Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Google Shared Documents

I really enjoyed using the shared document. I found it to be very helpful. I was able to take my own notes and share my reactions to the reading material. Members in my group were allowed to do the same. Once they posted their reactions and notes, I found it very interesting to read their thoughts and feelings about the reading material. While reading their material I found it very interesting and informative. I picked up on things that I didn’t really pay attention to when I read the article. Things that were somewhat important and that I should of picked up on but missed.      

                While reading the shared document with my fellow group members I loved being able to see their input on or their take on the different subjects. Reading their thoughts and feelings and interpretation of the information being presented helped me to see the different view individuals may have. I think that the shared document is a great communication tool to use inside and outside of the classroom. Although students are not face to face communicating they are bouncing ideas and thoughts off of one another and sharing information. 

                For future students the use of the shared document in the classroom could show students that the computer can be a use of communication. Their ideas can be typed out and then in a matter of minutes shared with a friend. They can give each other feedback and share ideas, thoughts and feelings. The shared document could be used during peer editing. Some students are shy and nervous about sharing their stories and written work with one another. Each student could make up their own name/email to create a Google account. This way unless they tell one another their identity could be kept to themselves. A shared document could be set up and students would be placed in random groups or pairs to edit one another’s work. Students can edit and provide feedback on the work they read. They would only know whose paper it was through the username or email. This way they are although not communicating in person but communicating in some form. 

                Even if students wanted to share their name they could still share work through a shared document to work on their computer skills as well as their typing or keyboarding skills. Students could also work on their writing skills providing written feedback to one another using technology in front of them. Shared documents could be used throughout the schools for projects, writing assignments, homework assignments and so much more. The possibilities are endless.

Monday, October 15, 2012

WebQuest and Assistive Technology Debrief

I think that my WebQuest went good. I found it a little time consuming. Although time consuming I found it to be very informative. A great way to see the many different websites and other resources available for Assistive Technology and AAC. I liked that all of the links could be found right from the case study website. When looking at the case studies it was easy to go to other resources just had to use the click of the mouse. Although using the click of the mouse was easy, all of the different websites and other resources were a little overwhelming. I found myself getting confused and frustrated because I would use a link and then when I needed to go back it took me a little while to find the one I was looking for. Although a little overwhelming, it was just a lot of information to process. All in all the WebQuest was very informative and I enjoyed going through all of the resources and even learned a few things.

As a special education teacher I would use a WebQuest for a variety of things. Most importantly I would use it as a resource tool. A resource tool for further research into tools and to keep myself educated to help my students inside and outside the classroom whether its classroom tools or individual tools for my students such as Assistive Technology and such. I would also use WebQuest to help the parents of my students by finding them resources and funding and just help and information in general that my help themselves as parents and especially parents of a special needs child. To help parents realize there is help out there and that they are not alone.

In completing this WebQuest I learned that there are many types of assistive technology out there for students and individuals. They range from mild or low key to more complex. I never realized the amount of tools out there for use in the classroom and real life. For my skills as a special education teacher I would want to research and stay up with the technology and tools out there to assist. I would keep up to date and attend training and such to be up with the times and the tools. In doing this I would be available to help my students more to achieve their maximum potential as learners and individuals.

Using AAC is great in the classroom for special education students it can help them communicate in ways they never could before. AAC can be as simple as using the eyes and body language as well as signals or tools and devices. I love the idea of using AAC in the special education classroom because it can help give a voice to a student who otherwise has difficulties communicating and learning with others.

This module with the WebQuest was full of information that will be useful for me in becoming an educator as well as once I am a special education teacher in the classroom. I was overwhelmed with all of the information but I found it to be a great way of learning as a future educator. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Facebook as an instructional Tool in the Classroom

I think that social media, particularly face book is a good thing to use as an instructional tool in the classroom. I do feel it is a good tool, but one must monitor and watch as an adult and professional. With anything in this world comes negativity and yes, face book does have negative sides. As long as monitored and used correctly face book and other social media can be used as an instructional tool in the classroom. The younger generations are of the technology age. Social media is the in/new thing, using a computer and other technology devices are the in thing. Students engage more and have more interest in things they know and things they enjoy.
                Allowing students to use the computers and social media as an instructional tool not only helps them learn and develop in an academic sense but also in computer skills and fine motor skills (using the mouse, typing). Like almost anything comes pros and cons. With social media like face book there are pros or benefits in the classroom and for individuals. As stated in article “5 Best Practices for Educators on Face book” face book group activities can be effective in continuing class discussions, connecting students for help creating study groups, help provide academic and personal support, last but not lease students who maybe shy would be able to communicate and participate in a less intimidating way.
Using face book can create a sense of communication between students and teachers (100 ways using face book in the classroom). In the 100 ways article face book as a learning tool is informal, students feel more comfortable and less stressed. This may allow them to want to take part more. Also in the 100 ways article #30 states “students engaged outside the class”. Students who have a face book do tend to spend a lot of time on face book. While they are on they could check the classroom page; check notes, do homework, etc. “When accessing the class content more often, that means they will be thinking and engaging more frequently.” Posting information such as the ocean field research can create an “interactive resource” (5 Best Practices for Educators on Face book).
With pros also come cons. According to the Sarah Stewart article she is right “face book is not a quick fix for your teaching and learning problems” it is a tool but we as teachers need to be creative and think outside the box for its uses. Not all students have a face book and some parents may not want them to have one. Have to respect the parents’ wishes. This is a con because then not all of your students would be able to access the face book pages. Another con stated in this article would be that “clear concerns about confidentiality and what face book does with personal information”. Once you create a face book it is out there for people to see. You have to take precautions so that the wrong person or people do not get your personal information. There is always a risk of someone getting the information once it is out in “cyber world”. . “5 Best Practices for Educators on Face book” hits on the con of being friends with students on face book. Students and their teachers should not be friends on face book it is inappropriate. Personal life and teaching life should not be put together. Once students find out that you have a face book they will want to be friends with you, they won’t understand why it’s not okay to be friends. A solution to this con is creating a classroom face book that way it stays professional. 
With any use of the internet especially face book there is always the risk of “inappropriate or objectionable material” (Poole article). Sometimes viruses or spam are of pornography or inappropriate items/materials. This is the risk of any internet usage. They can even pop up on face book pages and such. Getting a good antivirus software may help but as the teacher you should always be aware of what is going on, on the internet especially.
An idea for future face book use in my classroom would be biographies. When focusing on a specific important person in history, I could create a page for them, with factual information the students need to know and learn. Creating a profile picture of that person, creating photo albums of pictures of important events the person took part in. The about information would be up to date and contain important information such as birth date, job position, home location and possibly the day they passed way. The wall posts on the face book page could either be from that person or others. Wall posts could also be more information/facts for that person’s life. Some people I may use this idea for may be Johnny Appleseed, Lewis and Clark, the many U.S presidents, Martin Luther King Jr., etc. the possibilities are endless. This would be a fun and interactive way students could learn about the people in history, they could maybe even post questions on the different walls and I could answer them if possible.
Another idea for the use of face book in the classroom would be for current event exercises. Not very many students watch the news and know what is going on in our communities let alone the world around us. For homework students could each bring in information on a current event and then in class create a face book page or event page for that event. With the dates and times, locations and background information. If students do not create the pages I could take their events and make them. We could even link these pages to our classroom page for easy access. We would have a set time during the day for the students to read through the current events and gain the knowledge and information related to each. As the teacher I may have a worksheet to go along with out “Current Event Time”. Students would have to fill in the date and time and location of one or two events. As well as the important facts surrounding the event and a couple things that they learned or found interesting.
I feel for my classroom creating a Miss. Austin’s Classroom face book page would be cool and creative way to keep in contact with the students and their parents. I would have the activities and assignments posted. Parents would be able to see what their children need to be doing and when things are due and such. Parents could also possible use this as a communication tool, with me and other parents.  Along with a link to the school’s website to keep the parents updated. With this page parents would be constantly informed of activities and such.