Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tool #11: Before going through the 11 tools, I wasn't really sure about blogs and using them in the classroom but as I worked through this, I got more and more ideas on how I could use Blogger in my class. Like I mentioned in a previous post, each student will create a blog and will post to it each unit to create an electronic portfolio that will serve as a review for the EOC. I like the idea of using Edmodo with my students and I have found several apps that I will use in my class.  

This past year I really tried to incorporate more technology and more student centered  lessons. I learned what worked and what didn't work and so for this year I have lots of new ideas on how to use the new technology. However, I really want to make sure that the focus is always the content. I want to make sure that the technology remains as a tool.

There was nothing that really surprised me. My biggest focus right now is finding balance while using the technology and preparing my students from the beginning so they become more effective researchers, creators and collaborators. Given the student/device ratio, I want to make sure that I find the most effective use. I am also keeping in mind the possibility of the technology not working on a given day. I want to make sure that I always have a back up plan or that each lesson has a component that will allow students to continue to make progress if there is an issue.
Tool #10: Knowing how to use technology is such a vital skill for our students. It is all around them and they have to learn how to make wise choices on what they decide to put online. Three things I would like my students to know about digital citizenship are how they interact with others, how to avoid plagiarism,and how fair use works. The way they interact with others through technology still has to be a formal and academic experience. When sending emails at work, they will have to use formal English, therefore the same will apply to assingments in class. I want them to understand that whatever goes online, stays there and just because they are not writing in paper, I don't want them to think they can use the "private chats"  or blogs inappropriately.Summarizing is something that students struggle with but like I have always told my students,  it is better to turn in 2 sentences they wrote themselves than a page they just copied and pasted from different links. I will take some time early in the year to go over citing sources and summarizing, it may take a little bit of time in the beginning but it will definitely pay off in the long run. With all the media possibilities, it is very important that students understand how fair use works and make sure that they don't post anything that violates it.

I liked http://www.digizen.org/ This could also be something to go over in the first few weeks of school. Students can go through the website to answer some questions and at the end I can have them summarize what they learned about what is expected when using technology and have them sign it, acknowledging that not being a good digital citizen can lead to the loss of technology privileges. I will include digital citizenship in my parent letter and will include this in parent phone calls when needed.
Tool #9: We are responsible for content, technology is just a tool to get students to learn/show they learned the content. When planning to use technology, it is always important to make sure that the priority isn't the making of a product, but what the product contains. I had a couple of students that focused so much on the colors and the font and the clipart on their website that they ran out of time and got very little content from the experience.

It is extremely important to hold each individual student accountable for work in stations/groups so that no one is left out of the learning experience. It is important for students to know what is expected when working in centers/stations. A rubric and a time limit helps students to stay on task. A way to ensure accountability is providing options for students to show what they learned. I really liked the ideas provided on this.

I looked at Thinkfinity, you can narrow down exactly what you are looking for. I searched for high school geography lessons and found lots of links to National Geographic lessons which usually are usually very interactive lessons. I also looked in the SBISD Interactive Database and I found www.geo-cube.eu/  
This website has a really cool visual that could serve as a station for an intro, a review, or just for enrichment.

I found several apps I could use in stations, one is Geopedia US, it is a database with information that students can look at, interpret, and use to make predictions. There is also a CIA World Factbook app. Students could use the flashcard app to review for a quiz,test, and EOC in groups as well. Again, all students would be accountable for participating. For example, after looking at the flashcards, all students would have to turn in a paragraph using 5 of the words from the list they reviewed.

I downloaded a sticky note app on my ipad, students use this to work at a station and then leave a note before leaving adding to the conversation.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tool #8: After watching some of the videos, I learned that the netbooks have webcam and microphone capabilities as well as several USB ports and an SD card reader. All of these will be very helpful for projects. I also learned that it is important to set aside some time before students use the netbooks for them to just login since the first time they login to a netbook will always take longer. I found several links for ideas on how to use the devices and good apps to download.

As for the management of the devices, I will make sure all the devices are labeled and I will assign a student from each group to be responsible for taking out and returning the device in the appropriate manner. I will definitely monitor how students are using the technology. Any student that is using the technology inappropriately may lose the privelege and will have to complete an alternate assignment. I have done this before and it seems to work well. Once they have finished completely I have a list of links to geography games and websites of interest in my diigo group and on my weebly page that students can access if they have completely finished, have no missing assignments, and have spare time.
Tool #7: Collaboration with other geography classes

Content Objective- Given a variety of text and media resources about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, students will analyze the facts and collaborate with other students in order to create a multimedia presentation about the geography, economy, history, or social effects of the conflict. 

When: Middle East unit

Tools used: Promises film, Diigo, Blogger, Today's Meet, Google Docs

Plan: Last year, we combined our geography classes to watch a film about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, students then went back to their classroom and brainstormed ideas for an essay and they used both the film and an article to respond to key questions about the issue to turn in to their own teachers. This year perhaps we can take it a step further and get the different classes to collaborate on a presentation before, during, and after the film. We can get each class to focus on a specific aspect of the issue and teach it to the other classes in the same class period, for example my classes can create presentations to show the economic/geographic aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mrs. Reid's classes can focus on the historical aspect and Mr. Eckstein's can focus on the social aspect, etc.
Tool #6: I used Diigo last year as a resource for my students to use when doing research. The link to the group I created last year is: http://groups.diigo.com/group/mrs-castillo-world-geography 
I wiould find helpful links for them and they would go to my group page to look through the links to find information. This year however I really want them to be more involved by using student accounts where they can find information and share it with group members. I created 2 sample students accounts to see how it works, and it is very simple. I'm not sure if  I want to create a group for each class period or just continue with the one group for all my students. Also, when they have assignments on the computer that require them to navigate through several links, it is much easier for them to click on the links from my page than to type them out individually. i can highlight specific sections and make comments.

I also signed up for edmodo. I know of many teachers who use it to communicate with students, which is something I would definitely be interested in using. I can create and assign quizzes, polls, send reminders of assingments to students and students can also communicate with me and turn in assignments. I created a student group and students will be able to sign up with the group code. With other teachers, edomod can be used as another way of communication.