Learning to Teach With Technology

Experiencing technology for the first time!

5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cell Phones in Class

 Guest post by  Cross posted at A Teacher’s Life for Me

I just read the 5 reasons that students should be allowed to use cell phones in class. I agree with many of the reasons listed. The point made about letting children use cells phones because they will need to use them in the real world stands true to me. Teachers should teach these students the many options that they can utilize their phones for. The article listed a few examples like taking inventory, doctors calculating dosages, and architects viewing layout plans. If people in the real world use cell phones for activities in their career, surely teachers can find a use for them in the classroom.

Another point that I agreed with was teaching the students safety with their phones. What appropriate uses for the phone may be and what inappropriate uses may be. Sometimes students don’t learn these lessons and may be using their mobile devices wrong. With all the social media that students use these days, they need to learn the boundary lines between something that is ok to post and something that might follow them forever.

Definitely a quick and interesting read. Click here to read the article yourself!

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Brain Power: From Neurons to Networks

I recently watched this video as an assignment for my technology class. It does a great job of comparing the brain to a network. It makes analogies comparing synapses in our brain to hyperlinks on a website and neurons in our brain to website pages, which I thought was a cool way to look at it. It is mostly speaking about the child’s brain, rather than an adult brain, because they say the internet is still developing. What I couldn’t believe is that the video spoke about the internet being in the developing stage like a small child, and that it will continue to grow daily. I look at where internet was 5-10 years ago, and think that it has come so far, and to think that it is still developing is crazy.

Towards the end of the video, it discussed how we engage with our children and that we need to be mindful of what we let in our brains. This makes me think of the kids that are allowed to play video games non-stop or the ones that don’t have restrictions to the amount of TV or internet they use. As a parent in the future, I think it will be my responsibility to properly monitor what input my child receives. I loved the part in the video where they asked parents to send in videos showing how they engaged with their children. All parents showed unique ways that they engaged their children and it was great.

Watch the video above. Hope you like it too.

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Would I use a podcast in my classroom?

When I was in college, I had a professor that went out on maternity leave for the last few weeks of the semester. She decided to use a podcast program through ITunes to continue class as normal, 2 times a week. I thought this was great. It was like a virtual classroom in which I could sit in my dorm room in my pajamas and learn. However, after a few lectures, it was becoming a little more difficult to find the motivation to sit down and listen to an hour of her lecturing on Itunes with no visuals. Now that I have been reading about Podcasts, I have realized that you can do some pretty neat things with it to make it interesting. It doesn’t have to be plain old lecture. It can be engaging and interactive.

I just figured out that in PowerPoint you can record narration on your slides and turn it into a movie. However, this is only on the Macintosh Microsoft Office. Hooray! Finally something that my Mac can do too! I tried it out briefly to see if I could figure it out. It is awesome. I will definitely be using this tool to create the podcast for my class project. I am still up in the air about using something like this in my classroom though. My thought process is that if I could be standing up there speaking to the students, why would I record and let them watch or listen to me speak. However, on the other hand, I could be walking around and checking in on each student as they progress through the lesson. Again, I think that I might have to wait to make that decision when I am actually in a classroom and I can try it out. Until then, I will continue to learn new ways to incorporate this in my lesson plans!

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To Flip Or Not To Flip?

I read a blog post on Edudemic titled To Flip Or Not To Flip? written by Jeff Dunn. I thought this was a quick, easy read encompassing a teachers opinion on flipping their classroom. I agree that it would be a neat idea to try. I will also admit that I am nervous of the outcome. However, I am excited to learn how to create a flipped lesson in my technology class. One line that grabbed my attention in this blog post was:

“They’re teaching one another instead of me having to do the majority of instruction, and I am now there to immediately catch a misconception rather than have a student go home and reinforce that mistake.”


I think this is a wonderful piece to the flipped classroom. The fact that the teacher can present the information in a way that is understandable to a student and then have those students teaching one another and leading discussions about the information. The teacher is able to listen to all students at once. To reiterate the point Mr. Dunn made, the teacher can listen for comprehension and then redirect or correct the misconceptions before the student reinforces the mistakes independently. That is awesome. 

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Resource found on Twitter

So I was given an assignment last week to report on a resource that I found using the social media tool I chose. As a reminder, I chose Twitter as @Denise2Teach a few weeks back. I’ll admit that I was not giving Twitter the benefit of the doubt at first. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I was not on it constantly as well as the fact that I did not have enough people I was following. I seemed to be reading a lot of very similar tweets by the same people over and over again. However, after a week of adding new friendly faces on Twitter, I have found a resource that I would like to share:

The 10 Best Web Tools For Flipped Classrooms

I thought this resource was very appropriate for my Teaching with Technology class. We have been discussing the use of Flipped Classrooms and I found this resource to be very helpful in providing ways to incorporate other tools into your flipped classroom teaching. What’s awesome about this article is that it provides the reader with a brief synopsis of what the tool is and then in a separate paragraph explains how to use it in a flipped classroom model. I will be preparing a Flipped Classroom project in the upcoming weeks and I will definitely pull some ideas from this website. You should definitely check it out if this is of interest to you as well!


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The Nuts & Bolts of 21st Century Teaching-a review

I recently read an article on 21st Century teaching from a teacher standpoint. Shelley Wright posted about her class project on the Holocaust. She wrote about empowering her students by taking a step back from teaching. This led the students to “drive” the project on their own as a group. They collaborated together to design the classroom set up and figure out what the basis of the project will be. I thought that she used a great example of how she did this in the classroom. I enjoyed reading some of the ideas that her students came up with. I think that this really made them think outside the box and work together to create the main idea. Shelley also introduced several technologies in the classroom including, Delicious, Google Docs, and she blogged. I think that because the children saw the usefulness of these technologies, they were inspired to branch out and find new technology. For example, a collage maker. Click here to read the post!

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my photoshop pic

How awesome is this? Our in-class project was to learn how to use an editing program. Not bad for my first try huh?

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Sharing References and Making Connections Through TWITTER!

twitter birdAs an assignment for ED554, we had to select a social media tool to use to get connected to other professionals, to gather references, and obtain ideas for teaching. I chose Twitter because I think it is a great tool to use to get information quickly. I like the fact that you can throw a question out into cyberspace and have several answers from people that you may never have met before. It is a great way to connect with other professionals that have similar interests and may have more experience than you and be able to provide guidance. I also like the fact that you are limited on the characters you use on Twitter. This makes most of the information posted very concise and easy to read. Adding a link to your post can further provide information as well. I currently use Pinterest as a personal social media tool, and while I love getting on Pinterest, I do not think that Pinterest is the best tool to ask questions and get information quickly. So if you would like to connect with me on Twitter, do what the bird tells you and Follow Me!

Also I would like to see what other tools people like to use to connect. Please take my survey on social media! 

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What standard are you using as a target of focus this semester? How can you link activities for different learning styles to this standard?

At this time, I am most interested in teaching Kindergarten. With my background being a Speech-Language Pathologist, I have a passion that has developed for literacy. I understand that kids need the foundational phonological and phonemic awareness skills in order to learn how to read. I believe that I can teach these skills verbally, visually, and tactually. So for those reasons, I have chosen the following SOL to focus my studies on:

K.4  The student will identify, say, segment, and blend various units of speech sounds.

a) Begin to discriminate between spoken sentences, words, and syllables.

b) Identify and produce words that rhyme.

c) Blend and segment multisyllabic words at the syllable level.

d) Segment one-syllable words into speech sound units including beginning phoneme(s) (onset) and ending (rimes).

e) Identify words according to shared beginning and/or ending sounds.


If you would like to check out other Kindergarten English SOLs, slip on over to the Department of Education website.

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A reflection on a blog post that I read.

Here is the link to an interesting article I recently read about incorporating technology in the classroom.

Smithsonian Quests: Learning Through Discovery and Collaboration

This blog post on iLearn Technology really intrigued me. I find it a really neat idea and a big motivator for our kids to learn independently through exploration and collaboration. Through Smithsonian Quests, the students are able to create their own account or a group account can be created by their teacher. They use the website to actively pursue knowledge that is aligned with the common core standards.  As they complete activities, the kids earn digital badges to show mastery. Some of the badges that may be earned include: oral historian, historical biographer, cool curator, cultural storyteller, etc. These badges remind me of a technological version of boy scouts and girl scouts working toward mastery in a specific badge area.

 Kids actively participate on this website by listening to audio recordings, watching videos, and completing other educational activities. When kids log on, they can see their friends online, see the badges they have earned, and have the ability to write reflections and journal entries on activities they have completed. Using this program in the classroom is a great way to work collaboratively as a class to earn these badges by learning together. This website encourages kids curiosity to pursue knowledge in areas that they are interested in. The idea that this tool can be used in the classroom and have kids contribute towards a common goal among classmates is great.

Smithsonian Quest BadgesThis is an example of the badges that our kiddoes can earn.

This seems like a great blog that I will definitely reach out to again to obtain new ideas for using technology in the classroom.

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