Learning is a Never Ending Journey

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Integrating Online Sources into Teaching

Title of Activity: Wetland Ecosystems

Reference Section:
Earth Day Canada (2003). EcoKids Online "Chain Reactions." Retrieved Sept. 28, 2005, from
http://www.ecokidsonline.com/pub/eco_info/topics/frogs/chain_reaction/index.cfm#
Grade:
5
Subject:
Science
Description of the Activity:
Students will go to the web site,
http://www.ecokidsonline.com/pub/eco_info/topics/frogs/chain_reaction/index.cfm#, and play the game "Chain Reaction." They will learn about omnivores, carnivores, herbivores and plants. They will learn about what eats what and the way that a food chain works. They will then have the chance to attempt to put together a food chain in the same program. They will have as many chances as they want to keep trying until they get it right. Once they get it right, the food chain, through a video like clip plays out before their eyes, showing them exactly what eats what. The students will then have to go into a word processor and make their own food chain, using different animals then they recently saw on screen. They can get their pictures by going into Google and doing an image search, then copying and pasting them into their document. However, what can and cannot be copied and pasted will be firmly explained so that the students do not break copyright rules and/or plagiarize. They will also have to label each species correctly (omnivore, carnivore, herbivore, and plant).
General Learner Outcome:
5-10: Describe the living and nonliving components of a wetland ecosystem and the interactions within and among them.
Specific Learner Outcome:
7: Draw diagrams of food chains and food webs, and interpret such diagrams.
ICT Outcomes:
P 1.2.1: Create and revise original text to communicate and demonstrate understanding of forms and techniques
C 1.2.1: Access and retrieve appropriate information from the Internet by using a specific search path or from given uniform resource locations (URL’s).
Rationale for Computer Integration:
By using the Internet students will be able to observe a food chain unfold before their very eyes, something a text book could not do. They will be able to visually learn about food chains and understand just how one works. They will be able to test their knowledge about food chains by attempting to put together their own once they are done the reading. The students will also be able to use the internet (especially Google) to look for specific pictures, thus learning to navigate between various sites. The students will learn to search the web pages to find the pictures that they need to make a food chain. They will also have practice at using word processor and learning to copy and paste items from the Internet right into their assignments.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Using PowerPoint to Meet Technology Outcomes

The purpose of this post is to explain a specific technology outcome related to using PowerPoint in the classroom from the Alberta Learning web site.

Specific Technology Outcome Being Integrated: P.3.1.2 create visual images by using such tools as paint and draw programs for particular audiences and purposes


Subject: English Language Arts

Grade: 1

Description:

In this lesson, students will learn to use and become familiar with a paint and draw program on the computer. This lesson could be used to help students in a unit about a holiday such as Halloween. This activity could supplement a writing project. Students could have previously written Halloween stories. To demonstrate their ability to choose pictures to represent words they could create images in a paint and draw program that will accompany their writing. The teacher could then make PowerPoint presentations of each child's story including the pictures and writing on each slide. This will show students that their own writing can be made into electronic stories. To take the project a step further, the students could read the stories aloud as they appear on the screen.
What is Technology Integration?

The easiest way to describe technology integration is to say that it is the inclusion/use of technology in the classroom. There are many ways to integrate technology into the classroom. However, there can be both positive technology integration and negative technology integration. The purpose of this post will be to explain and then examine a few examples of what exactly good and bad technology integration is. This post will also look at some of the barriers to technology integration.

The best way for technology to be used in a classroom is to enhance and improve both the teaching and learning process. One key thing to remember is as Lynne Schrum in her "Technology in the Classroom: Asking the Right Questions" article explains, technology should be "the means not the end. Technology merely provides the tools to be used for authentic learning." The following are some examples of what I believe are good ways to integrate technology into the classroom. If students are going to use computers, they need to use them regularly so they learn how to properly use them. This use can be in many forms. First, the Internet is becoming a very beneficial tool more and more every day. Students can use it for assignments to find information through online encyclopedias, government web pages, online newspapers, Internet searches, web pages, and databases etc. They can use the Internet for just about any subject they wish. This includes math (good sites explaining how to do equations), English (sites explaining effective poetry writing etc.), science (sites about experiments) etc. Another way to integrate technology is through blogging. As I described in the previous post, there are many ways to integrate and use blogging in the classroom. I believe that in order to integrate technology in a positive manner teachers need to use it with most, if not all of their subjects. After all, it has been proven that students who use computers make faster progress in their learning of various subjects.

As with everything, there are positive and negative factors, so now we will focus on bad technology integration in the classroom. In order for technology to beneficial in the classroom it has to be integrated into the learning process. In other words, it should be used as a supplement to various subjects. Bad integration would be to have the technology/computer as just simply a play tool. Students should not just be able to use it for 'fun' in terms of games, and checking email etc. If it is going to be integrated properly and be beneficial then a teacher needs to only let their students use a computer for fun as a reward for work well done. Or, the games played on a computer could be learning based such as a math or science question game. Integrated technology should always help to improve the learning process. If the technology does not benefit a student's learning, then it is probably not good technology integration.


As I said previously, this post will also address the possible barriers to technology integration. First, a barrier could be not having any or enough access to technology due to the money issues. If a teacher wants to use technology but only has one computer, it is hard to allow all of the students equal opportunities to use technology. Another barrier could be a teacher not wanting to, or not knowing how to use technology. Some people are afraid of/intimidated by or disagree with the use of technology in a classroom. Thus, they could not effectively teach their students to use the technology. These all present barriers to the use of technology in the classroom.




Sunday, September 11, 2005

My First Impression of Blogging and How I Believe it is Beneficial in Education!

I have never blogged before so this entire experience has been new to me. I had no idea what exactly a blog was before I read through our various class links and the readings/exercises. However, I have to say that it is quite an interesting form of technology. I have already attempted to try a few things on my own, like make up my profile and add some pictures through the "hello from picasa" program. Already it seems to be a very 'fun' online tool. I look forward to learning more in this online education class about blogging and the ways it is helpful in the classroom.

In terms of my first impressions of blogging in education, I think that the program is beneficial but also has some setbacks. I believe the positive attributes include firstly, that it is an easy way for people to keep in touch. More specifically, it is a way for teachers and students or teachers and parents to communicate. This communication can be in the form of listing up to date homework assignments, or even as a way for students and other students or teachers and students to ask and respond to questions for exams, homework assignments or just questions about the topic of the day in the classroom. It is extremely beneficial because the posts are always there, so if a student would want to or need to go back and read a past assignment or find an answer they could easily access the archived posts.

I think that it is also very beneficial because it creates a different way for students to voice their opinions and beliefs then just voicing them in the classroom. Many students have a hard time speaking up in class for various reasons, this could be a way for those students to show their teacher and peers that they too have useful and insightful information to contribute.

Blogs could also be beneficial in helping students and teachers to get to know one another better. Through profiles and various journal-like posts, the students and teachers could share information about themselves to achieve a better understanding of each other. Through this, a teacher could also monitor a students writing style and typing skills and offer tips for improvement.

Most importantly, blogging offers students a chance to learn a new technology and try out a different way of learning. This may be for some, a more fun way of learning rather than just writing and reading from paper and pen. It could provide a challenge to some students and teachers, but, it will probably achieve the outcome of expanding their knowledge and allowing them to try something new.

While I do believe all of the above are very positive attributes of blogging, I do believe that blogs could be a very negative technology if not used properly. The teacher would very specifically have to explain the purpose of the blogs to the students and encourage them to use them in an school or classroom appropriate manner.

Ultimately, being a first time blogger, I have been impressed with the technology. I see it as being a very beneficial tool for the classroom and I look forward to learning about other ways blogging can be used for education.
Who Am I??
To start out I just want to say Hi to everyone who reads this! My name is Cassandra Catherine Bachmier and I am in my fourth year of the combined BA/BEd program at the University of Lethbridge. That means I only have 2 years left including this year and then I can begin my dream of becoming a teacher!! My major is English/English Language Arts Education and my minor is Social Studies Education.

My hometown is the very small village of Fox Valley, Saskatchewan (south west part of the province). I hope to one day go back to that community and teach there so that I can give back to the people there, because they are largely responsible for how far I have come in my life, and have helped shape me into the person I am today. Of the people in the community, my family and boyfriend are the biggest contributors to my success. These include my mom, Joanne, my dad, Wayne, my older sister, Stephanie, my younger sister Kimberly and my boyfriend Kolton. Their constant support and unconditional love have truly shaped me and helped me to fully realize my dream of becoming a teacher. I like to think the person that I am today is a loving, caring, compassionate and hardworking one. I have big dreams, especially that of becoming a teacher, and I tend to follow all of my dreams and achieve all my goals!

My Rabbit JJ Posted by Picasa

My Dog Harley Posted by Picasa

Our Family Dog Tanner Posted by Picasa

My Mom (Joanne) and My Dad (Wayne) Posted by Picasa

My sisters and I (L-R Kimberly, Myself, Stephanie) Posted by Picasa

My Boyfriend Kolton and I Posted by Picasa

A picture of me at my Highschool Grad 2002 Posted by Picasa