Technology That Guides Learning

Using technology in the classroom

21st Century Skills – How do we stack up? January 29, 2012

Filed under: Education,Technology — emilypartyka @ 8:52 pm
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This week, I had the chance to explore the website Partnership for 21st Century Skills, also referred to as P21. As the home page of the website explains, “The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a national  organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student.” The website is designed to give educators the tools and skills necessary to help students in the United States stay competitive with the innovation of technology among the world.

The following graph, which is P21’s framework, shows how the organization views 21st century teaching and learning with the support system to help our students obtain the skills needed to succeed in this innovative era.

To help myself understand what the framework actually means, I explored deeper into the website. I found an assessment that helped me to get an idea of where I personally thought our school district was with regards to implementing and understanding 21st century technology. At the end of the quick assessment, I learned that we are at the very infancy of what P21 considers to be successfully implementing these skills. I was certainly not surprised by the results, as our school district does not have the funds to invest in the technology that P21 feels is necessary.
Another section I stumbled upon was my own state’s initiative pertaining to P21. It showed that Ohio has taken a step toward training individuals in this particular framework. However, I have never heard of it before this assignment, so I think that more steps need to be made.
The last sections I found most beneficial were the 21st Century Skills Maps and the ICT Literacy Maps. I focused on English for both of these and found useful information on how to implement and promote 21st century skills. While the maps do not show all grades, they are all available for purchase through the website. I think having the chance to really be shown how to use different technologies and skills would be the most beneficial to me, rather than simply reading about them.
I am grateful to now have this resource in my repertoire. It helps me to see where I need to be, as well as what I have done to promote 21st Century readiness to my students.



Integrating a Blog into the Classroom January 15, 2012

Filed under: Education,Technology — emilypartyka @ 2:36 pm
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As a high school Intervention Specialist teaching Resource English, Inclusion English, and Reading, I am constantly thinking of ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. More specifically, I’d like to be able to integrate blogging into the curriculum. As I have read through others’ blogs and class material, I see that there are many ways to do this. I’ll separate this post into three categories: what I’d LOVE to do with blogs, what I’d LIKE to do with blogs, and what I CAN do with blogs.

What I’d LOVE to do:

I would love to be able to post a new discussion or writing prompt on a class blog every single day. As of right now, I post a writing prompt on the board and the students respond to it in their journals. I think by using a discussion board on a blog, the students will feel more accountable for their writing and provide more scholarly work. Using a blog, students will also be able to respond to the discussion away from school. What is stymieing this from happening is the lack of laptops and computers that are available to my classroom. We have 6 laptop carts in our school and 4 computer labs, but I would have to either sign out a cart everyday (not allowable) or walk my class each day to a lab (wastes instruction time).

What I’d LIKE to do:

I would like for students to use the class blog as a soundboard. Whether we are working on a project, reading a book, or writing a paper, I would like to see the blog used as a way for my students to ask each other questions. I would also supply discussion topics or comments to their questions, but it would be neat to see them corresponding with each other. Similar to my above conflict, I know that not all of my students have access to the internet at home, nor do some of them have the time during the day to focus solely on a class blog. I foresee this idea becoming more of a headache to me as I force my students to use it, than something that will benefit their education.

What I CAN do:

One thing I can do is to create a class blog, but only use it once in a while. This way, I can sign out a cart or lab and use the blog as part of the lesson for that day. I could post a discussion question for that day for students to respond to. I could also post students’ work or even examples of work that I find exceptional or poor to guide my students in the lesson that I am introducing. This is much more tangible for me and the students.

For those of you who do not have computer/internet access in the classroom at all times, what do you do? Have you found any reasonable solutions?


Tips on Integrating Technology January 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — emilypartyka @ 9:45 am
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I just received an email from TeachersPayTeachers with tips on integrating technology. Imagine that, I’m writing a blog about technology in the classroom, and they send me some new information! The article offers different ways to incorporate technology. I am familiar with all of the ideas that are presented, but I have never had the chance to use them in the classroom. I want to share the ideas they gave me and see if any of you have experience with them. One of the main reasons I have not had the opportunity to use them in the classroom is due to money restraints. However, I would still love to hear about successes, or even failures, in using these products!

QR Codes – The teacher who used QR codes in her classroom would place them on her worksheets and have it take the students to a website or video. Of course her students loved using their cell phones in class! While most of my students do have personal cell phones, I have no experience adding these to worksheets. Does anyone know of any easy ways to do this?

Lumens LadiBug High Definition document projector – I have seen these used, and they are definitely cool! My school actually has several that we can use, but I unfortunately do not have a projector 😦 I also am only teaching in my classroom twice (the other three classes are in an inclusion classroom), so I don’t have the means to justify having one installed. The LadiBug allows you to zoom in on certain parts of the text and show the class anything you’re reading from (book, directions, article, objects) without having to make copies. Has anyone had the pleasure of using one of these?

iPod Shuffles – I have used one of these personally, but never in the classroom. Again, with money constraints, I’m not sure if it’s possible to order a classroom set of these. I do like the idea of recording a book on tape using a program on the computer, and then uploading it to the iPod, though. This could be used as a listening center, or even a way for students to practice their fluency. The TeachersPayTeachers article mentioned using GarageBand (a Mac program), but the only recording device I have used is Audacity. It is very easy to use, however I had difficulties transferring the files to a CD. Perhaps using some sort of mp3 player would be more efficient. Thoughts?

SMARTBoard – I envy anyone who has one of these in their classroom. Not only are they useful, but they look so cool! Anything to keep my students engaged is something I want. I do sentence corrections with my students using an overhead projector (fancy!), but I would love for students to be able to use a SMARTBoard to show off their skills. So many different learning types could be accessed through the use of a SMARTBoard. Any tips on how to snag one of these for….free?

I’d love to hear some feedback on all of these different tools. Again, I have seen them in use, but have never used them in my classroom. Thank you to TeachersPayTeachers for enlightening me on some additional uses of them!


Tips for showing YouTube clips in the classroom January 8, 2012

Filed under: Education,Technology — emilypartyka @ 1:19 pm

If you’re like me, you enjoy showing clips of content related material in the classroom. However, when using sites like YouTube in the classroom, sometimes you come across inappropriate comments, extremely slow download times, or the site is sometimes even blocked by your school. While researching ways around this, I found an awesome article that gives tips on how to take out the clutter and show videos just as they are. I hope you find this as helpful as I did!

Click here to check out the article “9 YouTube Tips and Tricks for Teachers


Getting Started

Filed under: Education — emilypartyka @ 12:49 pm

This is my first opportunity to blog on my own. In the past I have blogged for certain jobs, but now I have the chance to express my own ideas. I am a high school Intervention Specialist teaching Resource English, Inclusion English, and Reading. I am also in the process of earning my Masters degree in Integrating Technology (hence the blog). The goal of this blog is to share new ideas that I have found and used in my classroom, but also for others to share what they have used, whether they we successful or not. I hope we can all learn from each other and give our students the best education possible.

Thank you for joining me in this adventure!