While thinking about the importance of keeping students safe at school and on the bus, it can be easy to forget that there is also a threat that is posed to students as they access technology. While blocking certain sites from schools is important, we cannot block everything, and most students have access to just about everything from home. For this reason, it is critical that we educate our students on the proper use of technology and how to be safe when they are using it.
This can be a difficult topic to explain to a first grader, however, there are good resources that can aid teachers in having this conversation and teaching their students. One site that I found was called Common Sense Education. On this site there were age appropriate lesson plans for teachers to begin to help students be safe as they navigate the internet. This site linked their lessons with CCSS so that teachers are easily able to include them into their daily plans.
After creating this digital story, I could see myself using this type of technology in my classroom. I think that this would be a great way to continue to engage students and keep their attention. I also have been finding that after practicing with the technology a few times, it does not take that long to use this effectively. After only a few minutes of using Spark, I found that it was incredibly simple to use but also was able to create a video that focused on what I thought was important for this lesson. I think that there are a few different ways that I could use this, one being to introduce unit projects and give examples to the students. I could also use this as a way to start a flipped classroom for students to give them lessons and materials to watch a home, so we could then practice in the class. I also think that this could be used in English classes, as a teacher I could use this to give book talks, where students could use this to narrate and illustrate their own stories.
Technology is becoming more and more prevalent in the classroom. Schools have class sets of chromebooks or ipads, and teachers have smart boards at their disposal at many different districts. For this reason, it is critical that teachers spend time getting to know how to use these different resources effectively. If this is not done, then it is likely that teachers will use technology to simply replace different aspects of their teaching that could have been done on paper. Blogs are created instead of notebooks, and google documents are filled out instead of worksheets. While this is using technology, it is not utilizing it to its full potential. Teachers need to spend time getting to know the different technological resources that are at their disposal that can help to transform their teaching. For example, this can be done by showing students how molecules bond at a molecular level through a simulation, how people travel in another country, or the formation in which the the Confederates attacked the Union Army and why this was important. Technology can make what was very difficult or almost impossible to illustrate in a classroom, and make these concepts more accessible to students.
This can also transform student learning by engaging them in higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Instead of answering questions about what the student has just read, the student can utilize technology to use higher levels of thinking to create. Technology has opened so many different doors for students to do this and show their understanding of the material. Students can create videos and online presentations, which allow them to further delve into the material they are learning, but also engage in it in a inquisitive way in which they are responsible for what they want to learn more about. This differentiated learning can be more attractive to these students as they feel invested and take ownership in what they are learning.
PBS Learning Media-This site allows students and teachers to access an array of different materials that focus on Civics, History, and Geography, as well as many other content areas.
Illuminations-This site allows teachers to search for lessons and interactive games for their students to play that align with CCSS. Students can then access this site and play fun games that support differentiated learning.
Math Learning Center-This site provides teachers with lesson resources and interactive manipulative that can be used as a class or by individual students to support learning.
Inside Mathematics-This site provides teachers with lessons as well as progress monitoring for students in specific standards.
I would enjoy using a non-linear presentation in my classroom if I was presenting a very information heavy topic to my students. One thing that is nice about Prezi is that you can help the students see the big picture by zooming out and then, you can help them to understand the details as you zoom into each area. By formatting it in this way, I think this helps students to organize the information in their mind as they are storing it. If you were to try and do the same thing on normal power point or even lecturing, I could see the students getting lost in the information. The accessibility for the student then to interact with the prezi and how the information is presented further is also beneficial for the student whereas this would be much more difficult to do with a lecture. A topic where this would work well to illustrate would be a timeline. I would start completely zoomed out and show this to the students so that they could see the big picture first, then I would go back to fill in the details. By knowing what was coming, students might be able to better understand a series of events and how they led to one another. Another instance where this might work well would be when you have many sub concepts that all support a main idea. Prezi is a great space to create intricate thinking maps that can support student understanding.
When I was looking for resources some of the sites that came up were blogs of some random teacher and what they happened to think was a good resource. While these are good to consider, we want to be giving our students the very best, therefore we must be careful to either research these sources or pull from sources that we know are reliable. When I was doing my google search I found the Math Learning Center when I was looking for math manipulatives that were online and interactive. I decided to look more into this one when I saw that this was a website that was sponsored by the NSF. Since I knew that this was a reputable foundation, I continued looking at this website and ended up using it. As I was searching, I was also very influenced by the appearance of the website. If it was organized and professional, I spent more time looking into it, however if it was not I usually did not waste much more time looking here. In the case of Inside Mathematics, I saw that they were referencing the CCSS and that they were sponsored by the University of Texas, since this is a university I thought that it would be a reputable resource.