Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Safari-810x385I have spent the last four months transforming from a pre-service teacher, scared of becoming occupied with blogging and micro blogging into an enthused aspiring teaching of ELA prepared to integrate technology into my future curriculum. I activated my WordPress blog unsure of where it would take me, or how the entire process would profit me. Today, I can share with all of you the allowances it has presented me with thus far. In the academic context, blogging has encouraged me to share my writing and receive feedback from my classmate’s, as well as other devoted bloggers. It has been a positive experience that facilitates my overall learning, and keeps me up to date with the world of education, even when I step outside the imagesclassroom. Reading the blogs of my classmate’s also interested me in some very helpful Web 2.0 tools and was valuable in my own understanding of course material. Blogging has also motivated me to take part in some extensive research since writing a blog requires one to visit a variety of sources to find the best content to pass on to respected readers. During this process I am constantly introduced to new material related to my selected topic, which helps me learn more than I supply you with in my final post. I have always been an active learner but blogging has provoked me to vigorously search for the finest information and present it to my readers. Maintaining my own blog has permitted me to take pleasure in my research and learning, and appreciate knowledge, especially related to technology and the endless benefits it can provide for students.

As technology becomes prevalent in today’s schools, students should recognize the impact of their voice and the ability they have to make a difference. My blog has turned into my online journal, which allows me to organize my thoughts and add images and videos that coincide with my topic. Blogging has also permitted me to comment on other blogs and mb-wordlereceive feedback on my own posts; dialoging on a topic encourages me to learn more about it and constantly voice my opinion. In a broader sense, blogs are all about communicating. When writing a blog, I observe an experience, reflect on it, and write about it, all at once. Blogging has allowed me to discover the world and joy of communicating my ideas and receiving feedback on every one of them! There is a sense of excitement that takes over my body as I communicate with a global audience, communicating with the World Wide Web is thrilling and the feedback is extremely diverse.

I also plan to continue posting to my blog as I enter the field of education. I hope I can communicate with educators regarding their experiences teaching, their philosophies, and their methodologies. My students will be highly encouraged to produce a blog of their own twitter-300x225because I strongly believe that educational blogging comes along with astounding benefits for every student. Students have the opportunity to find their voice and develop their interests, and expand upon their writing with feedback and continued support. Of course blogging will improve each students writing skills but it will do so much more than that, since it engages students in an ongoing conversation about their inner thoughts and passions. Students finally have the opportunity to share meaningful writing, and their audience will empower them to become life-long learners, as they become apart of a community where writing truly matters.

Besides the space students have to reflect openly on what they have learned to make meaningful connections, blogging allows students to make an emotional connection to what they have cultured. It also creates the opportunity for students to share their voice while becoming fluent in 21st century literacies. Students can use sites like SoundCloud or share presentations with their readers in order to express their passions. Another added benefit is the positive digital footprint it tags along to each student’s name, students will be able to Google their name and see something positive, something worth taking a look at. This is a great way for educators to promote the importance of having a positive digital footprint.

Microblogging networks offer students the chance to do all of this and more. Twitter is the most popular microblogging application, with over one million users. Mircroblogging is a Web 2.0 technology, and a new form of blogging that lets users publish brief updates, images, and videos. Students can share resources, improve their social skills, and pose 1questions. Twitter is an informal learning tool that allows students to discover and write about various topics, collaborate with others, and publish and reflect on their own ideas or feelings. Twitter has brought me into a new world, where I am connected with an abundance of valuable people and resources. It is a place where I discover and develop new and exciting ways of improving my communication skills and motivates others to join in on exciting conversations. Participating in a tweet chat inspired me to share my principles with my followers and promote social networking in the classroom.

I never expected to discover so much from starting my own blog or connecting with other educators on twitter. This is just the start for me and I am anxious to continue on this path of constant innovation.

Want to learn how to integrate technology into your teaching? If that question isn’t enough to hook you, then maybe4 gaining free resources, enhancing your professional development skills, sharing lesson plans, and improving your teaching techniques will be enough to reel you in! Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) consists of the people and information that have the ability to bring learning to life in schools. This includes the dedicated members and endless sources of information that together help learning goals develop. Building a successful PLN calls for members to not only search for learning opportunities, but to also utilize their available networks, and support others that are learning alongside of them. Regardless of content, or subject, a stylish PLN can serve as a powerful learning tool. A PLN is a network of educators around the world who serve as an inspiration to many, whether it be through their comments on Twitter, blog posts, or successful teaching strategies. Although you may never meet some members of your PLN you will still benefit from them, as you go over teaching philosophies and invent goals for students far and wide.

3Many of you may already be apart of this world: have a Twitter where you connect with others, or a blog where you post your innovative ideas, but this is not enough! It is great to choose the people you interact with and learn from, but you also must focus on your community: the place where you spend your day, the school where your students are learning, and the faculty room filled with the teachers you work with, because they are equally important as every member of your digital world. These are your colleagues, whether you like it or not, and I challenge you to make it your responsibility to collaborate with them, so the educational needs of your students are met. Developing a community may be harder than developing a network, but it will be worth it.

Teachers have a bushel of responsibility, but they don’t have to deal with it all on their own. Teachers should never feel isolated and a well-designed PLC will provide every lonely teacher with a little tender, love, and care. This Personal Learning Community (PLC) will come hand in hand with professional development, and often, it is the principal, consultant, coach, or whoever the “instructional leader” is in the building, that decides what everyone needs to learn about.

How and why does this happen?  5

These instructional leaders are not just being nitpicky. They are looking at student results, looking at the gaps, and2 then they are using professional resources to determine what strategies will close those gaps. Despite a teacher’s best effort, students will struggle, but when teachers are comfortable enough to announce this struggle, their PLC team can jump on board and strategize. This issue will then be deconstructed from multiple perspectives until it is solved. Since we cannot choose who is in our PLC it is important to keep the focus on school improvement and students achievement. I firmly believe that we need to consider ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to bring our digital lives into school buildings. This informal learning network will produce knowledge as members share their questions, successes, and failures.

As soon as you get a PLC up and running in your school I am sure you will notice the following:

  1. An increase in professional development.
  2. Teachers sharing useful resources.
  3. Teachers’ enhancing their original lesson plans.
  4. Teachers working together to find collaborative solutions that are geared towards struggling students and will get them back on track.

1Students will also learn to collaborate and connect with others through their in depth work with specific topics. Digital PLNs will foster creativity in the classroom, engaging students in the course material. This will also give students an authentic audience as they learn to master their communication skills and produce meaningful work.

Once again, I encourage all of you to take the next step, and not only get involved digitally but bring your knowledge into your school. Don’t simply read a blog post or listen to a podcast, but formulate questions that you will work to answer with your current colleagues. Reach out to them and prove that together you can do more for your students, and make teaching less stressful. Contribute to your school and share the benefits of working closely with others.

ImagePinterest is a new-fangled, rather popular website. For a select group it may be used to simply keep up with the latest fashions, or find the perfect dessert recipe, but believe it or not Pinterest has educational value as well. Teachers struggle to brighten up their bare walls as they wrap up their summer and snuggle up in their classroom. Finding the perfect décor is challenging, especially when the goal is to intrigue, and welcome a large number of children or adolescents. Although I am a novel Pinterest user I have discovered the educational gold mines that are hidden beneath the fashion advice and weekly dinner specials. Pinterest is not only a great place to follow the most recent fads; teachers can Imagealso utilize it to improve the educational experience. Pinterest is capable of playing a major role in the classroom, and can be of huge assistance to educators and students. This is a valuable reserve where teachers all over the world can share reading lists, lesson plans, and other helpful sources. Pinterest is bringing educators together, and revolutionizing learning.Image

Pinterest is a tool that can be used in many different ways. Various categories exist on this website that are called boards, some groups include: food, art, celebrities, and quotes. When looking through, you can “pin” items that intrigue you and attach them to your own personal board. These individual boards are easily accessible, making things effortless to keep track of.

For example, since there are so many different teaching ideas and helpful hints I decided to make a board called “teacher references.” This allows me to pin anything related to the topic of teaching to my board, and follow things I deem enjoyable, and hope to use someday in my future classroom.Image

Pinterest has an entire category devoted to education that can be examined here. This feature narrows down one’s search and directs each user to a helpful list of resources. Some examples of the pins featured in this section include: educational conference notifications, book reviews, math fun, pictures of projects produced by students, teaching ideas, lesson plans, and more. After perusing the education category it is more than likely that a plethora of information will be worthy of holding onto. To keep all of this valuable information at your fingertips, users can create their own Pinterest account to “repin” articles or useful resources onto their board. There is also a public board, which permits each user to engage with others who share their interests. If there is something one wishes to model for students or colleagues they simply pin it to the public board, and everyone will have the opportunity to take advantage of the source. Educators and students will build a great forum to communicate, and can collaborate on group projects, or share useful information.Image

Pinterest is helpful as teachers plan activities, and formulate lessons for students. It also grants them with decorating ideas for their classroom. This tool can help teachers make the learning environment for students original and exciting. Along with this, it is extremely helpful that one can follow their friends or colleagues. By having all teachers in a particular school get Pinterest and follow one another they can easily share their ideas over this social media website.  Along with being able to pin things, Pinterest allows users to upload their own pictures. For example, if a teacher created a great bulletin board, they can upload it to Pinterest for other people to use and see. Pinterest is a great way for educators to help each other out, they will work together to reinvent learning, and keep students interested by assigning pleasurable projects, and exciting lessons.

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
Tags: , , ,

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.

Schoology_homepage_screenshot

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/