Sunday, December 16, 2007

Reflection for Best Practice

This course has covered several new and emerging technologies along with learning about Web 2.0 tools to enhance instruction in order to support student learning. As you begin to create a best practice for you classroom, keep in mind some of the following questions

1. How can technology influence student academic performance?
2. How can technology develop higher order thinking and problem solving?
3. How can technology improve student motivation, attitude, and interest in learning?
4. How can technology help to prepare students for the workforce?
5. How can technology address the needs of low performing, at-risk, and learning handicapped students?
For help with many of these question visit the online links below.
Online links and more Q&A’s

Please post a reflection by Monday 1/14/2008, describing your Best Practice and the impact on student learning. You Best Practice Video is also due this week. It would be great to have available before the due date of 1/18 in order to share at a school committee meeting on Wed. 1/16/2008. Thanks!!


Michelle said...

So Christa and I Did the smartboard with our first graders and I have to say that they really liked it. Each kid no matter there ability level was able to give it a try and be successful. It held their attn the whole lesson and kept them engaged. A lot of them are asking daily when they can go back and do it again! We were able to try many sites that had content and activities for math as well as science. Our videos are only a snippet of how much fun we had!

Sara K said...

Michael and I also used the Smartboard for our best practice. We found a lot of relevant websites and tried a few of them out with the kids. It was a fun and the kids enjoyed it, too. It is definately something that I feel comfortable using with my class in the future as well. I can see it working well for reviewing and practicing new concepts. Our video shows us using the Smartboard for a quick science sorting lesson.

Sarah said...

After creating a blog for my math classes, I realized that it was a great place to "collect" student work as well as my own! In an effort to get the students used to working with technology, I asked them to do a project on a very simple topic in algebra. The end result was to be posted on the blog and was to receive no paper, disks, thumb-drives, etc. The results were great and we all learned a lot about how using technolgy really operates (or doesn't)in the classroom! I feel like the students have more confidence about how they can present material (they used slideshare, you-tube, teacher-tube, movie-maker, the tablet, and TI connect for slides of the graphing calculator.) This also forced me to learn some new things along the way in an effort to help them troubleshoot their problems. The best part was that after we watched their presentations in class, they immediately asked when they could do it again! How cool is that? I also used the blog to post answers to tests so that students can check that out to. My video for this class demonstrates how I used the tablet and my blog to review homework questions with my honors precalculus class. At the end I was able to compare a problem that was already posted to the blog (and was not able to be modified) with an alternate method that I had seen the students use. I then posted that to the blog as well!
Having the tablet has been one of the coolest things that I have had access to in a long time (it's like when graphing calculators first came out for math teachers.)It has also been VERy frustrating because it has Vista on it. I feel like a guinea pig for Microsoft and have struggles to get answers to problems that wouldn't have existed if we were using Windows XP. I just found out from Derek that the tablets cannot be reverted to XP and I don't have the time or energy to pursue as to why. The use of technology is something that teachers need to feel simplifies their teaching practices, not make things more difficult. I will continue to push forward in trying to get the rest of my department comfortable with the new tools, and only hope that we can get the technological support that we need.

Steve A said... describes the process as I created a video.
Over the last few years I have begun to incorporate more and more technology into the THMS Music Curriculum. It has been a long battle since most of the equipment has been either donated from outside the school district or I have purchased it personally. Then the daunting task of learning the technology and figuring out how to use technology in an educationally appropriate manner. Through this I have continued to try to learn about new technology. I have found that keeping up with the quickly changing times is almost a job itself.
Putting together my “best practice” video was difficult for me. Most of what I do involves audio and I had lots of difficulty figuring out how to express myself visually. I had to spend a lot of time thinking. How was I using technology? Was I using it appropriately? Was I using it effectively? Was technology the focus or was it enhancing my curriculum? How could I share my thoughts? Could my video spark someone else to explore or take a chance? Do people really need “State-of-the-Art”?
I ended up going a bit outside the box and outside my comfort zone. I decided to finally learn how to use a few programs that have been on my to-do list (Keynote, Quicktime pro and IMovie to name a few). Through this I gained several additional skills that I feel will help me in the future (I’m hoping to expand into music video).
Most of my musical projects include techniques and strategies used in the professional world. I spent 4 years in Radio and use that, and other knowledge to help my students experience many of the skills they may use in the future. In doing so I often make connections to other areas. For example, the process of organizing a radio commercial or producing a rap song, is the same process an engineering or management team might use to solve a task. I try to instill the concept that manipulating digital data, whether audio or other, is similar. One must have a goal, be organized, understand limits and be creative.
Thus I tried to create a video that takes a snapshot of technology within the THMS Music Room. I felt it was important to express that there is no ideal situation. I use old and outdated equipment, I scrounge for materials and resources, I create curriculum units using what is currently available and I am not afraid to mess up. I often mention to the kids that Thomas Edison failed over 100 times before he developed a working electric light (ps. he was afraid of the dark!). The key is to never give up. Celebrate the now while keeping ones eye on the future.

nkromer said...

The best practice that I have been using lately is to integrate using blogs in my classroom experiences. I have found that using different blogs for various information gathering has been successful with all types of learners. Being a special service teacher, I work with all types of learners. Students are quick to learn about how to access the blog. I have found that some of my students that are not as successful in the “traditional” classroom tend to very successful when using technology. They have been quick to ask me if I added to the class blog and ask me to have more assignments on the blog.
I have used my blogs for different ways to obtain information. Some have been to get journal responses back from my students throughout the reading of a novel. I just created another to help provide background information before beginning a new novel. That one was loaded with pictures, links to articles, and videos for students to view. Students provided me with information that it was an interesting way to learn some of the information with a lot of visuals. There are many blogs in industry and be having students see what they are all about and that they can be used in different ways will help them be prepared to use these tools in their future. I have used some other forms of technology that we have learned about but primarily it has been blog, blog, blogs.

mathgeeksrule said...

I created a wiki for my students to use and share their history projects with. Dana Belair was looking for ways to make his powerpoint lessons connected to content,so we modified a favorite poster project to suit powerpoint. They completed these in technology class.Dana then gave me a CD of the powerpoint projects and I uploaded them to the wiki. The students assignment is to view the powerpoints of their classmates and post comments. (Of course, now I have Vikings comments on the Vandals page and most comments on the home page instead of the individual pages designated to each tribe, but I should be able to clear that up with them tomorrow. Teenagers....) Thus far, the students think it is really cool to access and view their work on line.

Check out the work in progress at
The password is huns

I have yet to get a video posted on teachertube. It works well until the step that says finishing and then stays there forever. I have given it as long as 30 minutes to upload, and then I quit and try again. Is anyone having similar frustrations or does anyone know the trick?

If I can get this up and working I plan to steal Sherri's best practice - videos of a math lesson that her students can view on line. Sometimes the students don't follow the logic the first time, and this could save me hours of extra help after school. I also like the potential for absentees, they could watch the video on their own time at home. Again, this would save a lot of my time.

Mike said...

As Sara said, we used the smart board for our best practice. Once it found a home, we were able to do a whole class lesson and have the children participate. I can definitely see the benefits of having a smart board in the classroom.
I am planning to incorporate its use in some of my upcoming lessons in phonics and writing. After seeing the reactions from the children, it has proven to be a useful tool with them.

Steve A said...

Hi everyone,
In looking over all the blogs I realized I did not leave the address for my video. I've listed it below.

THMS Technology video

Sarah said...

I'm in the same position as you. I have yet to post mine to Teacher Tube for the same reason. I know that Erinanne has had the same issue as well. I tried to get my students projects posted to Teacher Tube before they posted them to my blog, but they got so frustrated, they posted them to You Tube instead and I had to get the super top-secret password so that I could show them in class. Unfortunately, I don't know what the secret answer is, but Pam Valle at the high school got some of the kids' works up. My plan was to check with her tomorrow.

peggy said...

I did a variety of things in class. I tried to incorporate a little of everything. I used the Senteo Clickers with success. They students really love using them but I still have a lot to learn. They were definitely engaged and we had a lot of fun using it in class. I also used the tablet by accessing authentic websites and then highlighting and inking on the page. This was actually a must stronger tool then I thought it would be. I was able to control the pace of the class and access to the internet. I was able to make sure that all students were trying to understand what was written in Spanish -- the highlighting really helped focus their attention! The kids really responded well to this. Sometimes students get lost in a computer lab. Both these tools are great additions to a school with limited resources and computer access. As I reflect on this course and what I have learned and tried to learn, I am proud of myself for trying new things even through the learning curve. I have also become even more aware of the importance of having a plan B. Technology just like anything else, doesn't always work...but the show must go on! I think it's more important than ever to really think about how technology is used, how it engages the kids and delivers the curriculum. It's a combination of tools from one's tool belt that work best.

JBeardmore said...

I explored many different types of technology in the classroom, some with success, and some with complete failure.

Successes: Students completed photo stories of a trip to the French Alps. I feel this technology motivated students much more than a photo album or poster. Performance was for some students was far superior to what it would have been if it had been a traditional project. Secondly, the recording of narration allowed students to self-correct and self-perfect. Lastly, students were proud of their work and anxious to share it with others.

My first attempt at using a wiki was a resounding success. It was so much more efficient and helped us move our writing project along much more quickly than had it been written on paper. Feedback was so immediate, and students were able to revise immediately. Students were almost unanimous that the wiki greatly enhanced our efficiency and organization. Additionally, interesting dialog occurred between otherwise quiet students, so it served to motivate them to interact virtually.

My negative experience with the wiki concerned the uploading of a sound word document for pronunciation. As we all know, LHS cannot store student work on a network. I thought a web location would solve the problem, and I could access those documents from anywhere. Unfortunately, bandwidth and/or older computers greatly hindered the uploading and downloading process, so we finally abandoned the whole project, and reverted to using those cassette tapes and handheld recorders (thank goodness we have them!). We lost a lot of instructional time and were very frustrated by the experience.

In terms of the low-performing or special needs students, my conversational class also had great success with technology. They used powerpoint to manipulate images to demonstrate various prepositions... under, on, in, behind, etc. Several students had never used powerpoint, and I was very impressed with their final products. They incorporated color, transitions, photos, changed the order of appearance of different objects... Much of this we had to problem solve together when powerpoint wouldn't do what we wanted, and I believe this was very empowering for them. They surpassed my expectations.

Finally, I used the Senteo clickers in two different classes, but found them to be time-consuming to set up the questions, but also found it rather alienating to be pressing buttons rather than interacting. I disliked the downtime while waiting for results. I think if there were clickers in a designated school and I was able to experiment with them more, perhaps I would find a better use for them. However, I love interacting with students and to me, these clickers discourage that dialog.

Finally, incorporating technology in our instruction, curriculum, and assessments will better prepare these students for the world of technology that we can't even imagine. Students must learn to navigate and exploit new technologies rapidly, learn to adapt, adjust, and be willing to explore new inventions as this is the way of the world.

Christa said...

I took my kids to use the smartboard a few times now. They were all engaged and excited for their turn to come up and use it. I will be incorporating the smartboard into my lessons more freguently now that I feel comfortable using it with my kids. It is a great tool to use for the range of learners in my classroom. My video is of my class using it for math.

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