Technology in the Classroom (Part 4)

This semester I have learned a lot of new things about technology and the different ways I can incorporate technology into my future classroom. One thing I’ve learned for sure is that using technology really does engage students. I must say I have explored many different uses for technology this semester and it has made me anxious to put them to use in my future classroom.

Three concepts I feel strongly about:

  • ISTE Standard 1b: Engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.

I think this an important concept because students have access to social media and it is a source where students find out what is going on in the world around them. There is much change in the world today that effects how we live no matter where we live. In order to engage students in exploring real-world issues I would incorporate the use of social media sites such as Twitter. Twitter allows students to explore real world events, as well as opportunity to connect with people around the world. News spreads very rapidly through social media and I think twitter is a great and current informational social site for students to gather information from real people. The students can put their creative minds to work and think of ways to solve problems not only in the U.S but in other countries or places as well.


  • ISTE Standard 3c: Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation

I think this is an important concept because the collaboration of different groups of people is beneficial to learning. Involving students and peers as well as parents and the community allows everyone to work together to achieve goals. Everyone can learn from another person and each person brings different aspects or perspective to learning. In order to obtain resources to support student innovation I would incorporate blogs into the classroom. This allows parents, students, peer, and community members access and share information. It is a good source of communication which makes it easy for others to access from anywhere they have internet. It also gives students room to be creative and receive quick feedback from the teacher.


  •  ISTE Standard 4c: Promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information

I think this concept this is particularly important, especially in secondary education. Middle school can be some rough years for most boys and girl. Since I will be teaching middle school, I think promoting and modeling digital etiquette, as well as responsible social interactions is more than necessary when teaching. I would incorporate this standard by using the digital and online storytelling technology. Using these types of technology will allow students to create stories describing experiences and knowledge of irresponsible social interactions. Students can create stories about bullying, cyberbullying, plagiarism, etc. that model their understanding of the differences between negative and positive social interactions.


Technology in the Classroom (Part 3)

Blogs can be used to communicate with students and parents in varying ways. Some ways blogs can be used to communicate with students is for lesson reviews, assignments, discussions and more. For example, I can post homework assignments on the blog site for students to access and complete the assignments. I can also post a brief review of key concepts learn in the classroom lesson and ask the students to share any questions they may have about the lesson in a response to the blog. I can also create a blog for discussion that may instruct the students to create their own blogs sharing their thoughts and reflections about the classroom lesson. Some ways blogs can also be used to communicate with parents is to keep them informed about lessons taught each week, classroom/school news, larger assignments such as test, and projects, questions and more. For example, I can create a blog giving parents a preview on weekly lessons so they will know what I am teaching the students each week. I can also use blogs to inform parents of when students have tests or projects. The blogs can be used to inform parents of classroom/school news like when report cards and progress reports have been given to the students. I can ultimately use blogs for parents to access and respond to the blogs with questions they may have for me.

Voki is a technological program that can be used and integrated into classroom lessons. Some good things about voki is that it is easy to use, students can create their own voki character, teachers can create their own voki character, it is free for the basic voki, it can be used to present lessons or assignments, create presentations and it has a 15-day free trial for the more premium like features such as voki classroom, voki presenter, and voki classroom/presenter bundle. A bad thing is that is costs for upgraded voki types with a price range of $29.95-$89.95 for the premium like features. I can see myself using this program in the classroom to introduce lessons as well as teach lessons. I can use my voki to talk for me during class as a way for the students to get all of my instructions through a form of technology. It incorporates a more unique and fun way of teaching a lesson without the traditional way of standing in front of the class talking the whole time. I can use my voki to teach the students content. I can also use voki to introduce new content or lessons by giving an overview of what will be taught in the upcoming unit.

Animoto is another technological program that can be used and integrated into classroom lessons. Some good things about Animoto is that it’s fast and easy, it has a free trial, you can upload pictures, create your own videos, add music and text. A bad thing about this program is the cost ranges from $16-$64 a month that can also be paid annually. I wouldn’t use this program in my classroom mainly because I like programs that provide more animated features. This program is a bit more cut and dry than the ones I would like for my students to use. Although it does have great features, I don’t think it will allow students the opportunity to bring out more of their adventurous creativity.

GoAnimate is another technological program that can be used and integrated into classroom lessons. Some good things about GoAnimate is they provide a 14-day free trial, it’s easy to use, allows you to create your own animated characters, add music, sound, and effects, allows you to create infographic, whiteboard animated, and 2D animated videos. Some bad things about this program is that it costs $39 a month, $299 a year for the basic plan and it is not multi user friendly. I would use this program in the classroom to create videos that will review units for my students. Students can watch the videos I have created and take notes as well as pose questions on the things that were displayed in the video that relates or is an example of what was taught in the unit. This gives students a visual overview of content covered in the unit which can serve as a study guide before being tested or assessed.

After reading the articles How Twitter Can Be Used as a Powerful Educational Tool; Everything you need to know about teaching with Instagram; Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy, and David Truss: Pair of Dimes for Your Thoughts, I have learned some new ways of incorporating technology into the classroom. I was shocked to see that Instagram and Twitter can be used to engage students in lessons, especially because it is considered social media that is commonly used for personal use. I like the idea of using Instagram to post photos relating to curriculum content with a caption asking a question for the students to answer. Students answer the question(s) by leaving a comment(s) which will be viewed by peers who follow the account. The students are helping each other learn by sharing knowledge while at home on their phones. The article Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy elaborated on this idea, and I am very fond of it. This article also would support my idea of using Instagram for test reviews. I could post pictures that relate to test material and ask the students questions, while also providing a visual. The students would answer by leaving a comment. Being that the students can all see each other’s comments it would be a great way for students to exchange knowledge and help each other study the material. It also allows the students to be interactive which as a result becomes an online study group session.

Twitter can also be used for ideas including providing information about a current real world event as it’s happening. This can be done by simple hashtags. The idea of communicating with people around the world easily and being able to relate it to classroom lessons so intriguing. The article How Twitter Can Be Used as a Powerful Educational Tool described how eager the students were to follow their teacher’s twitter page and were thrilled that she had created one. The article also described how a teacher was able to skype a resident of Egypt from his classroom during the time of protests against the Egyptian dictator.  The students were able to ask the resident questions and get information about the topic directly from one of the sources. This article supports my idea of using twitter as a way to post assignments. I can tweet assignments for my students that will require them to gather information within Twitter to complete the assignments. I can also post review questions on twitter for students to respond to. This can help me determine who understood the lesson and if they grasped the content, as well as allow me to provide immediate feedback.

Articles: How Twitter Can Be Used as a Powerful Educational ToolEverything You Need to Know About Teaching with InstagramNerdy! Nerdy! Nerdy! and David Truss: Pair of Dimes for Your Thoughts

Classmate Blog Response: I recently reviewed my classmate Kayla Terry’s blog site post where she also elaborated on the topic of Twitter and Instagram in the classroom. I would say she and I are on the same track when it comes to ways of incorporating the two things in lessons. Our ideas are similar for the most part, even though they are not completely the same. We both agree that using Instagram and Twitter will get the students excited about learning especially since they can learn outside of the classroom through apps they may already be using every day.


Technology in the Classroom (Part 2)

One way I would use blogs with a diverse population of students within my classroom is to allow the students to create their own blogs. I would ask the students to write a blog reflecting what they learned from the lesson that day and provide examples of ways they can use what they’ve learned outside of the classroom. For example, with ELL students I would ask them to create a blog reflecting on what they learned from the lesson and what things from the lesson they did not quite understand. By the student’s reflections I can get some insight on how well students grasped the lesson and it also allows the students to be creative in describing what they learned from their perspectives.

Another way I would use blogs with a diverse population of students within my classroom is for responses. I would create a blog that my students would write a response to. For example, with an AIG student I would ask the AIG student(s) to include information from one online article, newspaper, or magazine in their response that supports their response to the blog. The students would also be responsible for citing the source.

A third way I would use blogs with a diverse population of students within my classroom is for storytelling. I would ask my students to create a blog telling a story including content they have learned from the lesson. This will allow students to be creative and enhance their literacy skills. These stories can be fictional which allows the students really be adventurous when creating their stories.

After viewing the videos Minecraft in School and World and Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievement, I think the Minecraft in School video was the best example of 21st century learning.

Pixton is a program I would use to incorporate animation and comics in the classroom. The good thing about this program is that students can upload pictures and add music to their comic strips. This program is also designed mainly for schools and the website has examples of comic strips in varying content areas. The students can share, download, and print the comics. Teachers can control what students are able to see and do on the program. Teachers can create an assignment within the program and create a classroom forum where the comics can be published on. Teachers can grade the comics within the program as well. Fortunately, the program is also whiteboard and smart board friendly. The bad part about this program is it cost $8.99 a month for the teacher and a $1.75 one-time payment per student for the school or district. There is also a 14-day free trial.

I could use this program within my classroom to have the students create comics based on the content area being taught. This allows the students to be creative and use technology to display their knowledge of the content. I can also create a comic and have the students revise the comic to make it their own. This also enhances the student’s creative ability and also gets the students thinking about other ways to display their knowledge of the content.

Diigo is a program I would use to incorporate instructional videos in the classroom. The good thing about Diigo is it is very useful when it comes to organization and it is free. Students can highlight text on websites, PDFs, etc. Students can keep track of websites visited in the classroom and have them bookmarked and organized within their Diigo account. The bad thing about this program is that although it is fee, there are some slight limitations on the uses of the program but not enough to be considered a waste of a download. The free account still allows a lot of access within the program.

I could use this program in the classroom for my students to bookmark their online assignments. The blog, online stories, comic strip sites etc. can all be organized and bookmarked in each student’s Diigo account for easy access. Students can collaborate using this program which allows them to post in a private or public group created by me for that class. Students can share ideas and online findings within the private or public group. I may also have online readings for lessons and the students can use Diigo to highlight important need to know things within the articles. I think it is a great tool for organization and collaboration for the students.

Since my last blog I learned about the incorporation of animation and comics. This was new for me because it slightly differs from online storytelling and digital storytelling. Students actually design an animated character and use it to create comics as a way to incorporate content. I also discovered that Bitstrips which is a very well-known and popular app can be used to incorporate animation in the classroom. I already knew about the program but I have always seen it used on social media as a fun trendy app everyone was using. It is really exciting to know that it can possibly be used in the classroom. I would use animation and comics in my classroom to engage my students with relative technology and have them create or revise comics based on the content taught. I think animation allows students to relate to the assignment mainly because depending on the program they can create a animated character of themselves and use it in the comic strip.





Technology and the Classroom

I have recently read a blog by Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D. that particularly sparked my interest. Dr. McLeod spent 14 years as an Educational Leadership professor and is now a Director of learning, teaching, and innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Iowa. Dr. McLeod has won many national awards for his technology leadership work from the Center for Digital Education, the National School Boards Association and more. He has also created the country’s first graduate program designed to prepare tech-savvy school leaders. The program is named CASTLE which stands for Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education.

Dr. McLeod wrote a blog titled Schools Aren’t Preparing Freelancers and Entrepreneurs. From this blog I learned that freelancers and entrepreneurs are not only independent but they don’t have corporate support within their businesses. This results in increased competition between these independent businesses and the mainstream businesses that have contract workers. I learned that the more the mainstream businesses depend on contract workers and obtain corporate support, the entrepreneurs and freelancers have to keep hustling to stay ahead and prove they can out-innovate their peers. The hustle of the freelancers and entrepreneurs is considered self-sufficiency within the business. I also learned that schools are not helping students out-innovate their peers, or helping them use their interests and skills. Schools are not helping students become self-sufficient in a highly-complex, rapidly-shifting work landscape. Schools are standardized and discount the different strengths and talents students have.

McLeod, Scott, Ph.D. “Schools Aren’t Preparing Freelancers and Entrpunuers.” Web log post. Dangerously Irrelevant Technology, Leadership, and Future of Schools. 05 Jan. 2016. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.

After viewing the videos A Vision of K-12 Students Today and Rethinking Learning: The 21st century learner, one idea from the videos that concerned me was that only 14% of teachers allow students to create using technology. A second idea that concerned me was that 63% of teaches never allow students to use technology in their classrooms or lessons. The third idea that did not concern me but more so surprised me was that any kid who is a great user of digital media can be traced back to a parent, program etc. that inspired them to use digital media.

Although those ideas concerned or surprised me the main idea in the videos that mean the most for me as a prospective educator is the integration of technology as a whole. I agree with the idea of linking formal learning and digital learning together instead of abandoning formal learning. I think it is important to use technology in lessons as much as possible. Students use technology every day and many students haven’t experienced what life is like without technology. Incorporating technology allows students to be creative and become the creator of content. For example, creating digital stories based on what is learned in class gives students the opportunity to create their own view of that content area. Students are very familiar with technology which can make learning more relatable or fun when they are able to use it to learn. As an educator I think the home, peer, and community environments are important when it comes to learning. I also think using technology to link them together within the classroom is very beneficial to the students.

I would use Tagexdo in my classroom to communicate information about Family and Consumer Sciences which is the content area I would be teaching. I would use Tagexdo as a way for my students to create their own shape of words and include what they have learned within the lesson. I would ask my students to create a Tagexdo as a group or individually throughout the curriculum. After students have created their Tagexdo I would ask them to present it to the class and explain why they chose the words they included, how those words relate to the lesson or content area, and which word(s) are the most important to them and why. I would use Tagexdo in content areas that covered family, nutrition, child development, and personal finance mainly because these content areas closely relate to things students encounter or have encountered in their lives. Most of these content areas are relative and the knowledge the students gain in these areas can be very beneficial to them.


New information that I have learned is that there is an increasingly high percentage of teachers that do not integrate technology into their content. I learned that over 50% of educators never allow students to use technology in their classroom or lessons. I also learned that one of the main goals of using digital learning is not to absolutely abandon formal learning, but to link the two together.

I must say I am all too familiar with the different ways young people use technology on a daily basis. I am also a 21st century learner and I am also becoming educated on how to use technology in lessons when I am an educator. There is not anything within this assignment that I already knew. Although the concept of integrating technology into a classroom or content area is very familiar to me, I learned about different programs such as Storybird and Tagexdo that I can use as an educator that will allow my students to be creative. I would use that program to have my students create their own online stories and Tagexdos based on what they have learned form a lesson. This is a great program for stand and share exercises, as well as group work. It can be used to promote social interaction and allow the students to display their creative sides.

Click her to view “Kitchen Safety” an online story I created using Storybird for Family and Consumer Sciences Grades 7-12.