Archive for February, 2013

Untangling the Web

Posted: February 27, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Having trouble organizing technology? The large number of websites, applications, and overall media buzz that is knocking on classroom doors can be quite overwhelming. Educators all over the world are working to successfully apply technology to their lessons, and incorporate all of this into the curriculum. It seems that many teachers are scrambling through the clutter in order to discover what websites, or unique interactive applications will be most beneficial in their student’s lives, whether it be in the classroom or at home. At times, teachers Imagestruggle with this because the majority of suggested websites that are aimed at students are either non educational or have too many distractions such as pop-ups or advertisements. However, one website that a teacher can use to explore over seventy pages of useful information for every member of their class is GO2WEB20. This website provides distinctive ways for teachers to collaborate, and then share their ideas with their colleagues as they post web links or applications that their students will take pleasure in. Not only can teachers use this website to be of assistance to their students, but they can also use it to help themselves stay organized while they interact with the messy worldwide web. Image

 

GO2WEB20 includes over three thousand services, and more are uploaded everyday. Site administrators also monitor all entries to ensure they are working properly; those that are no longer working are disabled so site viewers have a useful and enjoyable experience. The site was recently redesigned to guarantee smooth navigation. This includes, a search engine that searches all content on the site, and each service offers its own app where valuable information is easy to sift through. Having an index with each application will assist teachers as they integrate technology into their classroom, and keep them up to date on the services they are interested in. Along with this, GO2WEB20 also has a valuable blog with a plethora of helpful information. People post reviews of applications here, or helpful tips on how to incorporate some beneficial games into the classroom.Image

One app available on GO2WEB 20 that I found particularly motivating is called, StoryJumper. StoryJumper allows students to create and publish their own stories. They can generate stories from scratch and improve their skills. In order to get started they will have the opportunity to brainstorm their ideas, and conduct research, two beneficial skills. After they have their story idea they have the option to upload their own pictures or use pictures that are already on the web. This app is important and a high-quality way to get adolescents innovated, and uses their own voice to assist learning and express their ideas. When each student finishes their story, they can save, and share it with anyone they want, such as their parents and teachers. Also they are able to publish the story by ordering a hard copy of their book. This option will be rewarding for students, seeing their stories, and having something concrete to hold onto will hopefully motivate students to produce more writing, and take pleasure in reading.  Image

This is a fantastic way for educators all around the world to put their heads together when it comes to technology; they can build off each other and share their successes/failures. Also, they can make learning fun again with the abundance of games, applications, and creative tools that are available to their students. 

Having trouble finding the right college for you? Knee deep in applications but still feeling uncertain? Not sure which one will suit you best? Well now there is a CS4solution, a website that will make this gruesome process a little easier.

Decisions are hard to make, especially when they involve commitment. The quest to discover the perfect college can be overwhelming to many people. There are so many colleges to choose from, and so many different things to consider. Do I have enough money for this University? Will I be eligible for financial aid? Do I want to live that far away from home for four years? Along with this, many students in high school have a guidance counselor to assist them with this process, but in most cases this is not enough. They still have many questions and have no idea where to look for answers. With the help of College Scorecard, all of these reoccurring questions can be addressed in one place.

President Obama fulfilled one of his promises that he made in his State of The Union address last week. He was true to his word as he released the administration’s new College ScorecardCS5

The interactive tool is made to answer the questions that parents and prospective students may have as they determine which college will match up best with their lifestyle. It shows consumers how a school stacks up in terms of cost, graduation rates, student loan default rates, and median borrowing.

College Scorecard is a website with one main purpose: allow the user to leave with a sense of relief, and make this stressful process easier. This site was designed to ease high school students, adults, or anyone who is looking to get their degree as they make their final decisions. It permits them to narrow their choices down based on their income and interests. This website was created by the College Affordability and Transparency Center to help students learn about the cost of different schools and how much they will need to pay back in loans when they graduate. CS 1

Many features encourage students to either search for a school or browse by major, school size, state, campus setting, etc. It is a beneficial instrument that allows each user to narrow their search when examining a specific school. After selecting a few options, the website will match students up with the criteria they provided. For example, after clicking on the major category on the home page, it brings the student to another page where they can click on any major that interests them. After this, all of their matches are listed on the left side of the screen, saved with everything that they are looking for in their future school. After filling out all of the search criteria the user can click “search school” on the left side of the screen and then it will pull up a list of each school that fits their needs. Then that specific school comes up and is available for easy viewing purposes. You can then sift through all of the financial facts about the school and other information as well. To test out College Scorecard click here and see what colleges will match up with you.CS3

President Obama is passionate about this tool, but the discussion on its credibility has already begun. Some say it is a good starting point but lacks specific context. To get involved in the conversation or see what others had to say about it, review this article where you can leave a comment of your own!

New School

Posted: February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Schoology

Do you need a place to organize all of your lessons, assignments, quizzes, and grades?

There’s an app for that! I recently discovered the world of Schoology. This website/application allows educators to work together to manage lessons, engage students, share content, and easily connect with other educator’s all around the world, to distribute or review material. With Schoology educators can keep track of their schedules, and have all of their material in the same place. This also offers more than the basics; as it enables its users to conduct online courses, provide one-on-one remediation, or host complex class discussions.

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Schoology also brings everyone together; its parent feature connects students, parents, and educators. This provides parents with the class material, and offers them a safe, secure online environment to contact their son/daughters teacher. This is a great innovative learning tool that will allow students to interact with each other through social networking, while also sharing important academic content.

Schoology is widely known for its extreme similarities to facebook, it is often referred to as, “the educational facebook”.  The website set up, as well as the application, mirror the layout of facebook, which allows students to navigate the website autonomously. As students cruise through their homework and activities with ease, educators will be able to choose from a variety of content types, and embed useful text and media.

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Schoology allows teachers and students to interact with one another in a variety of ways. For example, it allows teachers to post documents about the class, such as the class syllabus, and any notes that they think their students may need.  Once the teacher posts something new, a “notification” comes up on the right side of the screen showing the student that there is a new document that was uploaded.  Along with this, Schoology allows students to interact with each other, but also offers them the privacy of sharing assignments with only their teacher. It is simple to make homework private between only the teacher and student. This allows students to post and answer discussions, and also contribute to their classmate’s submissions.

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Schoology also allows the students to send direct messages, and keeps track of friend’s profiles. Students can also enroll with their entire class to keep everything organized. Along with this, it also allows classmates to become friends with one another so they can always stay connected. Students can also customize their page with a picture to make a more authentic learning environment.

Since this website/application has so many commonalities with facebook, students understand how to use every aspect of the site quickly and efficiently.  Instead of having to spend several classes on having to explain the specific functions to the Schoologyclass, a teacher may only have to take a few minutes because the students will be able to understand it without delay. This website takes blackboard, or any other online forum used by schools to the next step, it enables students to stay connected 24/7 in a personal atmosphere.

Educators will find it so easy to create, organize, and find content. There is a widget that enables each user to connect their Google Docs, there is also a place to search, browse, and integrate public content. It is simple to create and manage tests and quizzes; there is a place to score quizzes/tests and enter grades automatically. Another portion is available to provide students with direct feedback. One more awesome feature is the educator’s option to see what students are spending the most time on, and the steps they are taking while completing assignments.

This is a fully functioning classroom management tool, but at the same time provides Schoology_logo_blacka great social networking platform for teachers and students. It is easy to use and all instructional components are free for teachers and students! A mobile app is offered for Andriod or iOs. This will serve as an outstanding collection of resources for every class that participates.

Do you think this tool will be beneficial in your classroom?

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To download Schoology or find out more information:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/schoology/id411766326?mt=8

http://allmyapps.com/apps/schoology-students-teachers

http://blog.schoology.com/2012/03/schoology-for-android/

After thoroughly engaging with The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition, I was introduced to the double-edged sword of technology in the classroom. While the benefits of tablet computing and game based learning are evident, teachers are reluctant to give in. After hearing about schools that have began to relax their policies, and allow their students to be creative together through technology, a conversation is created.

Within this conversation many questions remain unanswered:tech

  1. Will using mobile phones, tablets, and participating in gaming truly allow students to collaborate and self-discover?
  2. Are the challenges educators face, regarding letting technology walk into their classroom valid?
  3. Do you think the benefits are enough for educators to break down the doors of their classroom, and allow technology to swoop in?

Get your voice out there on this debate: join the conversation and join the movement to incorporate technology into the classroom.

Don’t Put That iPad Away

Posted: February 6, 2013 in Uncategorized
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  • We have all heard our teachers exclaim, “put that cell phone away”, or “nothing should be on your desk besides your pen and paper.”
  • Today this is unusual, as schools evolve into the new age, technology is a mainstay in the classroom.
  • More and more schools are jumping on the digital bandwagon. One imperative piece of technology that has affected many classrooms, is the iPad, which is now utilized on a daily basis.
  • The numbers don’t lie, and it has been statistically proven that the iPad can be a valuable tool in educating any age group.
  • In a partnership with Apple, textbook publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt conducted a study using an iPad text for an Algebra 1 course, and their results showed that 20 percent more students (78 percent compared to 59 percent) scored ‘Proficient’ or ‘Advanced’ in subject comprehension when using tablets rather than paper textbook counterparts.
  • Students seem to be responding to content better through technology, and engaging with material in a whole new way.
  • When students see a five pound Algebra textbook they may cringe their teeth, and feel discouraged, but when they see an iPad equipped with the same material they feel a sense of relief. 
  • Another benefit is group collaboration. Students are encouraged to use their iPad’s to ask questions, and learn from a larger audience. 
  • Social media (Twitter, Diigo, etc.) allows for students to connect with one another outside of the classroom. 
  • Using iPads in the classroom will benefit all types of learners. Most importantly it will encourage students to share their ideas, and open up a new learning forum.

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Sources:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/01/ipad-educational-aid-study/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/will-shanklin/ipad-vs-laptop_b_1374458.html