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The assignments covered in this course gave me more insight in technology that will benefit me in my future classroom and aid my students in using technology effectively. Personal Webpage, digital story, cover letter, personal brochure, storybird, blogging, kidspiration, spreadsheets, databases, and developing a webquesting were all products that were completed in this course. Along with this, we were also given time to explore using a smartboard, mimio, document camera, and overhead projector. Other tools we were shown include animoto, toondoo, prezi, voicethread, podcast and effective powerpoints. The school an individual teaches in will not be equipped with all of these devices, however there are many effective activities and projects one could do with either of these. The best thing about these tools is that they can be used for any subject and grade level with a little bit of creativity!
Blogs can easily be used to communicate with parents about assignments and activities that are done in class. They can also be used to remind students of assignments that were done in class. It is easy for parents or students to comment on a certain post if they have questions or want to let the teacher know something quickly. Blogs are more interactive than a webpage.
Teachers could also have students keep a blog as an online journal or an individual page to keep up with class work and projects done in or out of class. Students could easily view other students work by looking on their blogs and teacher could also leave comments on their work or entries.
Animoto and Voki are both very simply and engaging for students can use. Teacher would have to model how to use both of these devices for students. Animoto may be a better choice when working with older students rather than KG, 1st, or 2nd grade students. Voki on the other hand can be used with younger students just as easily. The teacher could used both of these to introduce lessons as engagement for the students. Students can also use animoto and voki to enhance an activity they are asked to complete. Animoto includes a video while Voki includes creating an avatar then giving it words to say. Both are great devices to use in the classroom either by the teacher or the students.
Kidspiration: I enjoyed creating the Kidspiration activity. I definitely plan to use it in my future classroom. It is really easy to create an interactive activity for students to use either in centers, in groups, or as a class. These activities could be introductions to larger lessons. Because it is interactive, it is easier for the teacher to follow the student’s work and correct or scaffold as needed.
Database: It was rather confusing to get the database created. I was more familiar with how spreadsheets are used in Excel and not familiar with Microsoft Access. A database can be used for easy access to your students’ records and parent contacts.
1. Storybird— was engaging and guided story making though limiting author to specific illustrations for each page of the story
2. Document Camera—makes instruction much easier than using an overhead projector; any shape object and colors can be shown using the document camera; students can easily use
1. Photostory—it wasn’t a waste of time to use it again but instead made it easier for me to complete the assignment
How students can use this technology:
1. Storybird and Photostory: writing stories or poems are obvious uses of these devices, however students may also use them to introduce themselves, or talk about something they like or a hobby, or write a book review, etc…Storybird however limits the visual aspect of the end product whereas Photostory allows voice, music, and uploading pictures of choice.
2. Document Camera: can be used in any class to aid in instruction or to demonstrate an activity or process. Math lessons would be a great where teacher can model how to do a problem or explain how a she got an answer. Students can also easily use the document camera in this same way to show and explain to the rest of the class what they have done.
I found Storybird a very creative story making process. Usually when one creates a story, he/she begins with an idea of the list of characters, or the moral, or the problem and solution. As the story is being written, ideas may change, characters may be added or taken away, more details may be added, etc… After or during the writing of the story, the author may choose to include illustrations to better depict for the reader what is happening. I, for one, have not found it easy to create a story this way. Even though the way we are taught to start writing is brainstorming main ideas, then work on details and illustrations. Storybird forces you to work the other way—completely backwards from the way previously taught.
I like the idea of providing illustrations for the stories with illustrators for two reasons: the pictures look uniformed and the illustrator is recognized. When I have attempted to find pictures to go with my stories, I come across many to choose from; however they seldom ever look like they are meant for the same story. Can you imagine reading a story about a hippo but its weight fluctuated on every page or its skin color changed throughout the story. The author did not mean for this to happen; it was due to the choice of pictures. Storybird provides the pictures for a story and the pictures look like they were meant for the same story. With Storybird, the author chooses the illustrator with the pictures he/she feels will best represent the idea of the story he/she has. The author then creates more ideas and writes the story around the illustrations. Storybird also recognizes the illustrator as all novels usually would if they contain illustrations. This is hard to do if the pictures were taken from Google Images or copy and pasted from another site. In these cases, the correct illustrator or photographer is not always given the credit he/she deserves.
“A picture speaks a thousand words.” Before even opening the Storybird website, I had an idea for my story, however seeing the layout of the website, forced me to approach the assignment differently. I looked at the ranges of illustrations by the different illustrators. All of them spoke to me. I felt little stories being developed inside of my head as scrolled through the illustrations. When I found the ones I liked, I enjoyed putting them in the order I wanted and adding words to it. The story changed several times as I changed the order of the pictures and added and took away some pictures. It was an engaging activity for me and so I know my students will enjoy it. In my classroom, students will be asked to write a story with any moral that they choose and they must have a problem and solution present someplace of the story. Using Storybird, this assignment gives them some place to start, even though my prompt is not as specific. It will also be easy for me to model this process of creating a story using Storybird to the class.
The blog The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller can be used in a diverse population of students, including ESL, AIG, and special needs in the following ways:
1. The blogger has included a list of books which are related to the National Council of Teachers of English’s Children’s Literature Assembly’s (NCTE/CLA) Notable Children’s Books in the English Language Arts committee. Donalyn Miller was a member of this committee in 2012. The committee is entrusted with the task of choosing 30 books for grades K through 8 that would best benefit the language arts classroom. Miller mentions that “books selected must meet at least one of the following criteria: deal explicitly with language, such as plays on words, word origins, or the history of language; demonstrate uniqueness in the use of language or style; invite child response or participation” (Book Whisperer 2). Because these books were chosen for their great literature, teachers are provided with a good selection of books to bring to their classroom. The books are a range of reading levels so AIG students and special needs students will be comfortable with at least one of the books shown. Some of the books have Spanish and Chinese titles. This can mean that they will also include some Spanish and Chinese words that students of either background will understand or that some of the culture or customs brought out of the book will be familiar to the child.
2. Miller states that teachers should make every day read aloud day. She says that students gain a lot from reading aloud including building community, exposing children to different books and genres, and supporting developing readers. Reading aloud benefits AIG, ESL, and specials needs students. All of the students can listen to the student read at the same time. This will benefit them and create a community in the classroom. The students will have good reading modeled for them from the teacher and they will enjoy it.