VoiceThread – Google Slides Preview

I created a VoiceThread with examples of different Google Slides (one of the upcoming units my 4th grade class will be working on). The VoiceThread focuses on different issues that students may run into as they create their own Google Slides presentations, and asks them to think about what they might change on the Slides. My plan is to have students go through the VoiceThread before beginning their own Google Slides presentation.

Find the link below (and feel free to add a comment or two letting me know what you think!)

https://voicethread.com/share/11825815/

Constructivism, Constructionism & Technology Tools

Constructivist/constructionist learning theories lend themselves to many instructional strategies. Technology tools can be used in supporting these strategies and in turn the learning theory. At its most basic, the constructivist learning theory and the constructionist learning theory focus on knowledge being actively constructed by the learner. Instead of transferring from teacher to student, it is instead created (Orey, 2001). Constructionism focuses more on the physical creation of artifacts and how this first-hand experience can help learners understand concepts (Laureate Education, 2015). Keeping this in mind, there are many instructional strategies that utilize technology that can help students construct their knowledge and take part in active learning. One simple example of using technology to support these learning theories is to have students work together to create a Google Slides presentation based on research that they have done. Learner collaboration is an important factor in using constructionism in the classroom (Orey, 2001). Using instructional interactives such as online simulations to create with is another way to incorporate constructionism in the classroom environment. This type of software can prove to be very engaging which in turn leads to increased motivation and retention (Pitler, Hubbell & Kuhn, 2012).

I currently use Google Apps throughout my classroom instruction, such as Google Classroom, Google Sheets, Google Docs, and Google Slides. Using these apps, students can synthesize their learning and create artifacts. For example, this week my third grade students used Google Sheets to create pixel art. They had to resize and fill cells with different colors in order to create a picture. When students started this project, they were frustrated with how to make squares look like other images, specifically any that had curves (such as an emoji or a heart). Students quickly discovered that the cells had to be turned into squares for the art to look correct. They worked together and gave advice to each other on what they should do differently to make the art look better. As students worked, they became more and more confident with the mechanics and ended up creating some great works of art as a result. This project attended to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Student Standard 1d: “Students understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies…” (2016). While reviewing the resources for this module, I discovered the online tool Adobe Spark (https://spark.adobe.com). This technology tool allows you to create posters, graphic organizers, images with text, etc. I think this would be a great tool for students to have the option of using when presenting information. It allows students to be more creative and specific in how they share their learning. For example, I could have students practice coding at Code.org (https://www.code.org) and then create a poster using Adobe Spark (https://spark.adobe.com) to share what they learned throughout the activities.

The scholarly source that I located this week was a peer-reviewed article focused on using technology with constructivism in a classroom of English Language Learners (ELLs). This article suggests the use of the website Padlet (https://padlet.com) to allow teachers and students to share their thoughts on a virtual board. This increases collaboration between students. ELL students should communicate with others and show a combination of both written and oral results of their learning (Kaya, 2015). I work with many ELL students and plan to look into this website as a way to have my students share what they know or do not know about coding during my Hour of Code lesson later on in this course. The popular source I located was a website that described the constructivism learning theory using classroom examples. Gonzalez (2015) states that students should have access to a multitude of learning experiences that are hands-on, with objects and different skills. Having students construct their knowledge through exploration rather than just being told what they should know creates a more meaningful learning experience. During the Hour of Code lesson that I will teach in the coming weeks, I will ask students to first code their way through different mazes and then they will create their own maze that they have to then solve. Having students learn about coding through hands-on experience will create a more meaningful and complete understanding of what coding is versus just receiving a lecture about it.

References

International Society for Technology in Education. (2016). ISTE standards for students. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/for-students

Gonzalez, J. (2015, March 13). Know Your Terms: Constructivism. Retrieved from https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/constructivism/

Kaya, H. (2015). Blending technology with constructivism: Implications for an ELT classroom. Teaching English with Technology,15, 1st ser., 3-13. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1140571.pdf.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015). Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://textbookequity.org/Textbooks/Orey_Emergin_Perspectives_Learning.pdf

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction that works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Virtual Field Trip & Concept Map: What Was the First Thanksgiving Really Like?

Using the concept map creator tools at Lucidchart.com, I created the beginning of a concept map, with only the essential question and central node, which were focused on the first Thanksgiving. My third-grade students came up with what information they wanted to know, and this was added as additional nodes.

We went through the virtual field trip located at https://www.plimoth.org/sites/default/files/media/olc/intro.html and whenever information was presented that was relevant to the concept map, we went back and added it. If information did not fit neatly into the nodes, we created new ways to make the connections. Students had a blast “going back in time” and learning all about what Thanksgiving was really like. They were shocked that there was not any mashed potatoes or gravy! They also really enjoyed making choices about the concept map, such as the colors and pictures they added. 

Behaviorism in the Classroom & Technology Tools

Behaviorism is a theory that can lend itself to effective instructional and behavior management strategies. Used alongside technology tools, behaviorist theory can support student learning. Behaviorist theory is based on the thought that behavior is directed by stimuli, and new behaviors can be learned and old behaviors unlearned and replaced by new ones (Orey, 2001). Based on the idea that behavior is affected by stimuli, Skinner developed the idea of operant conditioning, which states that people will repeat acts that lead to a positive outcome and decrease actions that create negative results (Orey, 2001). This theory is used every day in the classroom through different instructional strategies. Positive reinforcers can be as simple as providing recognition or praise. This praise should be task-oriented rather than personality oriented in order to positively effect intrinsic motivation (Pitler, Hubbell & Kuhn, 2012). Reinforcing student effort is another positive reinforcer used in classroom instruction. Using technology to help students keep track of their effort, such as an effort rubric completed using Google Sheets, is one way to help students gain a better understanding of the connection between effort and achievement (Pitler, Hubbell & Kuhn, 2012). Behaviorism is also often used to help with behavior management. One example could be using a clip chart to track student behavior – moving down the clip chart is a negative reinforcement and moving up is positive (Laureate Education, 2015). I personally use a digital version of this type of system with Class Dojo (www.classdojo.com). Using the website, I am able to give and take away points to each student based on their behavior. Students are able to join and personalize their own character which creates buy-in and excitement. Awarding classroom money when students show specific behaviors is another example of behaviorism in action in the classroom (Use a Learning Theory, 2012). Using technology is a great way to provide immediate feedback and reinforcements while students are learning. Technology can also provide practice opportunities for students to hone their skills. It is recommended that this practice should be short, focused, and done over time (Pitler, Hubbell & Kuhn, 2012). Using the behaviorist learning theory and technology tools in conjunction can lead to a great increase in student motivation and achievement.

I currently use behaviorist-based strategies using technology, such as ClassDojo (www.classdojo.com) to keep track of behavior. I also use Google Classroom with my 3rd-5th grade students. In Google Classroom, students can turn in their work and I can grade, comment, and return it. This allows students to receive quick feedback about their work, which is a form of reinforcement. I use the iPad app Kahoot to quiz students throughout a unit. This application provided an immediate response to show if a student has answered correctly or incorrectly. This use of technology aligns with International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Teacher Standard 2: Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments (ISTE, 2016). I also use positive reinforcements throughout instruction such as smiling at students after a job well done, selecting students to help after class that have followed instructions, etc. I also use modeling and observational learning techniques while instructing students, which is another way to use behaviorist theory in the classroom (Orey, 2001).

The popular source that I identified for this module was a YouTube video that provided an overview of behaviorism and how it can be used in the classroom. This video was helpful to give a basic starting point in my research into behaviorist theory. For example, it provided some obvious examples of behaviorism that takes place in the classroom without even realizing it, such as receiving a sticker for a correct answer on a problem (Use a Learning Theory, 2012). The knowledge that I learned through this video can be integrated into a variation of Hour of Code through Code.org’s use of green, yellow, and red circles to indicate if a problem was coded correctly. This provides a reinforcer to the correct or incorrect behavior of the students on each problem. The academic resource I located for this module was a peer-reviewed article that focused on a new definition of behaviorism. In the past, behaviorist theory has been approached as looking at each distinct behavior of the child, when in fact, based on research, students behaviors are a part of the whole and the behaviors are often interconnected (Strand, Barnes-Holmes & Barnes-Holmes, 2003). I really enjoyed reading this article, as it gave a more rounded view of children and their behaviors as a whole rather than disconnected parts. I feel this is the appropriate way to consider students, as the positive reinforcers that are provided for certain behaviors certainly almost always affect other behaviors positively as well. In utilizing this knowledge into an upcoming Hour of Code project, I will make sure to provide multiple forms of positive reinforcers to positively affect the students in a variety of ways.

References

[BlueSofaMedia]. (2012, Dec 30). Use a learning theory: Behaviorism [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYDYzR-ZWRQ

International Society for Technology in Education. (2016). ISTE standards for teachers. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards/standards-for-teachers

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015). Behaviorist learning theory [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://textbookequity.org/Textbooks/Orey_Emergin_Perspectives_Learning.pdf

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction that works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Strand, P. S., Barnes-Holmes, Y., & Barnes-Holmes, D. (2003). Educating the whole child: Implications of behaviorism as a science of meaning. Journal of Behavioral Education,12(2), 105-117.

Reflecting on EDUC6710 and Moving Forward

Throughout this course I have been exposed to various media, resources, and activities that have helped me grow and develop as a professional teacher. Specifically, I have felt an increase in my confidence in utilizing specific web 2.0 technology such as blogging and wikis. One of the readings from the first week of this course inspired my learning throughout the following eight weeks: “Modern learning requires the use of modern tools – tools that connect, tools that are transparent, and tools that, in most cases, live both online and offline” (Richardson, 2015, p. 58). After reading this text, I was inspired and prepared to discover the many ways that technology can positively impact the learning happening in my classroom. Before starting this course, I mostly taught students the basics of using technology in a computer lab – we worked on typing, creating presentations, Google Sheets, etc. I led every lesson as a whole group and then the students worked independently. I have a refreshed view of the many ways that I can use technology to instill much more creative and powerful learning in my students.

My mind has been opened to the large world of Web 2.0 learning and how I can use it in my teaching. Web 2.0 technologies are focused on interaction, communication, and sharing online (Tucker, 2014). Creating a wiki-based lesson plan and then implementing it with a group of students was an eye-opening experience. I was able to see firsthand how motivating and engaging this use of technology can be to students. Dr. David Thornburg talks about the changing work environment and states that as technology is more accepted into the work environment, schedules will be more flexible leading to an increase in telecommuting and collaboration at a distance (Laureate Education, 2015a). I believe that because of this, it is even more vitally important for students to be able to work their way through an assignment or task such as the wiki assignment that I created. In this assignment, students were given very little direct instruction and were instead able to lead their own learning through the resources presented to them on a Google Site that I had created, such as different media, screencast, rubrics and examples. In doing this, my students developed vital skills for their future schooling and careers in the 21st-Century.

As a technology teacher, I have always enjoyed teaching students how to utilize technology. This course has only increased my excitement in using technology with my own students. The learning that I have done throughout the past eight weeks has also deepened my passion for working with grade-level teachers at my school to help them integrate technology into their everyday lessons. Technology is an underutilized tool that can help every child learn. There are many teachers at my school who feel overwhelmed and nervous about broaching the idea of integrating technology into their classroom. I feel that this course has deepened my understanding of how important it is that they do so. As Dr. David Thornburg shared, a teacher need not know how to use every program or tool to integrate technology into their classroom, they simply need to have an open mind and use common sense (Laureate Education, 2015b). I want to work with the grade level lead teachers throughout this year and provide simple ways that technology can be integrated into the classroom as a starting point. In my own classroom I also have been inspired to create lessons that are more student-based for the 21st century learner, such as the wiki-based lesson that I mentioned previously that I implemented a few weeks ago.

One Web 2.0 tool that I learned about that I am going to implement into my classroom is blogging. I would like to have my students use Google Classroom as a safe space to start experiencing some of the basics of blogging in education. Within Google Classroom students can write and post their thoughts, share their assignments, and ask questions of each other. A potential roadblock to its implementation would be making sure that students view blogging as an educational tool rather than a purely social one as they are used to using microblogging sites such as Twitter at home. I need to ensure that students understand that the things they are posting online can be seen by anyone and that it is important to think about what you say before you post, whether on our class blog or a personal account. To overcome this, I would do specific lessons detailing this before implementing the actual blogging into the classroom. Blogging can be used to help a diverse range of students become motivated in the classroom. In this way, it can meet the needs of 21st Century learners (Luther & Pickering, 2015). Shy or scared students who do not know how to or enjoy speaking and sharing their thoughts in class might feel more confident sharing in this way. Other students are more motivated to perform well when they know that there is an actual audience who will view their created artifacts, such as with constructionism (Laureate Education, 2015c).

In utilizing blogging, it also creates a 21st Century context for students by bringing the world into the classroom and allowing students to collaborate with one another (Tucker, 2014). I will be sure to incorporate student choice into the blogging process, as this is an important way to engage students (Rogers, 2015). Utilizing blogging in the classroom meets the ISTE Standards for Students (2016) 1c: Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. In sharing their work, their thoughts, and their ideas with the class and receiving feedback through the blog, they will be meeting this standard. As a teacher I will be meeting the ISTE Standard for Teachers (2008) 1c: Promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes.

As a teacher, I have many goals that I would like to meet to better myself and help my students to gain the skills they need for the future. One of these goals is: By then end of the 2018-2019 school year each student in my 3rd-5th grade classes will create and regulate their own blogs for my class, leading to their increased technological fluency, confidence, and independence. I will accomplish this goal by first starting with my fifth-grade students in the beginning of the year, as I feel they will most easily adapt to utilizing a blog for educational purposes. After gaining confidence and knowledge from implementing this with my fifth-grade students, moving into the second semester I will do the same with my third and fourth grade students. I will have my students use these blogs to answer questions, write and share their thoughts, and comment on each other’s posts.

An additional goal that I have is: By the end of the 2019-2020 year I will have created and implemented at least 6 lesson plans that are wiki-based and student-led. I will keep track of my lessons and how the implementation of them went on a Google Doc that I can refer to in the future when doing the lessons again. I will collect pre and post test data from my students to measure how well they were able to learn the content when it was presented in this way versus though lecturing. I will track this data in Google Sheets. I will use this data to make changes to the lessons in the future and to help support student learning and growth as needed. I plan to work towards these goals with the knowledge that I have gained throughout this course as well as personal research that I will complete over the coming months and years. It is important that as a professional educator I, myself, never stop learning.

As a result of my experiences in my courses so far and considering the population of students that I work with, I am very interested in studying more about how to utilize technology to help English Language Learners. I work with a primarily Hispanic population and many of the students that I teach speak little to no English. My school is also one of the lowest ranked schools in Maryland when it comes to PARCC test scores. I am interested in researching ways in which I can increase ELL students’ math and reading literacy using technology. This is something that I feel very passionately about and look forward to learning more about through my future courses and personal research. I plan on sharing any findings, relevant research data, etc. with the fellow teachers that I work with, for the betterment of the school’s entire body of staff and students.

References

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2016). Standards for students. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-students-2016

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2008). Standards for teachers. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-teachers

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015a). The changing work environment [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015b). The changing role of the classroom teacher: Part 1 [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015c). Transforming the classroom with technology: Part 1 [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Luther, F.D., & Pickering, J. (2015). Using Web 2.0 learning environments to address diversity: A diversity-education example. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 81(3), 28-34. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

P21. (n.d.). Framework for 21st Century Learning. Retrieved August 4, 2018, from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/docs/P21_framework_0816.pdf

Richardson, W. (2015). From master teacher to master learner. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Rogers, J. r. (2015). Five Easy Ways to Bring Blogging to Your Classroom. English In Texas, 45(2), 38-40.

Tucker, S.Y. (2014). Transforming pedagogies: Integrating 21st century skills and Web 2.0 technology. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 15(1), 166-173. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Using Blogging w/Google Classroom

I am currently a computer teacher who works at an arts-integration school with students that are in Kindergarten through 5th grade. I utilize Google Classroom with my students who are in 3rd-5th grade and think this could be a great place to introduce the concept of blogging. This seems like a safe place to start, as students would be posting their thoughts for each other and not people that they do not know. Martin (Laureate Education, 2015) shares that in starting blogging with her 6th-grade classroom, it was important that she find an easy and safe place to begin.

Throughout the year as I work with my students, I will post a variety of blog topics that are related to what we have been learning using the “create question” feature on Google Classroom. Students will then be able to share their thoughts and opinions and then respond to each other. In blogging and receiving comments on their thoughts, students are meeting ISTE Standards for Students (2016) 1c: Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. This is a way to introduce students to the concepts of blogging in a safe space, such as how to craft appropriate posts and responses that a large audience will view. Many students are used to communicating with technology in a one-on-one setting in which they can be informal. Sharing thoughts and responses through Google Classroom will require students to think more critically about what they are posting, and how it will be received by others. In doing this, they are working towards being good digital citizens in reaching ISTE Standards for Students (2016) 2a: Students cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world.

Rogers (2015) suggests that student choice is extremely important when implementing blogging in the classroom. When I post blog topics throughout the year to my classes, I will make sure to give multiple choices that are based on engaging students in the process. At this time, my goal with students is to get them comfortable and excited about using blogs and sharing their thoughts with others. Through implementing blogging in the class, I will be meeting several ISTE Standards for Teachers (2008), such as Standard 1c: Promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes. Students need to reflect on their learning before they create a post that they will share with the entire class. I will also be meeting Standard 4b: Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources. Luther & Pickering (2015) state that blogging can help to meet the needs of 21st Century learners because it can be integrated to meet the diverse needs of the students. This is my goal when incorporating blogging into my classroom. I want every student, no matter how shy or outgoing, to feel comfortable and confident in sharing their thoughts, feelings, and knowledge.

References

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2016). Standards for students. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-students-2016

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2008). Standards for teachers. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-teachers

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015). Spotlight on technology: Blogging in the classroom [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Luther, F.D., & Pickering, J. (2015). Using Web 2.0 learning environments to address diversity: A diversity-education example. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 81(3), 28-34. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Rogers, J. r. (2015). Five Easy Ways to Bring Blogging to Your Classroom. English In Texas, 45(2), 38-40.

Getting Started!

I am very excited to begin blogging all about my learning experiences while pursuing my Master’s Degree at Walden University! I plan to post assignments, ideas, progress, etc. on this blog. Follow along with my journey here and feel free to leave any feedback/advice!