Reflection on EDIT 2000

I loved this class so much! As a future teacher, I found the information we covered in this class and the projects we completed to be extremely useful and helpful. Justine was so organized and always had great activities planned for us. I am glad that I got to continue to use my blog that I made in one my education classes last year. The blog is such a cool way to reflect and respond to things I am learning about or discovering as I travel on the road to becoming a teacher! As I student, I appreciated the LAD project because we were given plenty of time to complete it and it was an interesting project to complete. I liked that we were able to choose whatever topic we wanted and create the website pretty much in whatever way we wanted. We were given a lot of freedom while also knowing what was required of us. 

I think that technology integration in education can be such a wonderful thing if used in meaningful and appropriate ways. In this class, we learned about many different ways that technology can be incorporated into classrooms, and the benefits as well as drawbacks of using certain things. Overall, technology can be a great tool in the classroom, but teachers as well as students must be properly trained in how to effectively use it. I definitely think that the use of technology will greatly increase in classrooms over the next few decades. Things like augmented reality and interactive whiteboards will most likely become a much more common feature of classrooms across the country and even world. I am excited to continue to learn more about using technology because I think it can provide awesome opportunities for students to delve deeper into learning. 

The one suggestion I have for this class is maybe to change the stop animation project to a different kind of project. Although I enjoyed this project and it gave me a new appreciation for stop animation, I didn’t see as much usefulness in it as say the LAD project and the reflections on the blog. But that could also just totally be personal opinion! Again, I loved this class and learned a lot from it. Thank you, Justine!

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LAD Project – 11/19 Update

I am so happy with how my project turned out! Completing an assignment like this is so rewarding and exciting, and I’m thrilled to hopefully use this project in a future classroom. Projects like these can really get kids excited about learning and help the information to stick with them in a more meaningful way. I can only hope that projects like this will slowly begin to have more importance and prevalence in the everyday classroom. 

I did eventually end up switching my website from a google site to weebly. I found that a weebly site was easier to make more attractive and aesthetically-pleasing. I also found it to be more user-friendly. I loved creating the site using weebly – it was really fun! I want to make more weebly sites now! 

Overall, the project was challenging, but a great assignment. I enjoyed developing it, and I feel proud of the final product :). So much went into the project, but it helped a lot to complete things step-by-step and work on it over a long period of time. I never felt completely overwhelmed or stressed. Although it was a lot, it was definitely possible.

I can’t wait to see the presentations of everyone else’s projects – I’m sure they are going to be great! 

Interactive Whiteboards in Education

I read the article titled “The Rise of the Interactive Whiteboard in Higher Education.” Part of this article explained how interactive whiteboards can be used for global communication and collaboration. It makes perfect sense that these whiteboards would be able to be used in that way, but I had never thought about it before! To me, that is so cool that people across the world from each other can communicate and work together using these whiteboards. What a neat way to learn and grow. Not only can interactive whiteboards (IWBs) be used for global collaboration, but they can also be used to increase collaboration among students in a classroom. 

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I think that IWBs can definitely be a good tool for teachers and presenters. Like the article says, just the simple use of the interactive aspects can make learning much more meaningful. Like other teaching tools, though, I think that IWBs can only be effective if used in the correct way. The presence of an IWB in a classroom is not enough. The teacher and students both need to know ways in which the whiteboard can be used to actually approach learning in a different and productive way. Installing IWBs in schools and business is a great, but it is important that the installation is paired with training on how to use them. 

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The article also explained how some whiteboards are made to be geared towards specific environments, such as more for education or more for business. I didn’t realize this before. For this reason, it would definitely be important to pay attention to what type of whiteboard you are purchasing. Again, teachers would need training and guidance in what whiteboard to get and how to use it! 

11/10 LAD Project Update

I think my LAD project is slowly coming together!! I changed around the look of my google site and added a lot to it. I think I might want to switch to a weebly site, not because I’ve had trouble with google but just because it seems like you can make a weebly site look nicer and more “aesthetically-pleasing.” However, the last time I tried to play around with the weebly site, it wouldn’t load. So, right now I am sticking with the google site…..but I may eventually end up switching to weebly. 

Here is the link so you can see what I’ve done so far on the google site: https://sites.google.com/site/australiapicturebook/

Mainly, I added the things I talked about in the last reflection to the website. It was fun figuring out how to organize the website, keeping in mind that I will hopefully be able to actually use this in my 6th grade classroom next semester :). The main things that I have left for the project are the things that I need to actually create, such as PowerPoints, examples of a picture book page, etc. Also, I need to figure out what to do for the technology aspect of the project. Like I mentioned in the last post, I really want to do a scavenger hunt, but I am still struggling to figure out how I can do that. If I don’t do a scavenger hunt, maybe I can do something with QR codes….but, again, I don’t know exactly what I would do with that. 

LAD Project – 10/30 Update

Over the last few days, I have worked to compile and develop more of my anticipatory set and i+1 zone activities. I added a “Let’s Get Started!” page to the website in which I will get students interested by asking them what they first think of when they hear “Australia”, and then giving them a few ideas/pictures to go along with that. Here is the link to the website so that you can see that:

https://sites.google.com/site/australiapicturebook/home

So far that is the only other thing that I’ve added to the website, but I have lots of other ideas flowing! For the rest of the anticipatory set, I will provide students with pictures of different things from Australia (things that maybe they haven’t seen or wouldn’t have thought of) and ask them to choose one and write a paragraph as if they took that picture and are now explaining what it was about. Then I will provide students with a few different websites to explore more about Australia. Some of these websites will have games. So far I’ve found these cool websites, but I may change them or add more: 

http://alldownunder.com/australia/know.html

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/places/find/australia/

http://www.learninggamesforkids.com/geography_games/australia.html

For the i+1 zone, I am going to give kids a geographical understandings chart, with boxes labeled climate, location, natural resources, where people live, and trade. I will give students all kinds of different resources to fill in this chart. (This will include websites, books, videos, and I will probably make a powerpoint). They will be able to choose which resources they want to use, and have the freedom to work at their own pace. 

One of our other big activities for this section will be a role-playing activity. Half of the class will look into and research the Aboriginal Australians, including their origins and culture. The other half of the class will research European colonization of Australia. Then, the two groups will put on a role-playing skit in which the Europeans come into Australia. The skit will need to explain the culture of the Aborigines beforehand, what the Europeans did, and how that impacted the Aborigines (especially in terms of weapons and diseases). I think this will be really fun and engaging for students, and hopefully make the information stick with them better. 

I am still deciding what to do for the technology activity. I really want to do a scavenger hunt or something where the students get to move around, but I am still trying to figure out how we would do that in relation to this project. 

Overall, I feel like I have some good ideas flowing and have been able to find good resources. It is certainly challenging, though, to figure out how to make it all work together in a way that will actually be possible and meaningful for 6th grade students. Hopefully it will all come together in a way that makes sense! 

LAD Project – 10/25 Update

As a middle school education major, I wanted to do this project on something that I may actually be able to use in the future. For that reason, I chose 6th grade social studies standards relating to a topic that interests me and that I think students would enjoy as well – Australia! The overall idea of the “project” is that students will research Australia through different activities and resources, and then each student will create one page of a picture book that we will later combine together to make one class book all about Australia. Right now I am in the process of developing the different activities/resources that the students will use in order to learn about Australia. I know I want the students to have a variety of ways to research the information, including games, videos, books, websites, etc. All of these resources will eventually be on the google site so that students can explore at their own pace. 

Here is what I have for the google site so far: 

https://sites.google.com/site/australiapicturebook/

By next Friday (11/1), I plan to have a much more finalized set of ideas and activities for the anticipatory set and the i-1 zone. Then over the next few days (before 11/6) I will finalize my ideas for the product/assessment/reflection portion of the project. 

New and Improved: Project-Based Learning

I already talked about this in one of my other blog posts, but in my U.S. History class in high school, we had a major group project called the “Decade Project.” I worked with 4 other people to create one giant presentation on everything about the 1970s. This is the main thing that comes to mind when I think about my own experience with project-based learning. We worked on this project for weeks, and definitely put a lot of time and thought into it. Although it was hard work, completing this project was one of the most meaningful experiences I have had in school, and I still remember so much information that I learned while doing that project.

Based on my personal experience and from what I’ve observed from reading about and watching videos, I think projects are so great for learning because they allow students to take control of their learning and to work at their own pace in a way that is much more meaningful. Rather than being taught a concept for one day and then never really talking about it again, students are continually applying and revisiting concepts while completing the project. This allows the information to truly be learned, rather than just memorized or regurgitated. Also, students are given the opportunity to experiment, try something out, and fail. But it’s okay if they fail! One of the best ways to learn is to make mistakes and then delve into what went wrong or what you could change.

As the two articles and the video discussed, project-based learning is also more meaningful because it provides opportunities for students to think and learn about real-life problems. Rather than just learning about something so that they can complete a worksheet or get a good grade on a test, students are learning so that they can tackle a real issue or directly apply it to their lives in some way. When students can see the impact of their learning and work, it generally makes them much more motivated to get stuff done. I wanted to include this quote from the “Design Thinking” article because I think it really sums up the point well:

“When children get to put their ideas to practice on a real problem, that’s when you make a real impact,” says Adam Royalty, a k12 Lab design lecturer. “That way, they gain both creative confidence and realize that they are change agents. These two points, especially the last one, are rarely expressed to children nowadays.”

A challenge for teachers is that creating these projects is certainly not easy. It takes a lot of time, organization, and planning. As project-based learning continues to grow in schools, hopefully more ideas and resources will be created that teachers can use to collaborate and work together in making project-based learning a more common experience for students everywhere. I hope that one day I can be as successful as Ms. Reeder in creating projects for my students in which they are engaged and excited about what they are doing and what they are learning.