Unit Plan

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ed technology unit plan

Above is the link to my Unit Plan that I created for ED 554 at Marymount University.  This is the first unit plan I have created with the concept of a flipped classroom.  It was an incredible experience to create this unit plan, as I incorporated technology in new ways than any previous unit plans.  All the activities are technology based and I am excited to explore technology more in the future.  

Frontline Reflection- Chapter 1

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Check out the video Frontline by PBS. I recommend the video in its entirety, which you can watch at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/view/. I’m going to reflect on the first chapter of the video, “Distracted by Everything.”

 

     Adults reflect on changing society and how technology now connects the world in a way it never did before. How often do we go a day, or even a few hours without checking our phone? We have instant access to news, social media and the Internet. The video takes a look at M.I.T students to show how they use technology as students. The students are all what you would consider a “digital native.” They constantly communicate with others through their phones and computer. One of the students spoke about how even in class students are always on their computers multitasking. The teachers look out and see all their students on their computers. How does this change teaching? One of the teachers spoke about how students have a much harder time paying attention in class and are not listening, because they are distracted by their computers. Professor Sherry Turkle is a professor who says that the students are brilliant, but technology is doing them a disservice. She says it is not good to always be multitasking- it is important to give some tasks your full attention.

     It is important to remember that each student is different. However, I tend to agree with the professor who said that basic human psychology makes it seem impossible to multitask. I believe it is important to fully focus your attention of the assignment or task at hand so you can do it well. However, I also believe that many times these assignments can be done online. It seems like technology is often the best way to reach students. For instance, say you want your class to watch a video online. Why not use a site such as TodaysMeet to enhance the attention of your class to the video. This way, both of the tasks will be related. It is like watching a video and taking notes, simply the notes are online. What the students are doing supports their learning and supports focus to the topic at hand. This way the students are engaged in the lesson and are required to use their technology to enable them to learn better.

     In our world, we do have to accept that technology is here to stay. I am not personally a big fan of technology, but it is a disservice to students to pretend technology does not exist. Students speak technology. They are fluent in technology. Why ignore this? Why not instead use this to capture their attention. It is important to keep them accountable, as we want them to focus on what they are to be learning, but we can do this by speaking their language- which

Flipped Classroom

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The idea of a flipped classroom is intriguing to me! I would love to teach students at home through the use of different applications and video creating technology so that they can come to school ready to learn! Here is a prezi i made on Christopher Columbus.  I added audio to the Prezi by using Screencast-O-Matic.  Both were easy to use and I am happy with the results.  Here is a link to the video I made http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/c2i3oinJOA.  Watch and enjoy!

 

Response to the Article “5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cell Phones in Class”

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I recently read the article, “5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cell Phones in Classrooms” by Lisa Nelson.  Personally, I am against the use of cell phones in classrooms.  I think it is a different matter once a student gets to college or higher education, but before this are students responsible enough to use cell phones in a classroom without getting distracted? I know I would not have been in high school.  To respond to the article, I am going to write a response to each point.  Before you read my responses I recommend reading the article.  http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2012/07/5-reasons-to-allow-students-to-use-cell.html

1. I agree that cell phones can be helpful in the professional world.  They are often necessary to keep in touch with co-workers, send emails, look information up quickly, etc.  However, I believe that students use cell phones enough on their own to be able to use them for a job.  I did not need any training on how to use my phone for work and it came very easily to me because I already had been using it outside of work.

2. This is a good point.  Cell phones are readily available and the schools do not have to buy them.  However, how effective are cell phones for learning?  Some may argue, but I do not think they are time effective.  Many students using their cell phones would not be able to focus on the assignment at hand, as they would likely get distracted by text messages and social media. If they are working on a project and a text came up, would they keep working or read the text?  I know when I using my cell phone to do work, I get very easily distracted.

3. This directly negates my argument about students getting distracted.  And I can see the point it makes.  However, I still disagree.  The example is used of how students used to pass notes, but now they text instead.  My argument is that notes are easier to monitor.  A teacher can see students passing notes, and while it is still not good, I believe that passing notes is much less frequent than text messaging.  As well, you can only pass a note to the person next to you, where as you can text anyone you want to, so there are more options.  

4. Personally, I do not think teachers and students need to follow the same guidelines.  Teachers are adults and can be trusted to make professional decisions.  The school hired them believing them to be professional and use their time well.  If they think using an iPad or iPhone is more effective, then that is their choice.  However, a student is not hired by a school.  They have not been chosen to make mature decisions, so they should be held to stricter guidelines than teachers.

5. It is a responsibility of schools to teach students to be safe.  However, to do this do we need to give them access to their phones?  When I was in high school, we learned about the dangers of social media and safety without being aloud to use social media.  I still found this to be a very effective lesson even though I was not using social media in school.  It is still relevant because students use it so much on their own.  

Lastest Happenings on Twitter!

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     I have been recently using twitter to follow different educators.  I have particularly enjoyed reading articles that tweets link to about different educational issues.  This post will highlight a few interesting posts I have read as of late!

1. The first tweet is from the US Department of Education- It is an article that shows research on the best ways to prepare children in early childhood education for their education in the future.  The article lists the eight domains of skills children need and then takes you to a page that helps you find relevant interventions.  You can select the age of the child as well as the delivery method (small group, large group, etc.)  The next section does the same thing, only it shows how different instructional programs work with struggling students.  For instance, you can look at examples of small group instruction, whole class instruction or individual instruction.

2- The second tweet is a report by Education week- It says that school districts are not spending money on the right things.  The study looked at the spending of different school districts and then compared this to the outcomes to see how effective their spending was.  They took into account that school districts are all from different areas and have different costs of living.  They found that many schools have misplaced their spending priorities.  For example, a school district in Texas spends an average of $1,000 a year on athletes.  Even schools in affluent areas are having a problem with achievement compared to spending.  The article highlights some of the problems as well as going over some of the approaches to state funding.

3- The third tweet is also a report by Education week- It talks about how physicians have an ethical duty to teach about the dangers of concussions.  Concussions are a huge problem for children and teens whose brains are still developing.  The article says that physicians need to stand firm and be strict about not allowing students to return to sports if they have a concussion. This is a loaded topic as many people have different opinions, but it is important to learn about the dangers of concussion.

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Speak Up 2013

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     It was interesting to read the 2013 report from Speak Up.  This article brought up a few points that were eye-opening to me.  The first point that I found surprising is that at a young age girls use technology more than boys.  Another point the article brought up is about the terms digital native and digital immigrant.  FInally, this article made me think about the use of technology in Title 1 schools and how not all students have access to technology.

     As teachers, we cannot make any assumptions about how much access to technology students have.  As well, teacher might assume that students have unlimited access to the internet at home and do not need instructions on how to use it.  However, are the terms digital native and digital immigrant really even relevant?  Can we put students in a box?  It is important to have the tools for each student to be a learner of technology.  Especially, students who do not have tools at home to be digital learners should be given the tools at school.

     Today, many teachers do not use technology in the classroom as much as students desire for them to use it.  However, doesn’t this put them at a disadvantage.  While we may think that students will learn better from textbooks and lectures, isn’t it time to explore new options that have never been opened to us before?  How do we know they learn better traditionally if they have never had the opportunity to learn digitally.  If we reach out to kids in a way that they are familiar and interested in, won’t they learn better?  There are so many options of how to use technology that are illustrated in this article.  For instance, one idea that has caught my eye is online textbooks.  There is some controversy over this, but it seems to be a good idea of how schools can go “green,” as well as helping students learn in a format that they can relate to.  Using technology can also help students be social in new ways. They can reach out to student socially through technology.

I especially think it is important to involve girls in technology in schools in meaningful ways. If we want girls to become involved in STEM, we need to make it meaningful to girls. By giving them technology in an interesting way, we are making the subject material more appealing to them, increasing the chance that they will become involved.    With the guidance of teachers, students do not have to be digital natives or digital immigrants.  aren’t all students in a state of learning anyway?  They all are learners of technology and therefore learners of information. There are always new tools out there that they can learn from and explore.  

Featured Blog

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     I love podcasts! I have listened to podcasts on a variety of topics from nutrition to running, both topics that interest me. How great to listen to an expert talk about a topic that you are interested in. As an education student, I am always looking for ways to learn more about teaching and podcasts are a wonderful resource! The name of the podcast I listened to was aRTs Roundtable 51: Get on Board: Reaching a Variety of Learners in One Classroom.

     The first teacher featured on this podcast was given a large kindergarten class in her first year of teaching. She was very overwhelmed and spoke of how her first year teaching did not go well. However, she spoke about the strength of using a buddy system. The students were paired with a third grader for certain periods, usually art and music. Having this support from the third grader helped them to socialize with the third grader. The third grader was able to help them with terms, work, etc. The kindergartener liked having the buddy with them and the class went smoother for the teacher who did not have to show the children the directions as specifically as she would have.

     The second teacher was a music teacher who taught 5-7th grade. She spoke of having students who were new to the country and how music helped them communicate. Again, she spoke of having a student who was new to the country paired with an advanced student. She said they thrived in this situation and it was incredible to see how they grew throughout the year.

   Next, we heard about a math contest for a group of 5th grade students. Only the children in the highest math group were able to take the test that would enable them to enter the contest. One student spoke up and asked to take the test even though she was not in the higher group. She ended up qualifying for the contest and then winning the whole contest. This is an example of how each student should be given an opportunity and we should not put students in boxes. The teachers continued to talk about different stories from their experiences in the classroom. Hearing from music and art teachers made me also think about how important it is for teachers to communicate. Art and music teachers interact with students in a different way than their homeroom teacher, so if these teachers do not communicate they could miss out on valuable information their other teachers have.

     This podcast helped me to think of how each classroom situation is different. Is a self contained classroom better, or a combined classroom? Is there one answer to this? Personally, I think that each classroom is different. There are so many different children in each classroom, so how can there be one answer for these students? However, in many cases it can be helpful to have a combined classroom. With more students, there is so much opportunity for learning and students can grow from this interaction with other students. This needs to be done carefully and after careful assessment from the teacher.

   I think podcasts are wonderful ways for teacher to continue professional development. Although it can be great to go to conferences, it would be an idea to consider for the future to have teachers learn through podcasts. This way there are more resources to them than those directly in the teachers are. They can learn from teachers all over the world. As well, it costs down on travel time and gives teachers more time for planning, etc. I think podcasts would be an extremely useful for teachers to use for professional development.