Friday, September 25, 2009

Assessment Made Easy, By Andrew A. Zucker

In the article they talk about a school in Denver Colorado. At this school children can use a laptop every day or how ever many times a week a teacher would like to use them. The teachers have the children take their test and quizzes on them and they get the feed back right after the test is submitted. This helps the children know what they have done wrong, and they don’t have to wait a week to find out their test scores. This program also lets the teacher know the problems the kids over all did bad on and they can go over them right after the test. It also allows the teachers to have the students write short answer or essays. But it only gives the scores for the multiple choice, true and false, and matching. Of course any grading that the teacher does not have to do is a great help. It gives the teacher more time to work with the students. And it allows students to get comfortable with using technology. All the teachers at this high school have been able to adapt the use of the laptops to their classrooms to make a difference in these children’s lives.

Now your probably wondering how a school can get laptops for all of their students. The school was given a million dollars worth of laptop through a drawing from the company HP. It is incredible what has happened at this school. Ever since all the students have the access to the one to one laptops, as students graduate they all have been emitted to a four-year university. This is something that has never been done or heard of.

I have to say that it is amazing that something likes this has happened. I could not even imagine being able to have ever student in the school have a laptop that could be used at any time. This must be the best thing that could happen to these children. Of course there is always the down side to this, technology does not always work and something could happen to the computers. One thing that I was wondering is, what happens if a laptop does not work? Does the school have to pay to fix it, or does the company come out and fix. What kind of warranty do all the laptops have. I know that it would be expensive if the school had to switch them out if they don’t work. But what a benefit it would be to be able to have that technology at your fingertips. If something likes this would happen in any district of southern California test scores would go up and the students would be able to have a better education. When having to adapt this to a classroom, the article covers all the way that any teacher could use the laptops to their advantages. I have to say that this is something that would keep the kids interested in school and help better their education. I hope that one day all students have the opportunity that this school has. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Build your Own Board Bright, By Keith Vallis and Peter Williamson

In this article it talks about how getting yourself your own smart board for the fraction of the price. Most school will give you a computer and they might even have a projector for each classroom or you can check one out at the school library. All you have to get are portable writhing tablets. You would think that these tablets are very expensive, but they are really not. You can get 10 portable tablets for the price of one white board. This is a great way to get students in control of the lesson, if you can get a tablet you can pass it around to the students. That way they don’t feel like they have to be in the spot light up in front of the class. Now you probably are thinking but you also would need a screen to project the image on to, but you don’t. If you already have a white board you can project it on that or you can also project it on a white wall. Another great ways to incorporate this technology into the classroom is by showing big screen movies, or finding some great free computer programs that they offer online that will complement the lesson that you teach. And they have even made all kinds of different software that is specifically made to project on the screen and teach students about dimensions and many other subjects. And engage the students, and make them want to participate more in the classroom activities because they are made to be fun. This is also a cheaper way to incorporate technology into the classroom. This keeps the students interested in learning and shows them how they can also be in control of the class.

This is something that I would love to use in a classroom. One thing that I would make sure when setting up the classroom is that I would have a blank wall or that I had a white board in the classroom. Some school still have blackboard and if you try to project the light on the blackboard you can’t always see the writing on it. But other wise this is a great idea. And if the school did not have the money to get tablets for the classroom another way is to get a wireless mouse and key board and connect them to the computer so that you can pass those around that classroom. That way all you have to deal with is the computer and the projector. Now you have to make sure that if you decide to take it this route of using technology to do a lesson plan that you have a back up plan also. As you know it doesn’t always work, or you could have problems with it. So always make sure before you do use it that it works properly or that you can teach the same lesson with out using the computer. But over all I would suggest that everyone tries to get something like this in their classroom. This will make teaching fun and more personal if you can get the students to teach each other and I even bet that they time will fly by because you will be having fun. 

Friday, September 11, 2009

The ABCs of Privacy Practices for Educators, By Melissa J. Dark, Clewin McPherson, and Joanne Troutne

In this article it talks about how, “Over the last year the number of reported cases of confidential information lost because of stolen laptops, lost USB flash drives, misplaced PDAs and simple human error has significantly increased.“ it also tells you what kinds of things should be protected and how to protect. The article goes through the steps that you need to do to protect your information and they children’s information. The two major documents that a teacher need to protect are word and excel documents and any personal information that one has about a student. You should also make sure that you have a back up system for anything that you do. For example, when doing your grades they recommend that you input them on the computer and keep a hand written form of it also. This will insure you that if the computers are down or if the computer is hacked into you still have a written form of your grades or any other kind of information. As time goes by and we use more and more technology we as teachers will need to make sure that we keep the information of the children confidential. They also talk about how one can send the information online to the parents and still be locked so that only the teacher and the parents can open it.

This is one of the most important things that a teacher needs to learn. How to make sure that the important and confidential information does not get lost or hacked into. Every teacher and person should learn how to do this. As an educator all you can do is enforce it when you do grades and important information that need to be stored. This will help you make sure that you don’t lose information and that you protect the important information. This is something that is not hard to learn and all teachers should do this. Having the information secure and in proper place will make us not have to think about paper work and grades, but instead we can focus on teaching. 

Friday, September 4, 2009

Walk, Fly, or Teleport to Learning Virtual Worlds in the Classroom

Walk, Fly, or Teleport to Learning Virtual Worlds in the Classroom, by Maureen Brown Yoder

            In her article she talks about two new computer program called MUVEs and Global Kids. MUVEs teaches kids, teens, and adults about different life experiences around the world and it has realistic-looking cities to imaginative fantasy lands. They can travel to different places in the world and learn about the way of life and help people along the way to their destiny. This is all done by playing games, socializing and shopping. They get to talk to other people and see their points of view. In Global Kids their mission is "to educate and inspire urban youth to become successful”. The way they do this is by having them do a variety of projects that teach and promote global understanding. One example that they gave was the game Hurricane Katrina: Tempest in Crescent City. In this game the student learns about real life situation in which they take the part of a child looking for their mother after the hurricane. They have to travel across New Orleans and along the way the student talks to others and might even have the chance to help others along the way. I think that these two games are a great new way to keep kids, teens and adults captivated in learning. They get to play and learn all at the same time. It teaches them about things that have happened in the past and life long skills.  

One way that we as teacher could use these programs to their benefits is by relating the computer game to history and building there own character in the game. If the school has laptops that you can check out for the class you could make a lesson plan out of it or you could also reserve a day at the computer lab.