Sunday, November 7, 2010

Video Conferencing in the Classroom

Today in technology class we had a video conference with Colin Regamy, the Distance Learning Coordinator at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. I am very familiar with using Skype as a tool to connect with friends and family all over the world, but this was much more impressive than Skype! At first it was hard to get used to interacting with Colin through a TV screen, but much like Skype, after a few minutes I, as well as the rest (or at least most) of the class become comfortable with the technology. This was the first time the majority of the class (myself included) has experienced a video conference like this. It was a new and exciting experience for us all and one I think we all found interesting and engaging. Within a short 45 minutes, Colin was able to give us a sneak peak into 3 of the online programs offered by the Royal Tyrrell Museum. The first program Colin showed us was PIQ: Test your Palaeo Intelligence, a program intended for Kindergarten to Grade 3. During this program, students are led through a series of six games and challenges in an attempt to escape extinction as well as a deadly volcano that is about to erupt! Next Colin show us a program intended for students in grades 3-6 called Rockin' Alberta Resources. In this program, students explore the natural heritage of Alberta's badlands through palaeontology, geography, and geology.  The last program Colin showed us was Applied Science in Palaeontology: Physics. This program is intended for grades 10-12. The program focuses on applying high school physics in the real world. All three of the programs we were introduced to are fun, interesting, and engaging. I think students as well as teachers would really benefit by using video conferencing in the classroom. There are so many great ways, we as educators can introduce this type of technology into our classrooms.

One of the links we were sent to during class was, 50 ways to use Skype in the classroom. This link is an excellent resource for teachers who are looking for ideas on how to take advantage of the power of Skype. This website gives some excellent examples, but is not an exhaustive list of the ideas for using Skype in the classroom. The ideas are endless!

Another website (link) we were sent to was the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives. This website includes a library with a large variety of uniquely interactive, web-based virtual manipulatives or concept tutorials, mostly in the form of Java applets, for mathematics instruction. The website provides programs for students in all grades (K-12 emphasis). 

The programs I spoke about today, are just a few examples of programs that are available online for use by students and teachers. If you are looking for a new way to introduce a topic, subject, skill, etc. to your class, try looking for a program online... you will be amazed at what you can find!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Web Awareness



 This week we explored web awareness and internet safety. As teachers, it is important to become aware of the issues and risks associated with using the internet in the classroom and at home. In class, we covered four main issues associated with children using the internet. Safety on the web was the first issue we explored. In order to ensure our students' safety on the internet, it is important to become familiar with the risks ("Know the Risks"). The Media Awareness website provides teachers' with information and classroom activities or lesson on the following risks; privacy invasions, pornography, cyber-bullying, online predators, spam, misinformation, violent and hateful content, and gambling. The second issue we explored was authenticity of information on the web. Kids, as well as adults, often have the mindset that "if it's on the internet, it must be true". Here is a useful checklist that can be used to evaluate the accuracy of sources. The Media Awareness Network has a list of questions that you can ask yourself when determining whether or not the information you encounter on the internet is accurate and reliable. Marketing to kids on the web was the third issue covered in class. It is important as teachers to help our students understand when, how, and why they are being marketed to. As teachers, we need to address marketing and privacy issues in the classroom.  The last issue we explored was copyright & privacyAs students and teachers, we are faced with the challenges of copyright issues when trying to utilize and integrate materials. It is important for us as teachers to become familiar with the Canadian Copyright Act and to teach our students about it as well. As teachers, we should model to our students how to give credit to the author and cite sources. Teaching our students about the risks and issues associated with the internet helps promote safe internet use within the classroom. 


References:

Beck, Susan. (1997). The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Or, Why it`s a good idea to evaluate web sources. Retrieved October 27, 2010, from http://lib.nmsu.edu/instruction/eval.htm.
Media Awareness Network. (2006). Media and Internet resources; for teachers, for parents. Retrieved October 27, 2010, from http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/index.cfm.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Internet Search & Inquiry- Discovering the Benefits of Physical Activity through Technology

Activity:
Discovering the benefits of physical activity

Reference to URL's:
IFIC Foundation. (2007). Bright papers: top 5 reasons why physical activity is cool.
Retrieved on October 11, 2010, from
KidsHealth. (1995-2010). Why exercise is cool. Retrieved on October 11, 2010, from
Saskatchewan in Motion. (n.d.). Benefits: how will you benefit from physical activity?
Retrieved on October 11, 2010, from


Grade/Subject:
Grade 3 Physical Education

Description of Activity:
Students will be asked to go to a variety of websites containing information about the benefits of physical activity to the body.  Students will be asked to jot down key points and information found on the websites. From the information gathered, students will send their teacher an email describing, in their own words, the benefits of physical activity.


GLO:
B (Benefits Health): Students will understand, experience, and appreciate the health benefits that result from physical activity.

SLO:
B3-6: Students will describe the benefits of physical activity to the body.

ICT Outcomes:
C.1- Students will access, use and communicate information from a variety of technologies.
            1.1- Access and retrieve appropriate information from electronic sources for a specific inquiry.
            1.2- Process information from more than one source to retell what has been discovered..
C.3- Students will critically assess information accessed through the use of a variety of technologies.
            1.1- Compare and contrast information from similar types of electronic sources.
C.7- Students will use electronic research techniques to construct personal knowledge and meaning.
            1.2- Summarize data by picking key words from gathered information and by using jottings, point form or retelling.
            1.3- Draw conclusions from organized information.
P.1- Students will compose, revise and edit text.
            1.1 Create original text, using word processing software, to communicate and demonstrate understanding of forms and techniques.
P.2- Students will organize and manipulate data.
            1.1. Read information from a prepared database.
P.6- Students will use communication technology to interact with others.
            1.1 Compose a message that can be sent through communication technology.

Teaching Rationale (Why use technology?):
Children at this age may not know all of the benefits of physical activity to the body. By using technology for this activity, students will become aware of the many benefits of physical activity. Using technology for this activity is beneficial as it provides the students with concrete evidence of the benefits that result from being physical active. The internet provides a quick and easy way to research and find reliable (most of the time) information. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

What is Effective Technology Integration for 21st Century Learners

The world is rapidly changing. As such, it is our responsibility, as educators to take action and learn about the changes taking place. In order to do this, teachers need to be aware of what new technologies are available and become familiar with their uses. I believe this to be an important first step in effectively integrating technology into the classroom. In today’s learning environment, it is essential to keep students connected to the real world. Students are more likely to retain information when they are able to incorporate real world experiences into their learning environment. Effective technology use supports connection to real world experiences.

Technology integration must support curricular goals and enhance learning in order for it to be effective. The focus needs to be on the curriculum before technology. The curriculum today places an emphasis on developing 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation, communication, collaboration, information literacy, media literacy, ICT literacy, flexibility, adaptability, initiative, self-direction, productivity, accountability, social and cross-cultural skills, leadership, and responsibility.

Effective technology integration supports active engagement, frequent interaction and feedback, and participation in groups. Engagement seems to be a key word in 21st century learning today. When students are actively engaged in their learning experience they are more likely to retain information. Feedback is an important aspect of learning. With the use of technology, students can receive feedback not only from their teacher, but also from other students, parents, and even from people across the world. Students are able to communicate and collaborate with an audience extended beyond just the classroom. Students can now engage and actively participate with students across the globe instantaneously. Participation in groups, or working collaboratively, can enhance the learning experience and make it more meaningful.

Effective technology use is focused, creative, relevant, engaging and active, purposeful, and accessible. Technology use can allow students to build conceptual understanding of core content, create and transform knowledge for meaningful purposes, and apply knowledge and skills to interdisciplinary challenges. Technology needs to be used for authentic tasks in order for it to be effective. In order to foster the authentic uses of technology it must support student performance of complex tasks.

Take a look at this website for some great ideas for integrating technology into the classroom.

Check out my SlideShare Presentation I created:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blogging in the Classroom

Hi! My name is Kelsey and I was born in Lethbridge and raised on a cattle farm South-East of Lethbridge. I am taking the B.Ed After-degree program and my major is Physical Education. Sports and physical activity have always been central to my life. Traveling is also a passion of mine and I have been fortunate enough to visit some very beautiful places. Recently, I spent two months (June/July) in New Zealand with my boyfriend traveling and visiting family and friends. Here is a video I took of some native New Zealand fur seal pups we came across near Kaikoura, which is on the East Coast of the South Island.

video


After reading through the assigned readings, I discovered that there are several benefits of using blogs within the classroom. Blogging can motivate students to become self-directed learners and thinkers. These skills will help students succeed not only at school within the classroom, but outside of the classroom as well. Blogs can also motivate students to participate in class, especially those students who otherwise might not participate in class. Blogging provides students with an excellent opportunity to practice their writing skills. Students tend to focus more on their writing and editing when they know their blog entries will be viewed by a wider audience (teachers, parents, peers, and others). This in turn can help to improve their writing skills. Blogs can be effective forums for collaboration and discussion. This collaboration and discussion can help increase the sense of community between the members of a class. A blog can be a great tool for communicating with parents. Parents can access information on special events occurring in the classroom such as concerts, field trips, celebrations, etc. Parents can use blogs to see what their children are learning, what assignments they are doing, and what the classroom expectations are. It helps to build a community between the parents, teachers, and students. Another great benefit of using blogs is that it provides students with an online filing cabinet where they are able to retrieve assignments, readings, handouts, homework, etc. Click on the link below to watch a Youtube video that summarizes some of the benefits of using blogs in the classroom.