high school teacher could create a private group for a class to post homework, notes, and updates. Students could post questions and communicate with the teacher more easily.
- A high school class could create a private group for a group project in order to collaborate, teacher can see their work process.
Pinterest is a resourceful tool for teachers to use. I believe that it can be used outside of the classroom to search for ideas to implement in the classroom. Honestly, I would not use this tool actually in the classroom. I believe that other tools like Facebook would be more efficient because more people are likely to have a Facebook in the first place. The biggest merit to this tool is definitely the incredible amount and variety of resources (lessons, classroom organization, management, activities, worksheets, etc.). The biggest drawback to this tool is that it would be difficult to actually use in the classroom. There are ways for students to use it, like searching for books or project ideas but I feel that there are more efficient ways to do this. I would use this tool to:
- Search for fun activities to do in this classroom for: recess, management systems, rewards, lesson plans.
- Collaborate with and follow other teachers in order to find new and effective ideas.
- Post my classwork on a board for parents to access.
- Students could share pins with each other for a group project.
Twitter is fun tool for teachers and students to use. It is an interesting and different way for students, teachers and even parents to stay in touch. I think using this tool in the classroom would excite students in the upper grades. The biggest merit to this tool is that it is easy to access and use. Students simply make an account and follow their peers and teacher. The biggest drawback is that it is difficult to monitor and students may have personal accounts. I would not want to use my personal twitter account to interact for educational purposes quite honestly, I think students would make a separate account which would make things confusing. Even younger teachers have personal accounts and they would have to make a second. I do not think I would use this tool, but if I would I would:
- Posting homework and classwork for my students and parents to view.
- Have students @ me if they have a question about homework or a project.
Wikis & Blogs are useful in the classroom. They allow students to write and produce ideas in a different and fun way. Upper grade students would like to use these tools. I believe the biggest merit is that students can customize and publish their own work online. It is fun for students to produce something different. The biggest downfall is that students may be too focused on the appearance. This may become a distraction for students. In the classroom I would use these tools:
- For students to post weekly writing assignments, they would share their addresses with me and I could provide feedback on Monday if the assignment was due Friday. For example, students could reflect on their reading for the week with questions or comments.
- Post assignments for the week for students and parents to check up on.
- Use Wikis for short in-class assignments, possibly a jigsaw activity. Students could post their findings and then share with the group.
After discussing various active engagement and learning tools, I most definitely would be inclined to utilize them in my classroom for many reasons:
- They require immediate application of knowledge in most cases
- They provide immediate feedback for both the students and the teacher
- They save the teacher time in regards to grading
- They result in more engagement amongst the class
- Different form of instruction that will most likely interest students
- Can address individual misconceptions and difficulties (ex: branched drill and practice)
In an elementary classroom, I would be most inclined to implement educational games !
Students are more motivated to participate because they view games as a separate category of learning. Most students rarely even pair the two things. In an elementary classroom many concepts need to explicitly taught, so games are very effective when reinforcing concepts. Games present a sense of competition, which everybody loves. They will also help students remember concepts better because the three stages of games involve (Can I try? Can I save it? Can I teach you?) by explaining or teaching somebody else, the student is most likely to remember the concepts.
After a lesson on phonemes, I could either assign a game called “The Problem With Chickens” on as homework or as a center activity.
This game reinforces certain phonemes and makes it fun for the students to practice them and apply their new knowledge of phonemes.
How would you use an interactive whiteboard in your future classroom?
I would utilize an interactive whiteboard in my classroom frequently. From what we have covered in class, it appears that they can be used in for: review, lessons, assessment, and even fun.
- In my last tool evaluation I discussed a problem that an interactive white boarding software could easily solve. This was that students will miss lessons when they are absent, and the interactive white boarding software educreations.com solves this issue. I would use this software and post my lessons for students to access outside of class.
- Considering my elementary concentration, I will likely be dealing with phonics instruction. In a video we watched, a kindergarten class was using the whiteboard to spell and sound out words. I would do this in my classroom by recording myself saying a word and then having students selecting the appropriate letters. I could do this using .
- I would also use it for classroom duties. It would make taking attendance and getting lunch count much more efficient. I would have students either drag a copy of their picture or icon, or check their name off when they come in. They would also select their lunch choice. Students would like this because they get a chance to use the board as they enter the room as well.
What excites you most about what you have learned in this course?
The most interesting, and I believe one of the more effective, way to use technology is for assessment. The many quiz softwares like Kahoot and PearDeck seem incredibly useful. I also think they seem much more engaging than a normal quiz or presentation. I look forward to incorporating technology into my ways of assessment.
The very first lesson that I taught was for Professor Howe’s science method course.
I taught this lesson on sound vibrations, I was not pleased with how I carried out my lesson. The students seemed bored and quite unengaged. I believe the inquiry part of my lesson was sufficient but I could have included a technology aspect in order to promote understanding and clarification of the big idea (sound is vibrations). The inquiry portion of my lesson consisted of students banging their pencils or rulers on the side of a makeshift drum. The drum had salt on top and when they hit the side, the salt jumped. I explained that this was caused by vibrations.
Honestly, this concept can be quite boring and could be spiced up with a short animation in order to better summarize the big idea: sound vibrations!
This video is short and to the point, it is humorous and engaging. I believe that it encaptured everything that was in my lesson and is a small, but useful tool that could better my lesson.
Would you use these in your classroom? What are their relative advantages?
SCHOLASTIC’S CLASSROOM SETUP
Scholastic’s Classroom Setup Tool is definitely helpful in terms of basic classroom setup. It is easy to manipulate. It assists and prompts you to set up your classroom in a virtual manner by having you select a classroom shape, and then dragging and placing furniture, windows, doors, and white or bulletin boards. Using this tool definitely makes classroom setup less laborious for the teacher and allows them to visualize their room without moving around. However, sometimes it is helpful to experiment with a classroom setup, especially when placing posters and signs it is helpful to know if the students will see them clearly from where they sit. Another disadvantage to this tool is that it doesn’t provide graphics for a rug, chairs, easels, etc. Classrooms today are becoming more unique and have items like these in them and are important to consider. Despite these drawbacks, I believe I would still use this in my classroom. I would adjust to them by simply drawing in shapes that are offered on the tool and going from there. Overall, the relative advantage seems to be in the middle to me. This tool definitely solves the problems of time-management, it is free to use, can be accessed by most teachers, and is easy to use. However, it doesn’t solve many more problems than simply drawing out the classroom arrangement would other than time and labor.
Schooltube is a very similar tool to the one that I evaluated. The first are at thing that I noticed upon visiting the site, is that it suggests videos that are relevant to what is happening in the world visibly (FDR Inauguration). I like that students and teachers are able to have their own channels and post their own videos. This seems like it would be an exciting, long-term project for a middle school class. I would definitely use this site over youtube.com because it filters the video results. I feel like it would work best in a higher grade classroom, maybe 4th and up. It could be used as a resource for teachers to post notes and videos of class for students to reference outside of class, this is an awesome and helpful aspect of the tool. I believe that the relative advantage for this tool is high. It solves big problems in the classroom such as inappropriate videos popping up and creating distraction in the classroom. Videos are extremely helpful and assistive in student learning and teachers generally use them in the classroom frequently. It also solves the problem of review and student access to content. By posting notes on the class channel, students can always access them if they were absent that day or need to review for a test. Not only this, but it is free for all to use. Only one drawback that I can think of to this tool is that if students do not have access to a computer or iPad at home, however this can be accommodated by collaborating with the student.