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.