Reflection 10 (DONE)

Important Technology Tools

(all teachers should know about!)

tech


  1. LearnBoostlearnboost

LearnBoost is a tool that helps a teacher lesson plan, keep track of grades, and complete administrative tasks all in the same place. While exploring this tool in class, I was very pleased by all this tool had to offer. Teachers can add classes, take attendance, create seating arrangements, create lesson plans and search for the Standards that match up with it, keep track of grades in a grade book, and see class averages. Because of all these different features offered by LearnBoost, I think this tool could be a huge help to teachers in many different ways. Teachers should use this tool to take attendance, record grades, and keep notes on lesson planning in an organized way. By seeing class averages and individual scores on homeworks or assessments, the teacher can adjust and plan his or her instruction based on these numbers. LearnBoost calculates the grade percentage for you so you do not have to do it manually! It is important to keep information such as lesson plan notes, grades, class rosters, and more in a communal place, and LearnBoost provides that for teachers. It is a great tool to keep your plans and class data organized, which is a huge benefit for teachers of all grades.

  1. Class Dojo

Class Dojo is a classroom management tool that a lot of teachers use daily and rave about. Before taking this class, I had only heard briefly about what this tool was and did not realize how effective it really can be in elementary classrooms. Class Dojo allows teachers to take attendance, upload pictures, reinforce positive behavior, communicate with parents, and more. It benefits teachers in a way that they can complete class dojoadministrative tasks and communicate with his or her student’s parents all from one location and it also benefits students by providing only positive behavior reinforcements. When a student does something well such as independent work or helping out friend, the teacher can click on that student’s name in Class Dojo and the student will be able to see what they did well that day. Teachers should incorporate Class Dojo into their every day routines by using it every morning to take attendance, using it regularly to positively reinforce students, and also communicate and keep parents posted about weekly activities and their child’s behavior in the classroom. This tool is really important because of all of its capabilities; teacher’s can assess student’s behavior, keep their parents updated, and complete administrative tasks all in one place, which is really helpful for teachers. Class Dojo is very easy to use and would be a great tool for a teacher who wants to incorporate technology into his or her classroom to start using day to day.

  1. GoNoodle

GoNoodle is another classroom management tool I have heard about that works wonders in an elementary classroom, and in homes too! GoNoodle can improve student behavior and attention, increase academic performance, and create an active learning environment by having students get their “wiggles” out through dancing, singing, and playing games. When students have the opportunity to let some energy out during their day, they will be able to focus and attend to learning better, which is why every elementary teacher should use GoNoodle. On a rainy day, during indoor recess, after lunch, at the end of the day, or when the classroom as a whole is distracted and woundgonoodle up, the teacher should log into GoNoodle and have his or her class do some of the activities provided. There are many different categories of activities this tool provides such as guided dancing, sports and exercise, kinesthetic learning, calming, and more. Because of the many options, teachers can use it in almost any situation to let his or her student’s move around or calm down in an educational setting. It is really important to allow kids to be kids and let them burn off some steam during the school day, and GoNoodle allows them to do so in a school appropriate, fun, and engaging way. Using this tool will create a much more focused and engaged classroom in the long run which is why all elementary teachers should use it at least once a day in their classroom.

  1. Prodigy

prodigyProdigy is math gaming software for active engagement purposes targeted for elementary aged students. Some of the features of this game are the Common Core Standards for math included directly into the game, the student creation of an avatar to serve as their character throughout the game, earning coins and badges through “battles” where they must solve math problems to defeat their enemies, a student progress page for teachers to check, and also a planner for individual students so the teacher can choose what type of math he or she will be practicing while playing this game on certain days or weeks. I have seen this tool used in my CSL for EDU 260 (I am in a special education room for students with emotional behavior disorders) and the students love it because they do not even realize they are practicing their math skills because of the fun gaming aspect of Prodigy. This tool would also work well in a regular education room because all students love to play games on their iPads or on the computers. I feel like this tool is an important tool teachers should incorporate into their daily schedules because students thoroughly enjoy it. Students get the benefit of practicing their math skills while feeling like they are not even doing math because they are playing a game. This tool is a really great way to get students actively engaged in learning. The teacher should start using this tool by letting students play Prodigy for 5-10 minutes after lunch or recess to cool down, as a way to get their math brains working, or as a reward. My CSL teacher used it as a way to warm students up for math by allowing them to play for 5 minutes after lunch and she used it as a way to reward students when they finished their work or did something good. This tool can be really effective for building and practicing basic math skills for elementary aged students in a fun and engaging way!

  1. ForAllRubrics

ForAllRubrics is an online rubric-making tool that is very easy to use. The format of the rubric is already created and laid out for the teacher; all he or she has to do is input the categories, point value, and comments for a specific task that needs to be graded. Teachers can export the rubric, print it, or download it as a PDF to give to his or her students. I would recommend using this online rubric-making tool whenever students are doing a project or assignment that needs to be graded based of different categories of criteria. It is very simple to use and teachers can easily add or delete rows and columns to fit their grading criteria. This tool is important for teachers of all grades forallrubricsbecause of how easy it is to use and how it saves time because it is already formatted and set up for the teacher to immediately start inputting their criteria. It is very important to have a consistent, organized grading system, and using ForAllRubrics provides this for the teacher and student for any type of assignment. It is easy to comprehend and navigate for both teachers and students and is a great way tool to create an online rubric.

Reflection 9

Universal Design for Learning:

After this week’s classes, I have learned much more about UDL than I had previously known. I always had a general sense that UDL was planning lessons that suited each child’s needs and learning styles, but now I know that it is much more specific than that. The three categories, representation, expression, and engagement are helpful to keep in mind when lesson planning. From now on, I will try my best to ask myself questions such as, how many different ways can I present this information to my students? How can I provide differentUDL ways for students to express their learning? What choices can I proved to further engage my students? Watching the video of UDL applied in an actual classroom really helped me to see how to successfully incorporate this design and how to meet the needs of all students by providing lots of choice. To really implement UDL, the teacher needs to know the different learning styles of his or her students very well, and I presume incorporating UDL into each lesson will take a lot of practice, but in a classroom full of students with diverse needs and learning styles, and possibly varying disabilities, it can only be beneficial for the class as a whole.


Assistive Technologies:

Expressway-Free-2

I have always known that assistive technologies existed, but I did not know about the wide variety of tools available to support people with all kinds of disabilities. From my tool evaluation presentation and my investigation of assistive communication technologies, I have learned how beneficial and supportive these tools can be for students with language disabilities or other disabilities that make speaking difficult. Technologies such as Word Talk, Verbally, and more allow students to express their feelings and needs through the touch of a button. These kinds of tools are really important because if a child cannot physically express their thoughts or feelings through speech, they will most likely get frustrated and have behavioral issues, which will make getting work accomplished difficult. Through the use of different apps and tools, the student with a disability is easily able to say what they need and want to say, which will ultimately make learning easier for them. I am excited to hear about other assistive technologies in our collaborative presentation on Friday!

Reflection 8

Social Media and Collaboration Tools in the Classroom

social media

Facebook: 

Merit: I really like how it is so easy to collaborate and communicate on Facebook. Posting a status, making a group with certain people, or direct messaging are all effective and easy ways to communicate with others on this social media site. Being able to “like” or even now “dislike” and add other reactions to someone else’s post and also add comments on it allows the user to see other’s ideas or receive feedback and fb logoinput from their friends.

Drawback: There are a lot of advertisements on Facebook, and depending on who you’re friends with, your Newsfeed can get filled up with a lot of inappropriate or uninteresting things, especially if using Facebook in an educational setting. It is very easy to get distracted on this site.

My use of this tool: In an elementary classroom setting, I personally would not consider using this tool with my students. If anything, I would use this tool to communicate important information with the student’s parents. Every day (or week if once a day is too much) I could make a post in a private group page with my student’s parents about what the plan for this week is, what student’s homework is, and general announcements to keep open and clear communication with parents. If a particular student is struggling, I could directly message the parent(s) of this student to let them know what more they could be doing at home to help them.


Twitter:

Merit: The limitation to 140 characters on Twitter is probably the best thing about it. It keeps things short and direct; it also does not disengage the user because overall there is not much to read. If the user has something more to say, they can easily attach a video or link to another website or article.

twitter logoDrawback: Twitter can be very distracting. One can easily get lost looking at a celebrity’s profile, or watching videos and meme’s that fill up on one’s newsfeed. There are also a lot of joke or fake accounts that Tweet information that is not true or relevant information.

My use of this tool: I would consider using Twitter in my future classroom, but only if I was teaching an upper elementary grade. I think it could be very effective for getting student’s opinions on certain topics. For example, I could Tweet a question such as, “What was your favorite part of our unit on volcanoes?” and students could reply to me and I could see what they took away from the unit. 


Pinterest:

Merit: The abundance of resources not only for educational purposes, but also for many other topics as well such as food, clothes, etc. The user can search anything and a large variety of pins will show up that the user can pin to their board. The ideas on Pinterest are endless and that is very beneficial to the user for many different reasons!

Drawback: The merit of having so many different resources in this tool can lead to the drawback, which is distraction. Personally, I get lost by the amount of pins I see on my board daily and get distracted searching for a lot of different things that definitely do not pertain to what I am doing in that moment.

My use of this tool: As a teacher, I would use this tool as a resource for myself ratpinterest logoher than as a tool for my students. There are so many different lesson plan ideas on Pinterest for all ages, grades, and subjects that are so fun and creative! I could make my classroom a more positive environment with decoration ideas and classroom management strategies that can be found in many Pins. Teachers on Pinterest share their ideas so other teachers can use them in their classroom free of charge; this allows the teacher to make the lesson personalized to his or her classroom needs.


Wikispaces:

Merit: Wikispaces is a great tool to use for communication with other users through posts and updates on their page. In education, it is a great way to inform students of upcoming assignments, homework, and due dates. I also like the amount of control the creator of the page has over what is posted not only by the user, but also by others apart of that wiki to make sure that everything is appropriate and content related.

wikispaces logoDrawback: The constant refreshing for new content on wiki is very tedious to the users. If there were a way to see real-time work of other users instead of having to refresh the page to access new content, wiki would be more beneficial.

My use of this tool: I see this tool as helpful for collaboration on assignments and for communication purposes. I do not really see myself using this tool in my elementary aged classroom, but I do see this as a useful tool for secondary education for collaboration on project ideas, class discussions, and as a way to access homework and other assignments in an organized fashion.

 

 

Reflection 7

In my future classroom, I see myself using response cards the most out of the active engagement and learning tools we discussed this past week. I think that response cards are a great way to formatively assess students on any subject matter and they work effectively for just about any age. Response cards are great for not only post assessments, but pre-assessments as well; pre-assessing students is something I see as essential in an

plickers
https://rangbianca.com/2015/03/14/plickers-the-ultimate-assessment-tool/

elementary-aged classroom to help further guide instruction, and response cards are a great and easy way to access that information. I also believe that response cards are very engaging because they are so different than the ordinary paper and pencil quiz. Students have to pay careful attention to how they hold the card to get the answer they want, which is a good way to make sure they are focusing and attending to the quiz.

Response cards definitely have a relative advantage seeing as the pros to this tool heavily outweigh the cons. Some of the benefits of response cards are that all students have access to them, meaning they do not need a smart phone or device to complete the quiz, they are free of cost up to a certain amount, they are engaging and not distracting, and the teacher, and only the teacher, receives immediate feedback of student’s responses. Some of the drawbacks to this tool however, are that younger students may be confused and need direction on how to properly hold the card to show their answer, and the teacher is limited to providing only multiple choice questions, so he or she would need to use a different method of assessment if they wanted a different type of response. I would definitely use a tool like Plickers to pre-assess students on a certain topic, lets say, on their knowledge of a quarter. I could create a multiple choice quiz and question students about their previous knowledge of how much a quarter is, what it looks like, etc. to get a general sense of where I should begin instruction. I would simply display the Plickers quiz on the projector or interactive whiteboard, hand students their assigned and laminated card, and scan their answers when they are ready to answer. This way, I can quickly assess which students can begin practicing with quarters, and which will need more direct instruction.

plickers-e1441110614914
http://www.learningshared.com.au/2015/09/02/tekky-brekky-plickers/

The active learning tool I least see myself using in my future classroom would have to be student’s mobile devices. First, most elementary aged students do not have cell phones of their own (but you never know these days) so there will be students who could

no-cell-phone-classroom-sign-s2-0359
http://www.smartsign.com/cell-phones-prohibited-signs

not participate. Second, I envision this tool to be a huge distraction to the whole class. Students would be so excited to use their phones in class that they might not focus on what they should be doing, or get distracted by a game or app they downloaded. Third, most schools have a school-wide no cell phone policy rule, so I would not want to encourage students to break the rules and disrespect authority. Overall, trying to use mobile devices to actively engage elementary aged students would probably do just the opposite: disengage them from focusing and learning, and encourage them to use their devices for other purposes.

Multimedia Presentation (Reflection 7)

Click here to view my multimedia presentation.

Presenter Notes:

  • The students will have a handout with a map of Massachusetts with all of the landmarks/cities labeled for them as a reference on the final slide when I ask for volunteers to drag the name of the city/landmark to its appropriate location.
  • Before I introduce the states in New England to the students I will ask students if they already know some of the states that make up this region and if they can point to them on the map in slide 1.
  • For every slide with a state on it I will make sure to point out the capitol and other important landmarks and clearly say their names so students can hear the pronunciation.
  • For the Massachusetts slide I will tell students this is what we are going to be focusing on for the next couple of days. I will also ask students who can point out what area we live in on the Massachusetts map (they can circle this using the pen or highlighter on ActivInspire)
  • On the handout they will have the link address to the mrnussbaum.com website where they will do their research about Massachusetts.
  • The last slide will also have the link to this website and I will show students how to navigate the website, assign their groups and a city/landmark for them to investigate, and then introduce their presentation project.

Reflection 6

Interactive Whiteboards

There are many different ways I could incorporate an interactive whiteboard into my future elementary classroom that would not only benefit the student’s learning, but would serve as an important teaching tool for me as a teacher, too. Here are some of my ideas for interactive whiteboard incorporation:

  1. One specific way I could use the interactive whiteboard, or rather, the students could use it, is for administrative tasks, such as attendance and lunch count. In one of our readings, one classroom teacher used the interactive whiteboard for such tasks and it was very successful and also saved the teacher some time to do other things in the morning, like prepare for the day. The student can drag his or her picture or

    individualized icon to the designated area when they arrive in the morning. The student could also drag his or her picture/icon to indicate what they would like for lunch that day, i.e., lunch from home, pizza, salad, hot lunch, etc. Activinspire flipcharts could be useful in this situation so I could set it up so that each student’s picture/icon is locked in place, and they can drag a copy of it to a desired location.

    apple-tree
    https://www.tes.com/lessons/YBbCpMX5–5lgA/interactive-whiteboard-iwb
  2. Another way to use an interactive whiteboard in my future classroom would be for polls or assessments through the use of clickers. If I gave a math lesson on triangles, and wanted to quickly assess students initial understanding of what a triangle is, I could bring up a poll/quiz site on the interactive whiteboard, and pass out clickers for students to use; then I could receive immediate feedback of student’s understanding and see what I might need to spend more time going over and who needs more one-on-one instruction. The interactive whiteboard can easily display this information to me and to the students so they can see quiz questions in a bigger and brighter format and font with images or videos, rather than simply on a piece of paper in plain, black print.
  3. A third way that an interactive whiteboard could be useful in my future classroom would be to display online resources for my students. In my pre-practicum, I have seen the teacher use her SmartBoard to display books, textbooks, images, videos and many other online tools that are resourceful for her students during writing time. Students are able to have a big visual of the text and images displayed on the
    reading-from-whiteboard
    https://www.tes.com/lessons/mK1Q9K_35n1Agw/what-can-you-do-with-an-iwb-interactive-whiteboard

    whiteboard that they use as a reference for writing informative sentences. I can definitely imagine myself doing this as a teacher, because that way, every student has access to the information they need to complete an activity on the whiteboard. It would also allow for me, as the teacher, to walk around the room and work with students one-on-one instead of answering questions about spelling, content, and other things because all students have easy access to the material displayed on the interactive whiteboard and can flip to necessary pages on their own.


What excites me most about what I’ve learned so far in this course:

So far in this course, I am excited most about the flipped classroom approach to teaching. Before reading the articles and watching the assigned videos, I had never heard of this approach. After learning more about it, I am very interested in how well it works for different teachers and groups of students, especially elementary aged students, since that is what I am going into. Although I am skeptical about this approach and how well it would work with me personally as a teacher, my skepticism makes me want to do more research about flipped classrooms and see them put into action. I am interested and excited about the idea of meaningful learning and hands-on activities during every classroom session; this really allows students to apply what they have learned into various forms of activities and make more connections with the content, which is what learning is all about. I would be eager to try this approach with my future classroom when I am a teacher to see if it truly benefits the students and increases academic success as all the articles and videos have stated. I would love to find a local elementary classroom that teaches using the flipped classroom method and observe how their day operates. It is a really innovative approach to instruction and I am very intrigued by the idea of it!

flipped-classroom
http://tccl.rit.albany.edu/knilt/index.php/Unit_1:_Using_a_Flipped_Classroom_Approach

Reflection 5

Initial Ideas for Lesson Project

massachusetts-ts600
http://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-state-benefits/massachusetts-state-veterans-benefits.html

Grade: 3rd grade

Topic: Social studies

Lesson 1:

Objectives:

  • Students will take notes on the multimedia presentation about New England and Massachusetts (e.g. labeling their maps) when given a blank handout of some of the slides from the presentation.
  • Students will begin researching with a partner about a certain city/landmark in Massachusetts on mrnussbaum.com for their Prezi project.
  • Students will complete an Exit Ticket in which they have to state three facts that they have learned about Massachusetts or New England with reference to their notes.

MA Curriculum Frameworks:

NEW ENGLAND AND MASSACHUSETTS

3.1 On a map of the United States, locate the New England states (Connecticut, Rhode

Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine) and the Atlantic Ocean.

On a map of Massachusetts, locate major cities and towns, Cape Ann, Cape Cod, the

Connecticut River, the Merrimack River, the Charles River, and the Berkshire Hills.(G)

Essential questions:

  • Why is it important to know about the region and state that we live in?
  • What are the most important landmarks in Massachusetts?

Assessment plan:

            Since this lesson will be mainly a multimedia presentation given by the teacher and student investigation, the assessments will be primarily informal. The teacher should observe and make sure students are labeling their blank maps based on the presentation so they can have them as a reference. The teacher should also make sure students are staying on track while they are investigating about a city/landmark online with their partner for their project. The teacher should assist the students in their research online and make sure they are using the right website(s) for investigation.

            As a formal assessment, the teacher can give an Exit Ticket (maybe online?) where the students must list three facts they have learned about New England or Massachusetts to make sure they were taking good notes and paying attention to the presentation and their research. The teacher will grade this with a check plus, check, or check minus.

Lesson 2:

Objectives:

MA Curriculum Frameworks:

NEW ENGLAND AND MASSACHUSETTS

3.1 On a map of the United States, locate the New England states (Connecticut, Rhode

Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine) and the Atlantic Ocean.

On a map of Massachusetts, locate major cities and towns, Cape Ann, Cape Cod, the

Connecticut River, the Merrimack River, the Charles River, and the Berkshire Hills.(G)

Essential questions:

  • How can we present our Massachusetts landmark/city through Prezi most effectively?
  • What are some of the features of the Massachusetts landmark/city that make it so important and special?

Assessment plan:

            As a form of formative assessment, the teacher will help students with their Prezi projects (even though they already know how to use Prezi). The teacher should make sure students are putting accurate information into their projects through observation and conversation about their landmark/city.

            The formal assessment will be the online quiz about New England/Massachusetts that the students will take. I will choose an online assessment tool that will give instant feedback to the students and the teacher. This will mostly likely be a short quiz, seeing as the students have only had one lesson with a brief presentation on the topic.

Technology Ideas/Plan:

  • Students could create a Prezi for the student project with a partner or two about a certain landmark or city in Massachusetts based off a rubric (students can reference the mrnussbaum.com page for these landmarks).
  • Lesson 1 will contain the multimedia presentation (PowerPoint or Prezi) about New England and Massachusetts given by the teacher.
  • The multimedia presentation in Lesson 1 will most likely be short so the students can do most of the research about Massachusetts and its features online themselves.
  • The assessment in Lesson 2 can be done through Easy Test Maker, or the website we used in class as a quiz for the tools in the classroom to get instant feedback (need a website where I can add photos).
  • The interdisciplinary part of the lesson could be making sure students are using proper spelling and punctuation when labeling their maps and creating their presentations (interdisciplinary with ELA? Not sure yet). OR—on mrnussbaum.com I found a game where the students have to label what fraction of the states in the US is a certain color (interdisciplinary with math).

Here are some of the websites I found that may be useful to me in my lessons:

Reflection 4

Teacher Interview

The teacher I interviewed for my reflection is named Mr. David Antonelli. daveAlong with being my neighbor, Mr. Antonelli is a Special Education teacher at Nipmuc Regional High School. I asked him some questions about his use of technology in his classroom and then reflected on his responses. Questions are indicated by Q, answers by A, and my reflective thoughts by R:


Q: What kind of technology is available to you and your students every day? Is the technology use 1 to 1 and does every student have access to a technological tool?

A: Each of our students have iPads with many of the same apps that all high school students use, like Notability so we can email them documents that they can respond to right on their devices.  We use Google docs and IXL like other students in the class. We use apps like iDress for Weather, GroceryIQ, Interview app, and have a Weebly classroom website where everything is posted for them.  Academically we use IXL for instruction in all areas of functional math and reading, iDiary to answer what they would do in certain

google-docs-icons
Google doc logo pic found here

real life situations, and news2 you app for current events weekly, and specific reading apps for leveled reading comprehension. We use a Tobii language system with retinal scan for one of our students to communicate with us as well.  We consult with a woman working for East Seals that sets up meaningful apps and program for our students to access in and out of school.

We use iPads donated thru Flutie Foundation at our vocational worksites for apps like a timecard program to punch in and out of as well as a social studies app that allows the kids to see short videos that outline tasks step by step (to sort clothes and hang them, to set up cafe making coffee,..)

We use secure computers linked to the Natick Army Labs to look up contracts written by companies working with the army to provide supplies and goods to the troops overseas.

R: I think it is great that Mr. Antonelli is integrating so much technology in his classroom. I really like how his students use a lot of the same apps and tools that regular education students use as well. It seems like they use organizational tools such as Notability and Weebly so the students can easily access their work inside and outside of class. He not only uses technology tools for academic purposes, but he also uses them for real world scenarios as well, which I am sure greatly benefits his students who have a wide range of disabilities; these tools can help them in the real world as they become adults. It is great that all students have iPads and that Mr. Antonelli seems very knowledgeable about which tools are most beneficial to meet the needs of his students.


Q: How does technology use in your classroom differentiate instruction for students with special needs? Is it beneficial to their learning or not?

A: Very beneficial… we are able to use the technology to have the kids use things like Apple TV to show their responses as well as their peers on the wide screen so they learn how they can answer things in many different ways and can see how other high school students answer as well.  Lessons can then be modified to their instructional level. Kids show their parents the class website for upcoming events, class outings and monthly get together as well as pictures of things we do during our day.

R: It seems as though technology integration works extremely well for Mr. A’s students to differentiate instruction, make real world connections and applications, and see how other high school students respond to the same questions they are being asked. Their use of technology also keeps the student’s parents informed about what the students are learning and doing in their classes day to day, which is a great form of communication.

Here is a video explaining some of the pros and cons of using iPads in special education classrooms:


Q: What technologies have you found that work really well in your classroom for your students?

A: Websites and apps geared to daily living skills (for recipes and cooking directions, doing laundry, making a bed…) and websites and apps geared to transitional skills (how to fill out apps and government forms, personal data forms).

R: As helpful as academic technologies can be to his students, Mr. A will not be their teacher forever, so he thinks it is very important to teach them basic life skills that they will carry with them after high school. It seems like these kinds of apps could not only be helpful to students with disabilities or special needs, but also to general education students as well! I would be much more informed about how to fill out government forms or personal data forms if I had practice through technology. Tools that he uses such as Grocery IQ and more are technologies that can really help his students develop life skills, and it is really neat how he integrates that into his curriculum.


Q: Are there any technologies you have found that do not work well in your classroom?

A: No, when it’s something that doesn’t apply to us we look for something alternate that can help us in other ways at our level of understanding.

R: Mr. A seems very confident and comfortable with the technology his students use in his classroom. He knows how to find the best technologies for his students and I think that is a quality that is difficult and takes time to acquire, but every 21st century teacher should have. When something does not fit well, he simply tosses it aside and moves on instead of confusing or frustrating his students (or himself!).


Q: Do you have easy access to an IT person if the technology fails or if you need assistance?

A: Yes, on site building IT workers as well as a very good relationship with IT staff in Milford at Avatar Computers which service our program (as well as computers we work with at Natick Army Labs and their east coast IT dept.)

R: I think it is great that Mr. A has a good relationship with Nipmuc’s IT staff and also the staff that service his program. These relationships are something that will only benefit him and his students, because if he is having trouble or needs an explanation, he can easily contact these people who are trained to help solve any technology problems he may face.


Q: Are your students required to use technology in your classroom? If so, how often do you use technology in your class?

A: Yes just like typical high school students. We use technology daily in each period.

nipmuc_regional_high_school_circlelogo
Nipmuc logo found here

R: It’s great that Mr. A’s students get to have the same experience as the rest of the high school students at Nipmuc. This makes them feel included and they also get to develop their technological skills through all the different apps and tools they use on a day-to-day basis for all different subjects. Before this interview, I knew that all the general education students were using iPads, but I was unsure if the students with special needs used them, too. I am glad that they are using so much technology, because from Mr. A’s feedback, it seems to be working well and is a great benefit for them. The ample amount of technological tools they have access to through their iPads, computers, and more help them organize, write, practice, and overall learn more effectively in each class they take.

Click here to read an interesting article about a very special job that Mr. Antonelli’s students get to partake in that helps the government! Quotes from Mr. A are found in the article.

Reflection 3

Jeopardy Rocks! 

(and is fun to play in the classroom too!)


https://www.jeopardy.rocks/

Background:

Last semester for my math methods class I was placed in a 3rd grade classroom for my pre-practicum. When it came time to teach my lesson, the students were studying multiplication and division, and touching upon fact families and practicing word problems. Because this class was filled with students of many different learning, physical,

jeopardy-690
http://www.okayplayer.com/news/questlove-prince-aap-rocky-were-all-featured-as-jeopardy-answers-last-night.html

and behavioral disabilities, I thought for my full class lesson it would be fun to play a game with the students, that way all students would be engaged and participating. I decided to take these categories and make them into a math Jeopardy game for the students. I hand made cards with different multiplication, division, word, and fact family problems and ranked them from easiest (100 points) to hardest (400 points).

The Problem:

On the day of my lesson, I taped my math Jeopardy board up on the white board, and appointed a team captain (teams were pre-made based off where the students were sitting). After I explained the rules to the game, we were ready to play. As the game went

jeopardy-meme
http://memeguy.com/photo/101473/the-next-best-thing-to-getting-the-right-answer-on-jeopardy

on, I noticed some students were having trouble seeing the cards I made; even though I read each problem out loud so everyone heard me, I realized not everyone could see clearly, which was disadvantageous to them and ultimately to their team. I also realized that some of the students with disabilities were struggling to see and read the Jeopardy cards as well, which made it difficult for them to fully participate. I had to repeat myself a lot and remove the card from the board and scan it around the room so everyone to get a better look at it. After my lesson, I self-reflected and realized that maybe I should have used an online tool to present the game.

The Solution:

If I were to teach this lesson again, instead of making a hand made Jeopardy board, I would definitely use an online generator to facilitate problems that could arise, like the one that came up during my lesson. This would have solved the problem of the students having trouble seeing and reading the board. On the website, Jeopardy.rocks, the font is big, colorful, and engaging for the students, which is why it would have been better if i created my Jeopardy game from this site. By having the game projected on the board by using a technological tool instead of a hand made one, it would have been easier for all students to actively participate and work with their teams to find the answers to the problems. I created a board with problems similar to those I used during my lesson on this website (my game is in the link below). I wish I had found this website beforehand!

image2
The font and size of the writing is clear and big for optimal view. This is a picture taken from my phone from the game I created on this site..

My game can be found here:

https://www.jeopardy.rocks/multdivjeopardy

Reflection 2

Classroom Set-Up

classroom-set-up
Example of Classroom Set-Up

A.T.TIPSCAST Episode #61: Room (Re-)Arranging

       The first tool I am exploring is the Classroom Set-Up tool. I figured since for my first tool evaluation I evaluated a similar tool about organizing a classroom space called Classroom Architect, I could compare the two and see which one I found to be more beneficial to teachers. The site is found at: teacher.scholastic.com/tools/class_setup.

Benefits:

  • The user can change the size of the objects he or she is inserting into their classroom on this software
  • The user can label the names of their students and drag their number, i.e. student 1, student 2, etc. into the classroom so they can also assign seating.
  • The software is overall straightforward and easy to use.

Drawbacks:

  • Immediately, I noted that the user is limited to three shapes to choose from that best represent their classroom: square, tall rectangle, and wide rectangle. On Classroom Architect, the software allows you to inset the dimensions of the room to get the most accurate representation of your classroom.
  • The user cannot save different floor plans into this website, so they will either have to print the one they came up with or start from scratch and lose the design they created. It would be easier if the user could easily switch between the floor plans they created to see which one has the best layout for their classroom.
  • The option of objects the user is able to drag into their classroom is not very extensive. It is missing some important objects such as an easel, beanbags, televisions, chairs, a sink, a projector, and many other typical classroom objects.
MJS Desks, nws, sears, 1
Many classrooms have more than just desks; there are beanbags and a lot of open floor space.

http://archive.jsonline.com/news/education/114430984.html

       In regard to classroom designing, I do not think there is a relative advantage to this tool because I discovered drawbacks that outweigh the benefits. Because I know that there is more advanced software available to design your classroom that does not have some of these drawbacks, I would not use Classroom Set-up as my first choice. I did like how the teacher could label their students and incorporate them into their classroom design, however, inserting numbers that represent students could get in the way of the physical design of the room; also, there are different websites that allow you to make a seating chart alone. The drawback of not being able to have multiple floor plans available while designing your classroom makes it difficult to compare and contrast different designs and decide which one is best for your students and your classroom traffic. I also do not like the limitation of objects that Classroom Set-up offers. Classrooms are filled with many different objects that take up space in the room, and I think it is important to incorporate these essential objects when planning how to arrange your classroom. Overall, I believe there is not a relative advantage to this site and I would not use Classroom Set-up to design my future classroom; with the more effective and advanced technology available on the Internet, a teacher can get a more realistic perspective of what they’re classroom will look like when it comes to life by using these other sites.


 

SchoolTube

schooltube

http://embed.ly/provider/schooltube

       The second tool I explored is called SchoolTube, a website for appropriate, educational videos accessible for teachers to use in the classroom. It can be found here: https://www.schooltube.com/

Benefits:

  • This website is free of charge and you do not need to create an account to access it and use it. If you want to post videos, then you will need to create an account.
  • All videos are appropriate to show in an educational setting.
  • Videos for students of all ages are provided on this website.
  • There are many different categories to search for such as, academics & education, careers & tech. ed., history, music, sports, weather, and many more.
  • The home page offers different categories such as trending videos, featured schools, and also videos that correspond to different subjects like history, math, and literacy.
  • Students can upload videos for assignments, projects, assessments, etc. that the teacher can view by title search.

Drawbacks:

  • If one is not familiar with how to upload a video, uploading one to SchoolTube may be difficult for them.

Overall, SchoolTube definitely has a relative advantage, seeing as there are no obvious drawbacks to this site. It is easily accessible to teachers and students, and the videos are safe and appropriate to show in a classroom setting. Unlike sites such as YouTube or Vimeo that may have inappropriate video content or advertisements, SchoolTube is guaranteed to be safe for teacher and student use. One site says that SchoolTube offers skills such as “communication & collaboration, creativity, and tech skills” (https://www.commonsense.org/education/website/schooltube). The videos SchoolTube offers are informative, enjoyable, and very beneficial for student learning and I would definitely use this site during my teaching experience. Since there are such a wide variety of videos on this site, I could pull up a video in regard to any subject the class was focusing on during a lesson that will help further instruction and allow students to make deeper connections to the content being taught.