Monday, August 6, 2012

Journal 9


Getting, S., & Swainey, K. (2012). First graders with ipads?. Learning &leading with technology, 40(1), 24-27. Retrieved from

Sara Getting and Karin Swainey are first grade teachers who decided to introduce iPads into their classrooms.  The article, “First Graders with iPads?”, explains the benefits and troubles they faced along the way.  They set out to “determine if using iPads would help increase reading achievement with our two lowest reading groups during the 2010-2011 academic year in Minnesota.” (pg. 24)  They found that the benefits far outweighed the risks.

They found that students that usually have undesirable behavior were highly motivated while using this new tool.  This tool provides a new and exciting way to learn.  For example, the first grade teachers used google earth for a lesson on global awareness.  They were able to show the students the regions they were discussing in class.  By seeing the place where dinosaurs used to roam, the students were excitable.  Another example they shared was how they used the Voice Memos app to record students reading.  They would pass the iPads around the classroom so the students would listen and follow along as their peer read.  They would guess who’s voice belonged to who.  It was a great game and a lot learning came from it.

In order to keep the staff aware of how the iPad worked, there were training sessions that offered iPad basic skills.  There were also areas of frustration.  Of course, they couldn’t escape the always changing and never ending technology problems.  Also some apps were very noisy which was distracting for the class. 

Despite some minor problems, the benefits outweighed the problems.  The students were very collaborative.  They naturally offered help to each other with the different apps and improved on their reading.

Question 1: Was there any changes in socialization during recess or free time?
I would think after looking at a computer all day, children would either be more social or less social, I was just wondering which one.  I know I am a little delirious after my eyes have been on the computer for long periods of time.

Question 2: What were the parent views of their first graders going to school to play on iPads?
I have a feeling some parent wouldn’t understand, until they say results, the point of iPads.  Their kids come home and play video games all day, why should they do the same thing at school?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Journal 8- AAC



AAC Augmented and Alternative Communication- includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. People with speech or language disabilities use AAC to communicate what they are not able to themselves.  ACC can be low tech, such as picture and symbol communication boards, or high tech, such as electronic devices.  Overall, AAC is used to enhance communication, expression, and social interaction.

Unaided communication devices are an example of a low tech AAC.  This can include gestures, body language, facial expressions, and more.  Unaided communication could be used to ask and answer questions in the classroom.  It can be used to communicate a student needs to the teacher.  If a student isn’t severely handicapped, this can be an easy and effective way to communicate in the classroom.

An example of a high tech AAC is the EyeMax system.  This product is used by people who have complex communication needs.  It allows them to speak with their eyes!  By focusing on a letter of detail of the system the person can type out words and participate in educational games/activities.  This device is makes communication quicker and more effective.  Because” vocabulary is organized consistently across communication pages”, it makes it easier to compose a message.  This would be a great system to have in the classroom for a Special Education classroom in order to communicate more effectively.

An input device is any device that enables someone to put information into a computer.  Many people use a mouse and keyboard as input devices, however there are more accessible devices for people with special needs.
An Ergonomic Keyboard is a keyboard shaped in a way to provide the least amount of stress on a person’s hand movements.  It has two-way tilts, inbuilt wrist rests, split angle key layouts, and more.  It is designed to reduce the pain and effort of typing.  This would be very beneficial in a classroom because the user could use the keyboard for longer and therefor communicate for longer and learn more.

U Connect is an app for students with low mobility.  Using your finger you connect the dots on the IPad.  Along with U Connect, there are many other apps on IPads for students with disabilities.  I observed a Special Education class that was utilizing these applications on their classroom IPads.  It’s a great activity to help mobility and learning.



Sunday, July 29, 2012

Journal 6


Spencer, J. T. (2011, September 19). Education rethink. Retrieved from

Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework (and Five Alternatives)

John T. Spencer's article, “Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework (and Five Alternatives)”, expresses the injustice of homework with examples and alternatives. He explains how children, young and old, are constant; kids have so many extracurricular activities going on these days, homework can bring them overboard. Some kids have stay-at-home parents that are very supportive and present after school, however, some students play the parent role while their single parent is working overtime every night. This is where the injustice comes into play. Another reason their shouldn't be homework is because kids need to be active. Six hours of school should be enough to learn the subject. Having assigned homework is de-motivating. Instead children should be creating, building relationships, and discovering on their own. This type of self-directed learning is motivating, and crucial to the development of a child.

Instead of making homework mandatory, teachers can be available to students who want more activities for home or need more help. A child learns how to work hard when it is self-directed work. If parents want their kids to have homework, teachers can provide workshops for them to help them enable learning after school. Homework should be an extracurricular activity with no pending grade. Informal homework guides a child into creativity and interest.

Some other alternative ideas might include:
  1. Compromising. Instead of assigning a huge packet of work, assign 4 questions. Or assign a short article and have kids right down a question they formulate from the article. Homework doesn't have to be hours long. Create something doable.
  2. Create fun. If you are teaching a nutrition lesson, have kids take a picture of themselves eating something that they think is healthy. Have them share it with the class.
  3. Share hobbies. Give extra credit for kids who want to share a hobby. It can be as simple as reading a poem they wrote, or bringing in a video they filmed.
  4. Have kids interact with society. Instead of having paper homework, let the kids go outside and socialize and interview and create relationships.
  5. Use every day life. Parents are always driving their kids everywhere, sports, events, friends, or the movies. Have kids calculate how much gas it takes to get to the movies, and how much it costs. Have them create journals of everyday life.

Journal 7-PLN


A Personal Learning Network, or PLN, is a community of individuals around the world who are learning together. By creating a Twitter and Diigo account and joining the collaboration of strangers that are dedicated to education, you build a network of online colleagues whom you share educational resources and information with. As a future teacher trying to keep up with what’s new and available to me, a PLN makes this simple. As long as I spend time on my Twitter account “following” other teachers/administrators and reading up on their ideas and resources, I will have an abundant supply of information to help me teach more effectively and be aware of current events in the education world.

To start off my PLN, I am currently following 34 students/educators/specialists. Susie Toso is a technology coordinator for grades K-5. I followed her because I recently read a journal article about technology coordinators and how they are so resourceful for teachers trying to think of creative ways to teach their students using various technological programs. Mandie is a 3rd grade teacher and Photographer. I am hoping to teach 3rd, 4th, or middle school, so we share this interest. Jeremy Macdonald seems to be a very well-rounded dad, teacher, tech coach, and husband so I decided to follow him. Lisa Dabbs, who led the chat I participated in, will be a great person to follow on Twitter. Lastly, Jerry Blumengarten is an educator and writer and was part of the chat I participated in. He seemed to have some great ideas and resources for educators. 

The chat I participated in was about Long Range Planning. It took place on Wednesday July 25, 2012 at 5pm. I learned the pros and cons of Long Range Planning and was able to follow some key people who were part of the discussion. It was a very informational and fast-paced chat. I didn’t have time to formulate a comment. It is definitely something to get used to.

By using a social-bookmarking tool, called Diigo, I can access websites that I have bookmarked on a variety of computers as well as share them with others. I am using this tool to build my PLN by following other education professionals who share their activity, resources, and information on Diigo. I decided to follow Jennifer Dorman because she is very interested in infographics and provides lots of resources pertaining to this. Also, I am following Christine Southard who is starting her path towards becoming an Elementary Technology Integration Specialist. Paul Bodura is also a “tech geek”, I like following the technologically savvy people because they know a lot more than I do, and it would be beneficial to follow them and keep up on their new information. With that said, I am also following Greg Limperis who is the founder of Technology Integration in Education on Jan Abernethy is also very involved in the Diigo community. 

The groups I joined are Discovery Educator Network and Clif's Notes on EdTech. Also, under my PLN bookmarks are the educators PLN, Best content in Building Your PLN K-12,
and Educational Wikis. By having these tags, groups, and people on my Diigo site, it will aid me creating my PLN.

I joined the Educators PLN digital discussion forum. This site is “dedicated to the support of a Personal Learning Network for Educators.” One blog post about inclusion discussed how different schools show inclusion in different ways. Some schools are very relaxed and work day to day with the special education students, where others are more strict. 


Visit The Educator's PLN

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Journal 5

Owens, A.M. Do your teachers need a personal trainer? Learning & leading with technology,  36(8), 14-17. Retrieved from

'Bill Nye at Tech | 2' photo (c) 2011, Will Folsom - license: Owens shares her responsibilities as an instructional technology coordinator for a school district in Pittsburgh.  Usually her weeks consist of four to six 45 minute meetings with teachers from the district.  They discuss a concept that students have the most trouble learning and “brainstorm ways to enrich the lesson by identifying available resources, technologies, and instructional strategies that may increase learning or allow the teacher opportunities to teach the concept in a new way.”  Teachers give her the issue, and she provides tech resources! How convenient!  However, it is a lot of work for only one technologist.  A solution that was created from this problem was the Student Internship Program for Instructional Technology.  Through the use of college students (getting their Masters in Instructional Technology) they matched student interns with teachers from the district.  If needed, Aileen provides additional training to the interns specific to the district.   This is a brilliant idea!  Students are getting great experience while teachers are getting the support they need in an extremely cost effective way. 

Q1: Are there programs like this for nutrition or other areas?
This would be a great, cost effective, way to bring nutrition knowledge into the classroom as well! A nutritionist could hold weekly meetings with new ideas for teachers on how to implement nutrition education in the classroom. Student interns could implement programs to teach kids instead of paying for programs that provide this service.  I think connecting with a college or university is a great way to gather resources in cost effective ways.  College students need the experience, and schools need the help (at no cost)!

Q2: Do schools hold teachers accountable for their up-to-date tech skills?
Just wondering if there are mandatory meetings for teachers on technology. I think this would be a good idea especially at a smart school. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Journal 4


Ferguson, H. (2010). Join the flock. Learning & leading with technology, 37(8), 12-17. Retrieved from

McClintock, S. (2010). Enhance your twitter experience. Learning &leading with technology, 37(8), 12-17. Retrieved from

'Twitter Bird Sketch' photo (c) 2010, Shawn Campbell - license: the journal articles, “Join the Flock”, and “Enhance your Twitter Experience”, Ferguson and McClintock explain what, how, when and why to use Twitter as an education professional.  Twitter is the best way to help you build a Professional Learning Network (PLN), which is a community of individuals around the world who are learning together.  With a Twitter account, you are able to join the collaboration of strangers that are dedicated to education.  Before you know it, you will have easy access to an abundant and continuous supply of resources and information.  However, there is a time commitment when it comes to building your PLN.  You must put the time into your Twitter account and research in order to learn from all the significant people that are apart of it.  Once you start “following” certain people that you take interest in, it will become easier for you to sift through the information that “Tweeps” (your PLN posse of friends who follow you on multiple social networks, including Twitter) post on Twitter.   Ferguson explains, “the level of participation is up to you.”  You can sit back and learn from your Tweeps, or you can contribute to the supply of information for others.

McClintock believes that by being involved on Twitter and creating your PLN will change the way you see yourself as a teacher and the way you see and teach your students.  Twitter is more efficient than email.  Instead of forwarding along information you can just tweet about it on your account.  To be a strategic tweeter though, you should follow these percentages: “70% sharing other voices, opinions, and tools; 20% of tweets should be directly responding, connecting, collaborating, and cocreating with Twitter colleagues; and 10% is hit-chatting trivial details about your life as a human being.” So, to join the Tweeple on Twitter, start slow by getting to know your Tweeps and grow from there…hopefully you don’t hit any twaffic!

Q1: How will I not get overwhelmed with building my PLN?
There are so many groups and information out there, it would be easy to get overwhelmed.  However, with the mindset starting out that I should follow only the things I am interested in should keep me on track to building a great PLN.

Q2: How diverse is Twitter?
Obviously, it is quit diverse because people from all over the world can join it.  However, what generations of people are using it?  What about the older generation who aren’t familiar with technology.  They have useful opinions and different perspectives to bring to education, however, Twitter probably won’t include these views.  It might be important to be aware of this.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Journal 2: School 2.0 Reflection
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use

NETS-T 4: Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

I read the article that discusses the issue of cyberbullying.  Nancy Willard explains that one issue of cyberbullying is that it is often overlooked.  Most people don't realize how ofter bullying happens online mostly because it usually isn't a public scene as traditional face to face bullying is.  Her solution to this problem is to inform students about the effects and feeling of their peers towards cyberbullying.  Based on former research about the decrease in binge drinking by university students that were informed that their peers had negative outlooks on it, she assumes that this method will also help decrease cyberbullying.  Once students know that their peers dislike cyberbullying they will stop.  However, lack of funds is holding this response to cyberbullying.

It is hard to supervise students in terms of technology.  Many teachers don't feel comfortable dealing with technology because they are unfamiliar.  There are so many devices and different forms of communication it becomes impossible to supervise.  Also, cyberbullying usually happens off campus, so intervention by teachers or principals becomes very difficult. Cyberbullying is a serious problem and districts should focus on reasonable solutions to help decrease the happenings of cyberbullying.