Tag Archives: technology

Technology Troubles

7 Mar

This year I have been working really hard to create math videos for my lessons. I started in the first semester with Workplace 20 and Foundations 10 and found myself quickly giving up. I was very overwhelmed with all my work and was disheartened when the students didn’t use them as much as I had planned. Near the end of the semester I had positive feedback from the videos looking back and studying for the final, so this semester I decided I would try again and be more diligent.

I have been making videos for Precalculus 20 using the showme app for my iPad. I have found these videos to be effective for three main reasons:
1) I make the video before the lesson, so I practice teaching the lesson out loud before with a student which helps organize my lesson better.
2) I teach very involved students who often miss for sports and other activities, and there are also students absent all the time. When they miss they know to check the video online, which goes through all of the notes and they can fill it in. So far many of the students are coming to school already having watched the video for what they missed.
3) Time. There are so many students, and even without missing, it can be difficult to assist students who don’t understand concepts. The videos help when some students just need a refresh of the lesson.

What I have been trying to gear towards is a flipped classroom. I have been posting the lesson the night before, and a couple students have watched them before hand. There are a few difficulties I have been encountering that have stopped me from flipping my classroom. First I am very worried the students won’t watch the video beforehand. It is a different way of thinking for them so it may be a difficult transition. I have been trying to slowly transition, with the videos to work towards that. My second problem is with my own preparation. I am finding it difficult to have enough hours in my day let alone being extra planned in advance. I have been working on long term planning, and am a very organized person, but I’m worried that I won’t have a video ready on time or something will go wrong and mess the entire process up.

In all, I have seen many successes with the technology I have incorporated. Many students are using the videos and it is extremely beneficial in the classroom. I need to find the extra motivation to push myself to try more with my teaching.

Using technology to start my teaching career

8 Sep

This may possible be the best app I have ever downloaded:

ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard

You can record your screen and voice on the iPad and post to twitter, Facebook directly. I am using them to put on my class website.

This is my class website: Miss Douglas’ Class Website
And my class twitter is @misssdouglas

I chose to use a posterous instead of a wiki because each post directly posts to twitter, so all my homework directly goes on twitter with only one update to make. There is also a posterous app which lets you post from your phone. You can also upload files which instability are posted through scribd so all the documents are embedded into each post easily.

posterous

This is my showme page, I’m doing all my lessons on here, it takes two minutes to make and share a video. I am also making qr codes for each video and putting them right in my lesson so they can refer to the video if they need a reminder.

Also, I survived my first week of teaching, and posted this entirely from my phone. #lovetechnology

Texting Teacher

28 Apr

It has been weeks since my pre-internship at Campbell Collegiate has been done, and I finally feel like I have the chance to reflect on a great experience.  I was able to try many things while working at Campbell, the most exciting thing being a cell phone math lesson.

I have felt a lot like doing all the research I have done over the last semester has made me feel confident in using a tool like cell phones in the classroom, except I hadn’t really had an opportunity to try it and see what it was actually like.  From day one at Campbell I knew that I could use the cell phones.  Looking at the classroom it is easy to see how crucial students feel cell phones are in their life.  Almost every single student used the phone instead of a calculator and it was nice to see that the teacher was alright with this.  You can tell when the students are actually using them as calculators and when they are texting or doing something off task.  At first I thought that most students would be texting, but I found that most of them were only using their phones when they needed to make a calculation.

I turned to cell phones when I didn’t have anything to plan.  I was supposed to be introducing slope, but my partner and I switched classes for the last week so I was without the textbook or anything that was supposed to be planned for the unit.  The unit they were working on was slope.  It was a perfect unit for me to work with the kids with because I had just went over rate of change with them so it was easy to make the transition.  I started my lesson off with a guided inquiry handout that I had the students work on their own with to discover slope, which also turned into their notes for that section, then had them do a journal on what they thought slope was.  I then did a quick overview of what slope was and described to the students what positive, negative, and neutral slopes were.  My lecture time didn’t last very long.

As soon as  I asked the students to pull out their phones they thought it was a joke.  Once I convinced them we were using them, they became much more excited.  What I had prepared was ten stations (which I have below) that they could decide if the slope was positive, negative or neutral.  It described slope in multiple different ways like a graph, points and in words.  I used the website called Poll Everywhere.  What this did was create a poll that the students could decide whether they thought each station was positive, negative, or neutral and then they texted that number and answered the question.  Many students, because we hadn’t done anything like this before, were confused why they were texting the number because they didn’t get a text back, but this was easily cleared up at the end of the lesson.

The students worked quickly through the stations and were 100 percent engaged.  Some of the students who have trouble focusing on an assignment for the whole class got through the questions quickly and on their own.  I was a little worried that some of the students were just walking around guessing, but this wasn’t the case.  Once everyone had time to go to all of the stations, i brought up the completed polls on the board.  This was beneficial in multiple ways.  Not only did the students get to see if they got the answer right, but I also got to assess as well.  I could see which problems the students had difficulties with and if they understood the concept.

 In the above poll there was differences in the answers, so I could go over it instantly as a class to see where some of them were going wrong.  As we went along through the stations they got more consistent and 100% of the class was answering the question correctly.  The most interesting part of this was the students reactions (I have a video I just can’ t put it online).  They  started getting excited each time I went to show them the answer.  I had them do a written copy of the stations so they knew what they had answered for each question, so before I showed them the poll I asked them what they thought it was going to be.  At around five questions in they started clapping for themselves, and on the last ones they were cheering.  It was amazing to see them get so excited over their math assignment.

There was a moment that really stuck out where a girl congratulated everyone after they got the question right, and I was just very proud of the students at that exact moment.  I was a little worried that my assignment had no connections to what they needed to have done for their teacher (aka the text) so I looked at the questions.  Each station covered every type of question that was in the assignment so I assigned them some questions that they did very easily.

Of course this assignment could be done without cell phones, but I think it would lose the engagement.  The class responded really well to this assignment, but obviously many other classes wouldn’t.  It was a really nice way to work in some cell phone use in the classroom and see how it went over.  I could have easily used a QR code with this making it that much easier for the students.  There is a generator that will send a text when you scan the code, so I could have had them just scan the code and click send for their decision.

Using the cell phones has really shown me that there is a need to incorporate the technology that appeals to the students.  The technology component of the curriculum requires so much more than just graphing calculators now, and as educators we need to find ways to use these different technologies effectively.  I can see that cell phones are important now and it is great to find ways to use them, but I can also see that it is going to change and adapt even more.  Technology is quick, and it replaces itself so quickly, what works right now isn’t necessarily what will work in the near future.  I feel the need to be very on the ball with these things because once I feel like I have perfected the use of one technology it is probably going to be out dated.  For now, since I am not in my own class, I just need to try to think about the different ways to incorporate technology, and be aware of how it is changing.

QR Codes

3 Mar

The more I have continued on with our technology project the more I love QR Codes.  Our focus has completely shifted to them, and there is so much that I’m learning I don’t even know what to present anymore.  On Tuesday we have to teach everyone what we have learned and the biggest thing I want to focus on is using our tool to teach the tool.  I want to make sure that all of what we are using is done on the cell phone and presented through QR Codes.

Another important thing for our presentation will be discussion of the pro’s and con’s of using cellphones and QR codes in the class.  We are so limited on time we are not going to get to have the in depth discussion that we really could have.

 

I have made a QR code for my personal information and played around with it trying new things out.  My love of Marilyn Monroe made me decide to put her in the background of my code.

Finally, I have put together a wiki, Education QR Codes, for all of the things I have been working on, and on it we are going to put up everything that we will be presenting on Tuesday!  I hope everyone is excited as me.

Mobile Education – Let’s Start Here

15 Feb

This is a QR code.  It so happens to be a QR code that links to the wiki our class has created, specifically the page about using cellphones and mobile devices in a classroom.

How can we use this?

This is a question I have been asking myself over the last couple weeks.  I have spent lots of time acquiring knowledge of mobile learning, reading blogs and thinking about how we could use it in the classroom.  I have thought of hundreds of ideas, but up until a couple days ago there wasn’t one that seemed good enough.  We have to present our technology to our class, but more importantly I wanted to find a way that I could actually use this technology when I am interning and eventually when I’m teaching.

What really got me thinking was QR codes, and it is where I decided to have my focus.  My first real question was are they just a commodity?  They have the same function as many other things do on their own, but they are just very easy to use.  Regardless of if they are a commodity or not, their convenience is something that is going to become more and more evident in advertising and social media aspects.

So how can we use it?

Today I pitched my idea to my group members, who will hopefully be commenting on this post, and we agreed that it is what we want to do.  We are going to make a QR scavenger hunt.  Maybe the word scavenger hunt isn’t the best word, we can think of it more like stations.  Something that we have to focus on is teaching the rest of our class the different tools cell phones use, so we are going to be able to do this in the form of this stationed work.  At each station there will be a QR code directing each person to a different aspect of cellphones, for instance a Poll Everywhere question, or a youtube video to watch, a discussion to post onto, upload a picture to a site, upload a video, make a podcast etc.  These stations will show the vast ability to be able to use a cell phone to do all those things.

Now let’s think in a classroom.  What this could enable is the use of all the different types of learners.  You can different stations that focus on the different types of learning which could all be connected to the same concept.  You could have students teach a concept and have them instantly upload the video to a place accessible to the entire class.

Ok.  Thinking too small here.  Let’s bring in the social aspect of this.  How big could you go…

What if you post your “scavenger hunt”, or stationed lesson, whatever you want to call it, on your blog, or website, or whatever you use.  You could then send it out to the world.  All a teacher, in any place, would have to do is print off a page of QR codes and the stations and lesson are ready to go.  Then, the teacher and the students can see the connections they can make with other students and schools all over the place.  The possibilities with this are endless.

Let’s think different subjects.  Math.  You could teach basically any  concept, come up with resources, and create these stations.  You can have students making real life connections with a concept related to their area and post them instantly.  You can have students teach a concept in their own way.  You could have students creating their own math problems and questions and post them ready to be answered by others. This is just a small portion of what you could do.

Let’s go art now.  Not only could you connect with the art you see in your community and share it, as well as share the art you have created, you could go crazy with collaboration.  If you had students sending in videos from all over the place in a response to what you or your students want, you could create film pieces, or photography pieces, even music pieces.  And all from your cell phone.

Science.  What if you had students create their own labs or questions to labs and have them post them for other students to complete.  You could have lots of people getting results to experiments or adding their input.  In English, or any language, you could do creative writing workshops, collaborative writing, pen pals and so much more.

Really the list could go on.  These are things that could completely be done without the QR code too, just by using them you are appealing to a different generation of learners.  Cell phones are very common, and smart phones are increasing as well.  These codes create a convenience to use these different technology aspects.  I know that even I have stopped relying on my laptop very much and almost do everything on my phone.

Since we are in a position that we are going on an internship in the next year, it would be extremely easy for us to collaborate on a project like this, granted we get the permission to use cell phones.  Something that we would have to work with, which we will already see just in our class, is that not everyone has a smart phone, or a phone capable of using QR codes.  There will have to be adjustments made to accommodate this.

This is just an outline of the idea’s that I have been having.  If anyone has any comments, suggestions, ideas, feedback… anything, it would be greatly appreciated.

Mobile Education

25 Jan

One of my classes has required us to do a very open ended assignment about integrating technology in the classroom.  It is a math education class so we are trying to integrate the technology into math but not specifically.  The group that I am in is looking into using cell phones in our classrooms.

The big question is: Distraction or Tool?  Cell phones are becoming more and more a part of daily life and is something we have to think about.  While it is important to think about the negative aspects of them the question really should be how we use it.  Cell phones could be a dangerous tool if they aren’t used properly but also an incredible asset if incorporated properly.

I found a website about Thinking Mobile Phones For Learning and there seems to be a lot of good things on there.  I’m pretty overwhelmed with the amount of resources there are and really don’t know where to start.

I really want to not only research how the cell phones can be used but also how teachers right now are using them.  I want to know about their reactions to these things and ask questions.  I want to know if it works, what works good, what works bad and go from there.

This is just a starting point for me, I’m just going to have to dig in and start learning.  If anyone has any feedback, resources, stories… anything, it would be greatly appreciated!

All of the information we are collecting is going onto our wiki 2011emth351.

Dear Technology

20 Nov

Dear Technology,

I have a lot of things to thank you about. For instance today you made it possible for me to fix my car without direct help from anybody. Through my cell phone I was able to take a picture of my battery, send it to my dad, and speak to him on speaker phone while I figured out how to boost my car and get it to start. This is something I was not comfortable doing, and was able to because of my phone. I also was able to use my phone to call CAA who came to help me, but after I had already started my car.

But the question I have for you, technology, is why I couldn’t fix my car on my own. Today I learned I don’t have very many life skills when it comes to my car. I can only now boost my car, I can’t change my oil, I can’t change a flat tire. I have absolutely no clue. Why? CAA is just a call away, and I am the most used CAA member in my family. Maybe I should take the time and learn how to properly use and take care of my car?

This little incident sparked my interest in you, technology, today, and I have been thinking about you ever since. The reason to blog? Are We Digital Dummies

With all my love,
Samantha Douglas

I have always thought of myself as a multi tasker, and I would be lying to say that I don’t text, or go on facebook constantly throughout the day. It is habit. Watching this documentary has changed a lot of my views on my own technology use. I spend too much time on the computer and I spend way too much time texting.

This should probably change, but it is an addiction I am just not ready to give up, but at least I am aware of it. I am especially aware of my cellphone addiction now because I just did the Crackberry Quiz mentioned in the video that told me I have a painful addiction at a 20 points.

Enough about me, lets talk about society, especially as an educator. What am I going to do when I have a class full of students who don’t listen to a word I am saying? How am I going to teach kids to be functioning members of society, which is separate from the technological contributions they might make? How am I going to adjust my teaching to suite technology? It scares me!

There is too much reliance on technology. Watching this video has reminded me of a very powerful story called The Feeling Of Power By Isaac Asimov. When I took ECMP 355 it was something I was reminded about, and blogged about then, but originally I read this short story in grade 10. This story really emphasizes how technology, when relied upon too heavily and not taught in a proper way, takes away the importance of our ability to think.

The society we live in is full of people wanting to go faster, get things done quicker, and expand as quickly and competently as possible. Is this necessarily a good thing? What happens when we expand too much, and the world can’t support us anymore? David Suzuki talks about Exponential Growth, and the effects that it has on our society. Technology is only aiding to how quickly our world is growing.

A part in the documentary that really affected me was the part about the destruction of family life. I know that my texting upsets my family members, and I always just assume that it is because they don’t have cell phones and they don’t understand, but that is far from it being okay to do. It’s rude, and disrespectful, and I know this and do it anyways because it is a part of my daily routine, whereas spending time with my family is not. This aspect of technology reminded me of another short story The Veldt by Ray Bradbury, which I have also blogged about in ECMP 355. Although I am not thinking of having children any time soon, I do think about what it would be like to be a mother, and I am overwhelmed with the thought of having to constrict time with technology for my kids.

It is very easy to talk about the benefits of technology, every day a new one springs up. Technology as a whole is constantly growing, making itself better, more accessible and easier to use, we need to make sure we learn how to use it effectively. Also, because of this fact, it is really easy to not think of the negative sides of the issue.

My goal before the end of the year is to go a week using the minimal amount of technology possible, just to see what it would feel like. That means no cellphone, no facebook, no twitter, no internet, no computer, no tv, basically no anything. I’m not ready to do it right at this moment, but it is going to happen.