Join me as I explore different happenings in Education

Posts tagged ‘Classroom usage of technology’

I am thankful for . . .

 

Thankful by mtsofan, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  mtsofan 

As this class now draws to an end I have spent lots of time thinking about what I have learned in this class and what I have yet to explore. Each time I think about how great this class has been, I can’t help but think of the Thanksgiving projects that are done every year in school when we list what we are thankful for. Therefore, here is my list for this class. Careful, it is quite long (I never imagined that one class could teach me so much in such a short length of time).

  • I am thankful that I got the chance to see that Social Media can have a positive impact in regards to parent communication in the classroom. This past semester, I implemented a classroom blog for my parents and they loved that they could see a little snip-it of their child’s  day.
  • I am thankful that I got the chance to learn about so many on-line tool. Never would I have had the time to discover all of these tools myself, but now that I know where to go to get a list of tools that I can use, I know that I will be using them in the future.
  • I am thankful that I was introduced to the world of blogging. I was skeptical of blogging in the past because I never really saw much of a point to it. Now, having blogged for the last four months (or so), I am loving it. I love that I can share my thoughts with those who want to read about what I have to write about. And if no-one wants to read it that is fine, but at least I have had the chance to share what I was thinking about.
  • I am thankful for learning how to use Twitter. It took me a while to start using Twitter but I am starting to get the hang of it. I am still a little sad though that I can’t use it to it’s full potential because I don’t necessarily need to be connecting with other educators right now because of my maternity leave.
  • I am thankful for everyone who has become part of my PLN. I love that there are people out there who are willing to support one another and to take part in my learning.

There are many more things that I could list however I think you get the point. I have found this class to be extremely useful, not only for educational purposes but also for personal ones.

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More about Twitter in Kindergarten

For anyone who is interested in how the organizer of Kindergarten Around the World actually uses Twitter in her classroom here is a great new clip that shows exactly how it is done. It is truly amazing to see how engaged these young children are in what they are learning about. Hope you enjoy.

Kindertweet

P. S. I am really loving how everything I have learned in class is coming together. I can get awesome ideas from Twitter, blog about them here and link others to these valuable resources also. I am beginning to wonder how I functioned before this class!

Thanks for the inspiration!

Thanks to my wonderful classmates, I have spent a large amount of time today playing around with different tools on-line. I have often seen different posters where there are a number of different words all centered around one theme but I have never known how to create one myself. Thanks to Judy, I have now discovered Wordle and I love what you can do.

While discovering this tool, I have also figured out how to take a snapshot of my screen. This took me quite a while to do, but after lots of playing around I was able to figure it out. It was remarkably easy to do. On my computer I had to use a tool called “Snipping tool”, but once I figured that out, I can now “snip” anything I want. I don’t know for sure if this is how it is supposed to be done, but that was the only way I could get it to work.

Thanks to Katy, I have discovered a tool called Picnik. This tool is amazingly simple to use and so much fun. I think I might just use it to make our family  Christmas picture this year a little more interesting. I can’t wait to play around with it. For all of you who were wondering what my daughter might look like, I used this tool on one of her many pics that I have taken.

Thanks to Chelsi’s wonderful work with Xtranormal, I thought that I would give that a try also. It was really easy to use. I could have done more tweaking on my video, but I really was just playing around. The only downside that I could find with this tool is that there are Xtranormal Points needed to publish your video. Once you purchase a character you can use them over and over again, but at a certain point, if you continued to use this tool, you would need to put some money into it. Anyway, here is the video that I did.

 

EC&I 831 – trial
by: Honni

http://www.xtranormal.com/xtraplayr/12745652/eci-831-trial

 

Well, I think that is all the time I have for today to play. I have enjoyed myself. Let me know what you think of my different attempts with some really cool new tools.

 

Winding down

This class has been quite an eye-opener for me. I first enrolled in this class because of the fact that I was pregnant and needed a class that would allow me to not have to go to the university once a week for the entire semester. The idea of technology and social media in a classroom interested me, but I wasn’t sure how much I would actually get out of it because I taught/teach Kindergarten or Grade 1 (yes, that was how I thought a few short weeks ago). I did use technology on a regular basis in my classroom but I never really expected this class to show me how much more I could be doing. Boy, was I wrong!

Now that this class is almost done, I can see the “error of my ways” and I can’t wait to try to implement these new found (for me at least) ideas into my classroom. I had slowly started integrating some of the ideas into my classroom, but I would love to do it on a larger scale. The following is few of the ways that I would love to incorporate what I have learned this semester into my classroom:

  1. Classroom blog – This was something that I had begun (thanks to this class) but I would like to develop it a little more. I would like to have parent permission to put up student’s working and copies of their work,  along with everything that I had already been posting.
  2. Twitter project – Kindergarten Around the World – Allow the students to connect with other children in a Kindergarten classroom in a different country to compare and contrast our lives.
  3. Digital Storytelling – After seeing how easy this was with my own children, I would love to do this with my students and then post it for parents to read.
  4. Incorporate more technology – Hopefully, use the SmartBoards in the school for interactive lessons with the children. My school division was also accepting applications for a “Mobile Device Project”, and if this happens in the future, I would love to submit an application.

Now, when it comes to my own personal use of Social Media, I will definitely be continuing with my blog. I find that by blogging, I have somewhat found a voice. I am able to write about things that interest me in my chosen career and there are people that will read and respond. Therefore, enabling me to hash out different ideas, or develop new projects, or create new themes, etc. Blogging has enabled me to find more like-minded individuals who have helped to encourage and support me in the new things that I have been trying.

 

I realize that there are still many things that I have to learn in regards to Social Media and the classroom. I would love to give VoiceThread a try. I have heard so much about it through everyone but that is one tool that I still haven’t wrapped my head around. I also haven’t quite figured out how I would use it in the classroom. There are still many of the Digital Storytelling tools that I would like to explore also.

I also would like to continue to explore Twitter. I know there are a lot of great chats that I could follow (and I do follow some really great ones already) but I find that I still don’t share as much as I could. I understand that it is all about learning and jumping in once you feel comfortable but something keeps holding me back. I don’t know if it is because I don’t think what I have to share is important enough or if I am uncertain how people will respond to what I say. I don’t know why I let something like that hold me back, because really if it is something you aren’t interested in, you can simply ignore it. I find that I have been taking some baby steps recently by asking for help with different things so maybe I am taking some of the all important first steps now. We will have to see.

iPads in Kindergarten

I came across a Tweat today of an article that was written in April of 2011 about the use of iPads in a Kindergarten classroom. Kindergarten iPads: Should new technologies be used to teach children their ABCs? is an article that I find has a bit of a negative tone to it. The author seems to criticize the decision made to use iPads in such a young classroom. At the end of the article, there was only one reply to this post so I clicked on it thinking that it would possibly give me another view point on the usage of iPads in a classroom. This second article, Maine Schools to Give Ipads to Kindergarteners. But will they know what to do with them? seemed even more negative to me. At one point, the author of this article called the children “snot-nosed sponges”. I then Googled the idea of iPads in the classroom and actually found some articles that seemed to be supportive of the idea.

The first article that I found iPads in Kindergarten? YES! was a well written article that explained how this teacher uses iPads in her classroom. After reading her blog post, I thought a little bit about how I could use this in my own classroom and it certainly seems quite feasible. Now I know that cost if often a concern, but I could easily see 4 or 5 iPads being very beneficial in a Kindergarten classroom. You would be able to use them during Centre time and have a rotation of the students through this centre. The time spent on the iPads would be monitored by the teacher, but similar to what was mentioned in the article, I have found that young children don’t want to loose their privileges so they have a tendency to do exactly what they were told to do. Therefore, if they were instructed to use the math app only, they would more than likely remain on the app.

Now of course it would be nice to have an iPad for each student, especially for math and writing centres. I could only imagine the time that would save in a day if I didn’t have to hand out manipulatives to 21 kids, but rather hand out 21 iPads and then ask them all to chose the same app. By simply holding up their iPad, I would be able to verify that everyone was at the correct place and we could begin our lesson. The children would be able to work on patterns, number concepts, 3-Dimensional shapes, etc and that is simply in math class. Of course, using an iPad would not eliminate the need for hands-on work also. I believe that it would still be beneficial for many students to actually play around with different objects in order to create different patterns, for example, as well.

 

Gathering around the iPad to watch Thoma by metaviews, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  metaviews 

After having thought about the usefulness of an iPad in the classroom, one does leap to the next logical question, which is how many apps are there available and how expensive are they? On the same blog as the article about positive use of the iPad in the classroom, their was a blog posting about the Best Apps for Education. Now I imagine that this is only a small glimpse into the apps that are available for younger children, however it does give you an idea about how useful a tool like this could be.

Does anyone currently use iPads in the classroom? And if you do (or you use them with your young children at home), have you found any good apps that you would recommend?

Parents in the Classroom

While I was playing around on Twitter tonight, checking on one of the chats that I follow, I came across this interesting blog post. I am not sure who the author is (I tried looking in a number of different places on the blog but couldn’t come up with anything). It is entitled Sharing with Parents. The author describes how they invited the parents in to partake in a sharing session one Friday afternoon. The students had completed six weeks of classes and they seemed very excited to share with their parents what they had learned while in school. I wish that I had the time to do something like this with my parents this year. I have extended the invitation numerous times to have parents come in and volunteer in my classroom and I have had a few takers on it. The number of parent volunteers is lower this year than last year however and I am not sure why. I guess there could be a few reasons, one is that it is a different group of students whose parents may have different commitments that last year’s group and also my school division has implemented a new policy where the parents have to have a Criminal Record Check in order to be in the classroom. To date, I only have six or seven out of forty-two parents who have given me a copy of their Criminal Record Check so this limits the number of parents who are able to volunteer to help me. As for parents in the classroom for special events, I did have a Kindergarten Liturgy for my new students and the parents were able to see a few things that their child has been learning, so I guess I have done some parent involvement activities.

On another note, while I was exploring the website I came across some other interesting post. One in particular was about how this classroom used technology in the classroom.  This post describes the many different ways that they students use technology in the classroom. I am a little jealous reading the different things that they do because it appears as if the iPad is used often in the classroom. I would love to be able to provide my students with an opportunity like that (especially because I am sure that many of them already have background knowledge as to how to use it) in my classroom. There is a short video on the site and it shows the students interacting with their parents and if you pay close attention you will notice a number of different pieces of technology used in the classroom. There are children on laptops, using iPads, adults taking pictures, etc.

iPods in the Classroom

Today as I was traveling in the car with my husband and three young children we were listening to a book on CD in order to pass the time (and keep the kids quiet). Like usual, I was thinking about school and different ways that I could engage the children and encourage them to try new things. My husband and I were talking about iPods and it suddenly dawned on me that they would be a good way of making use of all the CD’s that I have purchased over the years to accompany different books. I have a number of books for young children that my own children love listening to but I don’t play them as often as I should or could because I don’t want to be changing the CD every two to four minutes because the book is over, nor do I want to be listening to the same book over and over again for thirty or forty minutes.

For the very minimal cost of buying an iPod (and the original cost of buying the book with CD), one could create a very interactive reading centre for the students. The students would be able to look at the book and have it read to them at the same time, yet not have the hassle of changing the CD after every book. This would encourage them to look at books more and therefore foster their interest in books.