Monday, February 6, 2012

Tool #11 - Self-Assessing and Reflecting

1. What are your favorite tools you now have in your personal technology toolbox? Briefly describe a particular activity that you will plan for your students using at least one of these new tools.

I like the Today's Meet tool for my Business Law class and I could use it when we have Houston Bar Association visitors. I also like the Digizen website for my Law class as well as my other computer classes to help students understand the importance of using technology wisely.

2. How have you transformed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom? How has your vision for your classroom changed? Are you going to need to make any changes to your classroom to accommodate the 21st Century learner?  

I have a better understanding of the tools and resources available for me to utilize in my classroom.  My vision to incorporate technology into the classroom has not changed.  I have always believed in having students access computers in a learning environment.  When teaching Business and Computer Science courses, I use computers in a lab setting.  While teaching Math, I use laptops as auxiliary resources to supplement the textbook.  The only change that I will need to make to accommodate the 21st Century learner is to use the existing computers to support the new tools since I will not be getting any of the new devices for my classroom.

3. Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

I was amazed at the wealth of resources available to our students and hope someday the Business department will get to be part of the new device exploration!  

Tool #10 - Underneath it All - Digital Citizenship

1. Discuss at least three things you would want to make sure your students understand about being good digital citizens.

I want to be sure students understand the importance of keeping your passwords private and specially coded so that only they have access to them. Students share passwords freely and I would like them to be aware of not giving them away to all of their friends.  I would also like them to become ethical users and use caution when they are communicating with others, so that their word choice is in check. I would also like them to understand that written documents, Facebook information, emails, etc can be used in a legal matter as evidence, so it is important to always be careful to be a good digital citizen.
2. Share at least one of the resources mentioned above or on the Ed Tech website that you plan to use instructionally.

I plan to use the Digizen 9-12 grade resource. This Digizen website provides videos and other information that can instruct my students with digital citizenship knowledge and foster awareness of what it means to be a responsible user of technology. I also have done many Atomic Learning sessions and believe this resource is another great tool to use.

3. Explain briefly how you would "teach" the idea of digital citizenship to your students.
I will begin teaching the idea of digital citizenship on the first day of school when students are given the SBISD Student Handbook and asked to sign that they have read it. One of the pages that they are saying they read is the Acceptable Use Policy which tells them how they should behave and what rights and responsibilities they have when using technology. I have a lab with computers, so this would be a great way to start teaching the idea. I can check their understanding throughout the year as situations come up when they are using the computers. I can incorporate lessons on digital etiquette and teach them about being cautious when using social networks.

4. Explain briefly how you plan to share the idea of digital citizenship with your parents.

I will initially share the idea with my parents on "Back to School" night and let them know that I also instructed their children about having good digital citizenship. I also will refer them to the Digizen website ( using the "parent" option on that page to further clarify concepts such as issues with social networking and cyberbullying, so they can talk to their children about it for reinforcement as a community working together for a common goal.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tool #9: Incorporating Classroom-Based Devices

Why do you think it is important to tie the technology to the objective?

Technology should be tied to the objective to keep the 21st century learner focused on the TEKS-based goal of the lesson. Most students love technology and can relate to it better than always pushing a pencil!

Why should we hold students accountable for the stations/centers?

Students need to be held accountable because they need to be able to demonstrate mastery of the intended objective by showing the result of their learning, so that teachers can monitor their understanding of the concept.  

I like two of the accountability suggestions offered from exploring this tool and that is for students to complete an open-ended questionnaire and also sign their name on what they actually produced at that station.
    Visit 2 of the applicable links to interactive websites for your content/grade level. Which sites did you like. How could you use them as stations? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations?

    I visited the Mangahigh link to view the interactive website since I am certified to teach secondary math. I liked this free games-based resource site and think it could be used as a station to keep students accountable by allowing students to practice Algebra facts in a fun way. It currently has facts up through Geometry, so more-advanced students could practice the geometric concepts for their next level class once they have mastered the Algebra 1 concepts.

    The second link I visited was Manipula Math with Java. I also liked this site and could use it in stations to keep my Computer Science students accountable by letting them select an interactive Java applet program with lots of animation. The CS students love math and would find it challenging to explore this interactive website when we are coding Java applets.
      List two to three apps you found for the iPod Touch/iPad that you can use in your classroom. What do you see that station looking like? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations?

      Two apps I could use if I was part of the rollout on getting any iPod Touch/iPads would be Thinkfinity and Interactivate to use with math students in a fun, interactive way, so that students would stay engaged in learning.

            Thursday, February 2, 2012

            Tool #8: Taking a Look at the Tools

            1. After watching the videos/tutorials, list two to three things you learned about the device(s) that will be in your classroom this fall.
            The current devices teachers will be getting for their classrooms this fall include: iPod Touch, iPad, Dell 2120 netbook, MacBook, iMac, WACOM Intuos tablet, xBox 360 KINNECT and an HPTouchscreen. This news makes me really sad that I will not be a part of the rollout of these wonderful devices when I love technology. However, if I was part of this group, it would be nice to use the new Dell 2120 netbook because of its size and weight. I learned through the tutorials how valuable the the video creation would be and also it is great to know that it comes with a webcam. I would also like to experience how to use the Windows 7 which would be part of the devices.

            2. How do you plan to manage the device(s) in your classroom? Do you have ideas/suggestions that others may find useful?

            If I were getting the new devices, I would label them with numbers and count them at the end of each period. I would make students accountable for them and have them check their condition both at the beginning of class and at the end.

            My only suggestion is that the district would reconsider letting the Business department become part of this device distribution, so we could all be on the same page!

            Friday, January 27, 2012

            Tool #7: Reaching Outside your Classroom

            1. After visiting the resources above, design a collaborative project with another classroom.
            This tool was informative to read about how students can use synchronous and asynchronous learning to have peer-to-peer interaction using a high-tech approach.

            2. Post the following about the project:
              1. Content objective
              1. When you plan to implement
              2. What tool(s) you plan to use
              3. A brief description of the project (plan - two or three sentences)
              4. If you need to find another classroom - We can begin networking with other classrooms right here!
            My content objective will be to have my Money Matters students understand investment strategies by researching and collaborating with students in different periods given various resources such as the Internet and the Wall Street Journals. 

            I will implement this plan towards the end of this semester after each class has studied the investment strategies in their textbook and completed the Junior Achievement lesson on investment.

            Students will work collaboratively on a Google Docs and Poll Everywhere.

            Students will be grouped in one of the following investments:
            • Stocks,
            • Real Estate,
            • Collectibles,
            • Mutual Funds,
            • Savings Accounts,
            • U.S. Savings Bonds,
            • Certificate of Deposits,
            • Money Market Deposit Accounts,
            • Money Market Mutual Funds,
            • or Corporate & Government Bonds
            Each group will be given four scenarios to solve based on a fixed amount of money to grow. They will collaborate with other students from different classes on the strategies for the best investment. They will poll each other on pros and cons of each investment option using Poll Everywhere. Students will share their conclusions after they have collected data and written their findings together on their scenario sheets.

            Other Spring Branch ISD Money Matters classes could join with this asynchronous learning lesson and let their students collaborate across the district on the same topic!

            Thursday, January 26, 2012

            Tool #6: Using Web Tools to Promote Discussion...

            1. Choose at least two of the tools from the above list. Create an account for each (if required)
            I explored the Today's Meet tool which did not need an account and Google Docs which all students and teachers have an account through SBISD.

            2. Use each of the tools you choose to create a sample of how you would use it in your classroom. Embed the sample (preferred) or link to the URL.


            What questions do you have about criminal law?


   has my file for Money Matters document.

            3. Share your thoughts on how you see the tools being integrated into your classroom. How do you see them encouraging participation?
            I teach Business Law and offer lots of opportunities for students to interact with guest speakers such as lawyers and judges. I am excited about incorporating Today's Meet tool in my law class to get instant feedback as to what students have to say about the various topics. The backchannel seems to be a great way to promote participation by allowing students to have an online conversation about the speaker's topic rather than interrupting the speaker throughout his/her presentation. Their are a myriad of uses for Google Docs on allowing students to collaborate on the same documents. I would also like to incorporate Wallwisher bulletin announcement tool into my classroom to relay special information for my 120 Academy of Finance students.

            Wednesday, January 25, 2012

            Tool #5 - Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

            1. Use at least two of the tools above to create products. Think about your content. Create a “set” for one of your lessons! Or, consider providing the site as a choice for your students to create products. Make a model for a student created product.
            I explored the various tools that were offered. I created a Wordle in Word Cloud Generator for my Money Matters class. We use word banks each week for the vocab and this is a fun way to get the students involved in learning the new words.

            The other tool that I worked with for awhile was the Glogster EDU. I created and published an Academy of Finance poster for the seniors MHS NYC trip in Feb of this year. This is a nice tool to communicate important events or upcoming projects in an interactive way with students. This is a step-up in technology from communicating using bulky, old-fashioned poster boards!

            2. Then, embed both products in your blog or link to the products from your blog.
            I followed the video clips and tried to link them to my blog. After I created the Wordle with my vocab, Google Chrome gave an error "Java plug in is out-of-date". Maybe there is a conflict because I have a special Java version installed for my Computer Science Java class. I created my first Glogster poster and saved it successfully. Then, I created a second poster and published it as the video showed, but it never brought me to the point of showing it on my dashboard. It is a very stormy day today and many buildings are without power, so I am thankful that at least I know how to save the Web 2.0 tools to my blog and can work on the logistics of what went wrong later.

            3. Describe for your readers how you think each tool can be incorporated into your classroom - how you could see the tool being used by you instructionally and your students to demonstrate their understanding of a concept or topic in your classroom.
            There are lots of valuable Web 2.0 tools available to teachers and students. Besides the Word Cloud Generator & the Glogster EDU, the Make Belief Comix and Animoto video are exciting tools that make sometimes dry classroom material come-alive so to speak. For example, I love learning Algebra formulas and solving problems, however, after teaching Algebra last year, I know first-hand that lots of students do not understand all topics in such a format as presented in the textbook. These tools allow a different way of explaining a complex topic in a technologically-fun way!