I read the article How the iPad Can Transform Classroom Learning. The article discusses how implementing iPads in school will not only improve learning, but has the potential to change how learning is done in schools completely. It mentions that in the 1980s computers changed the way students presented work and learned through having the ability to type papers, present with media, and to gather more information than an encyclopedia can give us. Obviously, the iPad can do all of these things for students, however, it has a leg up on the competition. The iPad is portable which could make all the difference in students’ willingness and motivation to learn.

                The author, Ben Johnson, mentions using iPads in both Math and Science classes. His math example describes allowing the students to independently learn through search for the best geometric shape for a deep sea submarine. Mr. Johnson asks what the students can do with iPads that they cannot do with a regular computer or encyclopedia. His answer? “The students can find out the necessary information about how deep is deep, about what kind of pressures exist there, and find out the math necessary to determine the strongest geometric form. They can also collaborate with their peers by walking across the room and showing them their results on the iPad, they can ask the teacher questions through the network, and the students can find, or better yet, create pressure simulations to predict the results. They can check out lectures from experts and professors at iTunes U, and they can share and save what they learned with other students on the network. They can graph their results, sketch a possible example of what a submarine of this form might look like, and then do a Prezi presentation about what they learned.” Not only can the iPad be used in a Math class such as this, but it can be used in all subjects. Students would have the ability to research content for a paper they are being asked to write at the tips of their fingers. They could also take notes on new grammar they have learned using apps that allow them to type and draw. How great would it be to have neatly written notes with added arrows and drawings to further your understanding? Mr. Johnson’s examples of using iPads in the classroom portray the iPads being used in direct instruction, collaborative learning, and independent learning. With such versatile use, why wouldn’t administrators be chomping at the bit to get iPads for their schools?

                It is true that an iPad could be thought of as an extrinsic motivator for students. However, Mr. Johnson describes many fantastic uses for the iPads and his examples cause you to think of many different ways that you could use them in your own classroom. With iPads, students are able to enjoy learning through independent instruction (geometry example). They are also able to do projects from home and bring in data through video and pictures (science example). With iPads, students have access to all types of knowledge and they don’t even have to leave their seat. iPads are efficient and they allow students to search for content themselves rather than relying on teachers to give them all of the answers. iPads are a fantastic addition to any classroom and I hope you are able to see the benefits.

I read the article How Educators and Schools Can Make the Most of Google Hangouts. The entire article describes Google Hangouts and gives examples of how it can be used in various situations in the classroom and with various age groups. For instance, it mentions that elementary students can participate in Google Hangouts through having a video conference with an author they are learning about or having a book club with other elementary schools in the district and having the ability to discuss the book with their fellow members without loading the entire class on a bus. The article presents different uses of Google Hangouts through college-age students and up to administrators/professors. The article does not mention a specific content area that Google Hangouts can be used; however Google Hangouts can be used for all different content areas, whether it is literacy (the book club mentioned before), a group project on any subject, and tutoring a younger peer in math among other things. I can see this technology being used in multiple ways. The article also discusses many types of pedagogy that Google Hangouts can be used for. For example, it describes using Google Hangouts for direct instruction, collaborative learning, project-based learning, and one-on-one meetings.

I love the idea of using Google Hangouts with elementary students. I think it would be great if they had a “pen pal” from a different part of the world that they could speak to for geography. I also like the many possibilities Google Hangouts provides for older students and administrators. Students in middle school and above can do many group projects without having to meet somewhere outside of school. I also think it would be great to create homework groups, especially in math, and having the students discuss different concepts together in the evenings. This would allow the students to get any questions they may have answered and they can work out problems together. The article likewise mentions that professors can use Google Hangouts for office hours when students are unable to meet during the times provided. There are so many uses and so many ways that Google Hangouts can be used.

            Google Hangouts can help students learn in meaningful ways through collaborating with fellow classmates, working with students from different schools in the district or even in other parts of the country, and allowing students to help each other outside of the classroom. Without this technology, your students could potentially have pen pals and discuss the geographic features of where they each live, but that would not be efficient and they would be unable to have detailed conversations. Not only does this technology efficiently allow students from different parts of the country or city to communicate, but it allows students to learn with and teach one another. For example, I recall learning new content in math classes and feeling able to complete practice problems, but as soon as I got home and pulled out my homework I just could not seem to remember how to solve the equations. With Google Hangouts, students can video-chat with other students in their class. Quite often, students are able to understand concepts when they are explained by fellow students. I feel that Google Hangouts is a great addition to any classroom and can truly help students learn with each other.


SmartBoard Workshop 3/13/13

The second TIES workshop I attended was all about using SMART Boards in the classroom. Before attending the workshop I was pretty unfamiliar with SMART Boards. I have used them only a couple of time and it was for recreation purposes rather than academic purposes.

The information I learned from the workshop was great and I could use all of it in the classroom as long as I have a SMART Board and the software is provided.

I discovered that as long as I have a SMART Board and I am either paying for the software or it is provided through the school, I can use a website called SMART Exchange (exchange.smarttech.com/). This website has interactive lessons for all grade levels and all subjects. Each of these lessons aligns with the Common Core State Standards as well. You can download any of these lessons to the Notebook function on the SMART Board and with a little bit of tweaking and personalization, it is ready for your students.

On top of having ready-made lessons available at a click of a mouse, the SMART Board allows anyone who uses it to "write" on it with special pens. There are many different applications in the Notebook that allow for lecturing with notes or doing math/word problems and either saving the content or erasing it. With the 'Pin' application, I can also keep whichever page of notes I want visible at all times. I can also do a double screen so that if students are taking notes, but I need to move on to my next point, they can still see the previous page as well as the new one.  Furthermore, there is a recording function that allows not only your voice to be recorded, but everything you do on the SMART Board. You can save what is recorded for your records or for students that were not in class that day.

SMART Boards can be used for all subjects and at all grade levels. I would used SMART Boards for Math, Writing, Social Studies, Language Arts, and Science. I think it would be much more fun and interactive for students if they were doing math problems on the SMART Board rather than on a piece of paper at their desk. It would also be nice because if an error is made another student can come up and use a different colored pen to how he/she would solve the math problem. I also like the idea of using the SMART Board when creating timelines for Social Studies. Students, one at a time, could come up to the board and insert a specific event on the timeline if we are doing a review or if they are just learning the material.

I think SMART Boards are a great way to get students involved in the learning process and it allows me to save any lectures or notes that I have taught them so that I can go back and see how I teach in order to better myself for future lessons.


Google Apps and Drive Workshop 3/11/13

The first TIES workshop I attended was all about Google Apps and Drive. Not only did we discuss the uses of Google Apps and Drives, but we also discussed Google Mail.

Going into the workshop, I felt that I would not learn much and did not see much use for Google in the classroom. I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised to discover so many different uses for Google in the classroom.

The main topics discussed were Google Calendar, Google Drive, and embedding certain aspects of Google in Weebly. I think that both Google Calendar and Google Drive can be used in multiple ways in the classroom.

I discovered that if a Google Calendar is made public and embedded in different websites (such as a classroom page) it will update each time I make a change to it. I think that a Google Calendar would be a great asset to my classroom webpage in various ways. First, parents, students, and administrators could view the calendar and will instantly know what important activities are going on inside the classroom now and in the future. I also think Google Calendar would be a great way to show available time to parents and administrators in case they would like to meet with me. Moreover, I could put all conferencing appointments on the calendar so that parents can double check their appointment times.

We also discussed Google Drive which I am familiar with. However, I had never thought to use it in the classroom setting. I think that Google Drive would be great to use with both students and parents. Students could use Google Drive to work in groups. They would be able to edit projects and discuss what they would like to do when they are not in the classroom. I could use Google Drive with parents for conference appointment sign up, field trip chaperone sign up, snack sign up for parties, etc. It would be super easy to send the link to all the parents and give each of them editing rights so that I do not have to worry about students bringing in their parents' signed forms.

I absolutely look forward to using the many different applications of Google in my future classroom!

Grade: 7th
Topic Learned: Earth Science
Subject: climate, weather, air density and pressure
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Bubbl.us is a fantastic online source for teachers that allows both teachers and students to brainstorm and create mind maps together. This video is intended for grade levels 3-12. Bubbl.us can be used for all subjects and topics. My video is showing a review map for a test on climate and weather with information that children in seventh grade should be able to describe. I feel that bubbl.us can be used for anything from creating a mind map for a writing assignment that must be shared before a draft is able to be started or even as a way to plan with parents for a holiday party ideas they may have. Bubbl.us allows users to share their mind maps with other users by creating groups. These shared maps can be edited by others users and can be created as read only mind maps. Browse bubbl.us and you will not be disappointed! If you have any awesome ideas for using bubbl.us in the classroom comment below! I would love to hear them!

By using bubbl.us in the classroom in the examples I have listed above, you are meeting the following NETS-S:

1. Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
a. Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes
b. Create original works as a means of personal or group expression
c. Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues

2. Communication and Collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
a. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media

4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
a. Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation

5. Digital Citizenship
Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
a. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology
b. Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity
c. Demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning
d. Exhibit leadership for digital citizenship

6. Technology Operations and Concepts
Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.
a. Understand and use technology systems
b. Select and use applications effectively and productively
c. Troubleshoot systems and applications

Hi, everyone! In the video below you will find a quick tutorial taking you through the website, Wordle. The video demonstrates the use of Wordles as an academic tool by creating spelling lists for the students. The spelling list I used in this tutorial is aimed towards the third grade age group. The words are wr- and kn- words with a few added sight words that children should be conscious of at the third grade level. Please take the time to watch the video and then go explore the Wordle website (www.wordle.net) and possibly create a few Wordles of your own!
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To the right is an example of using a Wordle as a fun way for students (and you!) to introduce themselves to the class during the first week. You can make a rubric that the class must follow or allow them to put whatever they please onto their Introduction Wordles. The is great for ALL ages, although younger children will need assistance from a parent or you. Know that they may have to dictate their words to you as well.

To the left is an example of using a Wordle to create a list of classroom rules. You can either make a list of class rules with the students before creating a Wordle OR get students more involved in the technology aspect of this activity by having each of them make their own Wordle listing rules they think are great for a classroom. Whatever rules appear the most can be added to the official Class Rules Wordle! This activity can be used for any age level as long as you modify it.

To the right is a Wordle using vocabulary from the third grade science curriculum for State of Matter. Give this Wordle to your students before starting this topic to give them an idea of what they will be learning about!

To the left is a Character Traits Wordle describing the main character, Jess Aarons, in Because of Winn Dixie. This is a third grade level book and Wordles can be used to describe all different aspects of books such as settings, themes, or main ideas.

There are many other activities and lessons you, as an educator, can do integrating Wordles! Other examples not shown include: character compare and contrast (using two different Wordles), class polls (favorite colors, birthdays, animals, concepts students are struggling with, etc.), sight words for students to practice, and much more! Just be creative and remember that you can modify these lessons for any age. Set aside some computer time to help younger students create their own Wordles or have parents create Wordles with their children at home. The possibilities are endless!

National Education Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S)

You may be wondering, "What are NETS-S?" I am here to tell you exactly what NETS-S are and how using Wordles in your classroom can help you meet certain NETS-S. NETS-S are the National Education Technology Standards for Students and they are very important in today's classrooms because technology is everywhere we look. Why not take advantage of it and get your students engaged!?

By using Wordles in the classroom in the examples I have listed above, you are meeting the following NETS-S:
  1. 1. Creativity and Innovation: Standards a) apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes & b) Create original works as a means of person or group expression
  2. 4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making: Standards a) identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation & b) plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project
  3. Digital Citizenship: Standards a) advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology, b) exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity, c) demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning & d) exhibit leadership for digital citizenship
  4. Technology Operations and Concepts: Standards a) understand and use technology systems, b) select and use applications effectively and productively, c) troubleshoot systems and applications & d) transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies

Click below to see the NETS-S for yourself!


    My name is Aubrey Makara. I am an elementary school teacher and I like to write about my experiences and all of my ideas for technology integrated lessons in the classroom!


    April 2013
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