Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Module 7: Web Awareness & WebQuests

This is the first time I’ve seen/used WebQuest and I found it pretty interesting. I think that the most important aspect of a WebQuest is that it focuses on effectively allowing a student to use information from the internet rather than the student spending an entire class searching for applicable information with regards to a specific subject. A WebQuest uses a learner’s time well and can support the learner’s thinking at levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. An effective WebQuest needs a ‘big question’ or ‘central theme’ that is based around. For example, students are required to create a summary of material or the WebQuest has a identifiable problem to be solved. A WebQuest usually includes: an introduction, a task, a process, and evaluation standard for the student, and a conclusion. And, the final product sometimes requires the student to use tools. (i.e- the internet, hyperstudio, etc.)

I think it would be really beneficial to create a WebQuest for students in grade twelve who are seeking post secondary schooling. Finding information about colleges and universities can sometimes be confusing and theres LOTS of information for each university. Therefore, I would think, that creating a WebQuest that already condenses material from many universities and colleges would be very helpful. The main goal of the WebQuest would be for students to find universitiy and/or college campuses that interest them and to then see if they meet the requirements for the school they're interested in. It would be beneficial to find more than one campus and then rate them according to the student's general interest and their ability to go there. I think it would also be benefical to create a section on student loans. The evaluation for this WebQuest would be based on effectively and thoroughly researching the student's 'interested-in' universities and colleges.

Internet Safety: Internet safety is something that really concerns me in the classroom. With a class of 25+ students, how can I truely monitor what each student is doing online? I think my biggest concern is privacy. Students can unknowingly (or knowingly) put information out on the internet that can lead to in invasion of their privacy (i.e. - personal profiles, software registration, chatrooms). The students themselves should be just as concerned about their privacy as the teachers. Therefore, teachers need to model and introduce the concept of keeping private information personal, no on the internet. Teachers can do this by, encouraging students to never share their personal information, sticking to high-quality websites, and teaching students techniques about website policies. I also really like the idea of creaintg a 'gender neutral' nickname. As soon as you're using the computer, you use that nickname and stick to it. I think it'll really ensure safety in the long run. More than anything, the fact that we have to teach our children rules and guidelines like these really worries me. Our children are growing up in a completely different generation than I did, just like I did as compared to my parents. But- to prevent worry, I'll teach safety. And, hopefully it'll take my students a long way in their education.

Module 6: Spreadsheets & Graphing

After reviewing the articles for this module, I now realize there is more than one way to use Excel. Previously, I’ve only used spreadsheets and Excel for classes such as Kinesiology 2200, where we had to gather and organize data and then analyze it and compute it into SPSS. But- I always found that fairly tedious and boring. As a teacher, I can use spreadsheet/Excel to help me effectively and efficiently calculate marks (i.e. – individual grades, class averages, individual student averages over series of grades, highest grade, lowest grade), calculate fundraising totals (and required amounts still need to be raised), and even keep track of staff/student funds for certain clubs/groups. I can also help the students use Excel/Spreadsheet for a variety of things. For example, they can create whole class graphs (i.e. - in primary grades they can calculate what kind of pets students in the class own), Bingo games, time lines (for books, events, or even biographies and autobiographies), interview forms, simple/complex graphing assignments, probability experiments, and even to compute math.

When introducing Excel and the concept of spredsheets to the students, I would probably use this website to help my tutorial... Excel 2000 Tutorial (Florida Gulf Coast Univeristy, Technology Skills Orientation) http://www.fgcu.edu/support/office2000/excel/. This website uses clear definitions to describe toolbars and functions and also highlights everything that is important to a new Excel program user. This tutorial would be useful when introducing simple concepts such as making charts. As a class we could easily gather information regarding student statistics (i.e. - height, eye color, hair color, etc...) and then compute the information into spreadsheet and create different kinds of charts.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Module 4: Concept Mapping Using Inspiration

Concept mapping is tool that’s used in classrooms both by teachers and students to visually organize information and/or concepts. Concept mapping also allows the student/teacher to create and describe relationships between represented concepts.

There are numerous advantages, for both teachers and students, when using concept mapping in the classroom. Using concept mapping allows students to rearrange ideas, make new connection between ideas (between all new information received and new and already known information), “virtually plan” assignments, and easily move between diagrams and outlines of the explored subject (when using Inspiration). Teachers on the other hand can use concept mapping to plan lessons, organize goals, and create assignments and activities for students to reinforce themes and concepts discussed in class. Using tools such as Inspiration also allows teachers to accommodate individual learning styles and address multiple intelligences. Concept mapping also encourages creativity in the classroom and allows sharing of ideas and concepts from the student’s perspective. One disadvantage of concept mapping is that if students are not clear of concepts and ideas or don’t have a true grasp on the discussed subject before mapping, the concept map con be lacking adequate information and significant relationships.

I would integrate the use of technology, and more specifically, Inspiration into my classroom with the facilitation of Language Arts. In a senior Language Arts/English classroom it would be easy to use Inspiration to map out the characters and their relationships in plays such as Shakespeare’s Macbeth. I would suggest students begin a map of characters at the beginning of the play and then ask them to add to their concept map as new characters are introduced throughout the play. I would ask them to highlight characteristics of each character in the play and also the relationships among all characters so students can more easily follow the highly developed plot of the play.

Technology Outcomes Covered:
P.4.4.3: use integrated software effectively and efficiently to reproduce work that incorporates data, graphics, and text.
P.2.4.1: manipulate and present data through a selection of appropriate tools, such as scientific instrumentation, calculators, databases and/or spreadsheets.
P.6.4.1: select and use appropriate technologies to communicate effectively with targeted audience.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Module 3: Searching The Internet & Backing It Up

Title Of Activity: Finding Our Landmarks!

Reference Section:
City Of Lethbridge. (2004.) City of Lethbridge: Landmarks. Retrieved September 28, 2005, from,
http://www.lethbridge.ca/home/Enjoying+Lethbridge/Picture+Gallery/Landmarks/Landmarks.htm

Grade Level: 1

Subject: Social Studies

Brief Description of Activity: Groups of two students will go to the website where they will find pictures of local landmarks for Lethbridge. The website students will visit is:
http://www.lethbridge.ca/home/Enjoying+Lethbridge/Picture+Gallery/Landmarks/Landmarks.htm. (But, because the students are in grade one and because the URL for this website is so long (and errors may occur in typing), students will open their internet browser, click on ‘favorites’ and then on the ‘favorite link’ labeled: Lethbridge Landmarks.) There, students will be able to discuss whether or not they recognize landmarks familiar to the city of Lethbridge. Students will be encouraged to click on the highlighted link below each picture for more and varied pictures of each landmark.

General Learner Outcome: Students will distinguish geographical features and landmarks to enhance sense of belonging.

Specific Learner Outcome: Students will discuss and be able to recognize familiar landmarks in and around the city of Lethbridge.

ICT Outcomes:
P.5.1.2: Access hyperlinked sites on intranet or internet.
C.4.1.1: Follow a plan to complete an inquiry.
C.7.1.1: Draw conclusions from organized information.

Rationale for Computer Integration: Computers have been integrated into this lesson so students have choices about the order in which they’d like to explore the local landmarks. I think that if students see something they recognize, they’ll choose that picture first. Therefore, using a website gives them the freedom to do so. If I had presented these with an overhead projector, students would not be given the choice to explore on their own at their own pace; a project would be my pace. Second, using the City of Lethbridge website allows for a wide variety of pictures to be viewed, much more selection than a book or a brochure about Lethbridge’s local landmarks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Module 2: Technology Integration Part 2

Related (specific) Technology Outcome being integrated: C.2.4.1 Consult a wide variety of sources that reflect varied viewpoints on particular topics.

Subject: Health Education (In British Columbia, we have CAPP- Career and Personal Planning. I'm not sure what the equivilant class is in Alberta.)

Grade: 12

Description: This techonoly outcome requires students in division four to seek alternative viewpoints using information technologies. I think, that in a Health Education class, this would be an excellent opportunity for students to explore and educate themselves and others about abortion and pro-life options.

Background: Students have already been made aware of alternatives to sex and safe-sex options. They are now learning about pregnany and their options with regards to continuing/not continuing pregnancy (adoption, abortion).

Task: Grade 12 students will be asked to use the internet to research both positive and negative opinions/viewpoints regarding abortion. Students must find four different resources for each viewpoint (eight resources in total). Four (two for positive and two for negative) of the eight resources should be credible resources (ie- government websites, health websites, online journal articles). After students have fully researched both positive and negative viewpoints/opinions concerning abortion, they will make a PowerPoint presentation to present the class with their findings. PowerPoint presentations should present both abortion and pro-life opinions making sure no biases to one or the other are present. (The purpose of this PowerPoint assignment is not to take sides or debate the issue, but to educate and raise awareness about different options.) As a final slide in their PowerPoint presentation, students will make a 'Resources' page/slide to depict websites used for their pressentation.

By creating an informative PowerPoint on different abortion opinions/viewpoints, students can effectively exhibit that they've consulted a wide variety of resources that reflect varied viewpoints on particular topics.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Module 2: Technology Integration Part 1

Here we are in 2005 and technology integration in the classroom is still being termed as 'new' and something that will happen in the 'future'. But, for as much as computers are being used at home by both teachers and students, we shouldn't be talking about technology integration as something distant; it should be effectively established and used in the classroom already. Why isn't it? One reason that I can think of that wasn't suggested in the articles is fear of change. Many teachers are most likely comfortable with the current status of their classroom and don't feel/see the need to assist learning with technology. (The fear that what cited is that there is no correct answer for teachers to 'grade' when students use techology to support learning... Teachers have to evaluate the process, not neccessarily the product.) One mentioned and researched barrier to technology integration is the experience teachers have with technology. Even though teachers are going to workshops to keep up-to-date regarding new computer resources and programs, they aren't being taught how to effectively integrate technology into their classroom and their daily lessons. Teachers who know how to record keep and use programs such as WordPro aren't neccessarily going to use that knowledge to use technology in the classroom, and students can't benefit. Accordingly, when teachers are given the skills to employ technology as a tool for authentic learning, it's shown that students move through material faster than expected.

There are many good examples of good technology integration in the classroom. Students can use a wide variety of government and science based websites to further topic research beyond the classroom. (In science, students can use The Weather Network,
www.theweathernetwork.com, to find trends in local weather. In socials, students can use government websites to update themselves on political issues and current bills being passed.) After a novel study, students can research themes discussed in the book, discover more about the author's life and even contact the author via email to ask questions regarding the novel. My favorite technology integration idea that was suggested was the idea of joining Journey North. It allows students at different schools to collect information and then compare results and statistics between schools and classes. Students can use technology to record keep year-to-year, find trends in data between classes, and even go beyond whats required of them in class to answer their own inquiries.

Unfortunately, there are also poor examples of technology integration. Sending students to their block of 'computer time' to type out an essay for social studies is not INTEGRATING technology. This example, seperates learning from technology and places them in seperate skill categories. Students need to be aware that techology can be used to help them find more answers and allow them to explore 'beyond the box'.

Technology integration can positively occur in classrooms and allow teachers to build on student skills that are already present. When technology integration is present, student involvement in the learning process is enhanced, not deterred.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Self Introduction & Module 1 Requirements

Hi!

My name is Lainey Frederickson and I am absolutely thrilled to be in the Education program at the UofL. I've been at the Univeristy of Lethbridge for four years and have a few more years to go before I completely finish my degree. I'm am also currently using my fourth year of elegibility swimming for the ProngHorn swim team. The varsity swim team is one of the main reasons why I chose Lethbridge when I finished highschool, the Education Program is a HUGE bonus! I was born and raised in Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia; a small town in a busy valley that thrives on tourism year-round. I'm the oldest of three children. I have both a younger sister and brother. My mom and dad own their own business, my sister goes to the University of Calgary, and my brother is currently in grade 11 after returning from a year long Rotary exchange in Brasil. I believe I am extremely fortunate to be raised in a small community and I plan on eventually returning one day to live, work, and raise a family of my own.

This was my first ever experience 'blogging'. And, in all honest truth, I'm not exactly sure what I think of the entire process yet. When it comes to pen and paper... I'm absolutely horrible at keeping a journal. It's one of my goals every year, to write a journal, I go and buy a new book and a nice pen, and then I just don't do it. I can't commit to writing in something everyday when I have what feels like a million other things to do. So, I'm hoping this assigned blog will be a huge learning experience for me. And, maybe it will make me more interested in and more able to write in a journal daily (or weekly). I hadn't ever considered the use of blogs in the classroom until reading the posted articles for this assignment. I think it's an absolutely incredible idea and hope that, if I acquire enough experience with blogs, I can someday use them in a classroom of my own. I really like the idea of class discussions, poetry/essay postings, and group projects. But, I can also see a few drawbacks. In smaller communities, not everyone has a computer or internet at home and small schools with little funding don't have enough computer access for every student within classes. And, in some households, parents don't have the skills to communicate via computers and blogs with and to teachers. It would take some clever problem solving to address and resolve issues pertaining to both computer shortages and lack of parental involvement. All in all, I think blogging in the classroom is an amazing new idea for education programs. Although it may have one or two pitfalls along the way, I think it's anticipated permanence in future classrooms will get teachers and students excited about work in the classroom and encourage them to think outside to box!