Technology That Guides Learning

Using technology in the classroom

GAME over…end of class Reflection October 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — emilypartyka @ 2:03 pm

While this class seemed to fly by this past eight weeks, I think I learned a lot of valuable information that I can implement into my lessons immediately. I really enjoyed creating GAME plan types of lessons because I can actually picture my students using them and truly benefitting from the content of them.

I think above all, I have learned how to efficiently plan for my students to use technology to further their learning through activities that are meaningful to them. Rather than being asked to figure out how to use a specific tool in the classroom, we were asked how to implement a certain activity and to use whichever tools we needed in order to help our students to learn a concept through that activity. That freedom has shown me all the different ways that one activity, such as digital storytelling, can be displayed by reading my peers’ submissions. Because I have seen all the different ways for one activity to be used in the classroom, I think I will also be much more open-minded in how my students want to portray their final products. If PowerPoint isn’t working for a student, then they will absolutely be given permission to show what they know through whatever it is that they are comfortable using.  I think most of my modifications to the GAME plan process will come after I begin implementing them. I feel that I gave my students plenty of time to complete the projects that I came up with; however, it’s difficult to tell at this point how much time they will actually need. I look forward to seeing how quickly they can work with an assignment that is really interesting to them.

Language Arts I think is a very easy subject to be able to incorporate problem-based learning, social networking, and digital storytelling. I feel that all of my lessons and units have at least one opportunity or more to integrate the technology tools that can be used with these particular assignments. At this point, I will being making a vested effort to incorporate one of these activities into each of my lessons or units in order to provide my students a meaningful education as well as prepare them for 21st century skills.


End of Course Reflection April 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — emilypartyka @ 8:35 pm

As I look back at what I have learned in the last eight weeks, I find myself in awe that I could have learned so much valuable information in such a short time. Although at times it did seem like it would never end, I come out of this class with a sense of power in my teaching and tools. I have already begun to implement the technology and theories that I’ve been introduced to in this course, and I look forward to continuing this process.

In week one, we were asked to take a look at our personal theory of learning. At that time I felt that the two most important strategies for learning were behaviorism and social constructionism. While I do believe that cognitivism and constructionism/constructivism are important, I still feel that my learning theory has stayed fairly similar. If anything, I have a deeper understanding of the theory of social constructionism which has made me incorporate more of it into my plans. I realize how important it is for students to understand how to use outside resources in their daily lives. I make my students work hard to find answers even though it hurts to watch them struggle. In the end, however, I am teaching them to become lifelong learners and that is one goal of mine for my students.

The use of technology in the classroom has always been important for me to integrate – I wouldn’t be working toward my Masters in integrating technology if I didn’t believe this. This course, though, has given me a much deeper understanding of the uses of technology as instructional devices as well as learning tools. I feel much more comfortable showing my students how to use these tools, and I feel competent in my reasoning behind using them. The two technology tools that I foresee myself using the most with my students include VoiceThread and SpiderScribe for concept mapping. Both of these programs are easy to use and allow my students to deepen their understanding of what is being taught. I look forward to giving my students the chance to really understand the 21st century skills and using these tools independently.

Two long term goals that I would like to give myself with regards to my instructional practices and technology integration include using at least one technology learning tool per unit and one instructional tool per unit. I need to take a look at the lessons I have for the remainder of the year and decide which technology tools will give my students the chance to comprehend the material at a deeper level. Likewise, I need to decide how to best introduce new information that works for my group of students. I think this can be an easy task as long as I can find the resources. Next year, especially, I will have the knowledge of these tools and be able to use our district sign out policy to integrate them more easily. I think the students will really appreciate these use of these tools to prepare them for their future.

Overall, this course has been one of the most useful courses I have taken through my Masters program. I am very excited to continue using the knowledge and tools that I have been introduced to, and I really look forward to watching my students grow with the use of these tools.


Flipping Your Classroom February 26, 2012

Every Wednesday during the school year our district participates in “Late Start Wednesdays”. This gives the district, and each individual school, a chance to discuss the current happenings, review testing data, or learn a new tool. This past Wednesday we had a colleague (Kathy) present to us all the new tools and gadgets she learned about at a recent eTech conference. While she mentioned several fun and innovative tools to use in the classroom, she also mentioned the idea of “flipping your classroom”. When I first saw this projected on the board, I thought to myself, oh, she must mean when you only use technology in the classroom and get rid of paper and pencils. I was excited to hear what she had to say because my recent Walden University class had mentioned this theory, and I am interested in working on this in the future. However, my assumptions were a little off.

What our colleague explained to us is that by flipping your classroom, you flip your instruction and homework. Kathy gave us the example of when the student is in the classroom, and the teacher is going over how to do a problem, the student thinks he understands it. But once he gets home to do the assigned homework, he all of the sudden has no idea how to do it anymore. By flipping your classroom, you assign your instruction (reading a chapter, reviewing a formula) to be done at home. Kathy even suggested assigning this work on a classroom Moodle (I’m still a little new to this web tool). The students can access the chapter needed to complete the instruction, then take that knowledge into the classroom the next day. Since the instruction was completed at home, the time spent in class is used to actually apply the new material. Rather than struggling to complete the assignment at home with no support, the students now apply their learning to the work done in the classroom. I think this concept could make the learning much more meaningful and certainly less stressfull to students and teachers alike.

My only questions is, if I can’t get a student to do homework now, then how do I assign instruction to be done at home? If my students don’t buy into the flipping, then the classroom remains like it was before. I’d love to hear suggestions on how to make this more of a reality.

I realize this isn’t necessarily a technology-that-guides-learning type of post, but it is an innovative way to structure a classroom. Plus, technology tools can definitely be incorporated to make it more technology-friendly.

I already mentioned using Moodle to assign work, but can you think of other tools that could make this classroom flipping more realistic?

(I thought the post needed more color. Thanks, Google Images!)




The end of the course… February 17, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — emilypartyka @ 7:46 am

As this eight week’s course comes to an end, I now have the chance to reflect on what all I’ve learned. I think above all else, I have learned that most technology is not as daunting as it first appears. There were definitely some assignments that took longer to complete because it was my first time. However, in the end, I know it was just a learning curve, and if I were asked to complete the assignment again, I would have very little trouble. What I have also learned are all the different ways that these new (to me) technologies can be used in my classroom. While I was asked how I could implement different tools in my classroom, I also learned how others would implement theirs. I gathered some great ideas for what I can use, and I hope that I contributed to others’ plans as well. Lastly, I have learned how to better prepare my students for the 21st century skills. I need to break down any barriers that I may have in order to teach them the skills they need to compete in the world after graduation.

This course has really challenged me to shift my thinking of a teacher-centered classroom to that of a learner-centered classroom. Instead of the students constantly depending on me to push the lesson, I am learning to become more of a facilitator and letting the technology drive the lesson to where it can be. I realize that my position will not become obsolete, but I do see that in order for my students to become media literate, they need to be challenged to use higher-thinking skills and problem-solving skills in order to complete learner-centered tasks.

In order to continue to expand my knowledge of learning, teaching, and leading with technology with the aim of increasing student achievement, I plan to incorporate meaningful technology into my plans. I think the more that I can expose myself and my students to these technologies, the better and more efficient my teaching and their learning will become. I have already created lesson plans that will include the different tools that we have learned throughout this course. Now, I need to continue planning with those in mind, as well as begin exploring other tools that are useful to my classroom.

Two goals that I’d like to set for myself in order to transform my classroom into a learner-centered environment as well as prepare my students for 21st-century skills are:

1)    In each quarter, plan to use three types of technology tools in order to teach the concept or for students to use in order to show their comprehension of the unit.

       a. I will accomplish this by becoming more comfortable with new technologies, as well as      planning enough ahead of time to reserve the technologies for my classroom.

2)    Incorporate more group-based learning in which students use higher-thinking skills and problem-solving skills with the use of technology.

       a. Plan for more group-based lessons and reserve the appropriate technology to use in my classroom.

Lastly, in the beginning of this course, we were asked to assess ourselves on how comfortable we feel with technology, as well as how often we use it. While my answers leaned mostly toward the ‘infrequently’ column, I feel that I am slowly making the shift to the ‘sometimes’ and ‘often’ columns. I feel that I have the tools and skills to plan for these shifts, but at this point, it’s a matter of putting them into action. I think the beginning of the fourth quarter will be slightly easier for me to implement most of these tools as it will be a new set of standards that we are focusing on. I think next year I will be much more comfortable with creating the plans using technology as I will have a better grasp of how I can integrate it. I look forward to when incorporating technology becomes like second nature to me, and I think my students will appreciate it too!


My First Podcast February 4, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — emilypartyka @ 3:49 pm
Tags: , ,

This week’s assignment was to create a podcast dealing with the ever-changing student in today’s society with regards to technology. I asked three of my students a variety of questions, such as how much they use different types of technology and how much technology they use in the classroom. My podcast reveals that only a few types of technologies are being used within the classrooms, as well as at the homes of my students. With this new information, I hope to create lessons that will expose them to newer tools so they will be better prepared for life after graduation. Enjoy my podcast here!


Tips on Integrating Technology January 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — emilypartyka @ 9:45 am
Tags: , , , ,

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!