Frau's Blog

Archive for November 2009

  • Are you finding the information and resources you need? 

Yes and no. While I am coming up with new ideas to integrate more technology in the classroom, I am running into many roadblocks. Most of these roadblocks are a result of internet filter at school. I have voiced my complaints with this problem before but it continues to get worse and even more frustrating. I really want to use VoiceThread and it is blocked. I want to show a video of something and the websites are blocked. I want to play a German song, blocked. German online newspaper? Online radio station? German blogs? Blocked, blocked, blocked. I have found a way around the YouTube block. I can download and save the video on my home computer and email it to myself so I can open it at school so I can share it with my students. So integrating more technology using the internet is turning out to be a lot of trouble. 

  • Do you need to modify your action plan? 

Modifying the plan is probably something that needs to be done, but I am not sure how. I can continue to have students make their own Power Point presentations and attempt to find web resources online that are not blocked, but this is not incredibly exciting. I need to find more methods of technology that I can use, but I am not exactly sure where to start. Suggestions?

  • What have you learned so far? 

I have learned that something that should be moderately easy to do is actually much more difficult to accomplish. I am not sure why certain websites are blocked, especially when I am learning in this program how great these resources are for education.

  • What new questions have arisen?

The main question I have is where do I go from here? Because I have already integrated some technology in the classroom, what new technologies should I try to incorporate from here? What do I do if I discover the technology cannot be used at school? And I am still unsure of what new technologies I should try.

I suppose this is a very negative post. For what it is worth, I do enjoy using the technology that I am already currently using in my classroom, but I am looking forward to using more and it seems like such a distant dream at the moment. Hopefully it will get easier and I will be able to post something more positive in the near future.

And thank you in advance to any of my classmates who have any new ideas for me to try!

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·  What resources do you need to carry out your plan?
 
For my goal of modifying my current classroom activities to include more technology, I first and foremost need to become familiar with more technological resources. I have already learned about several new resources, like VoiceThread and Wikis, through Walden. I would need more time playing with these resources using my computer, YouTube or TeacherTube for videos to help guide me through new technology and also the internet for advice and information. I could also bounce ideas off my colleagues and get their opinions on new activities I want to try. For me use new technologies with my students I need to be familiar with them first so that I can help them when they need it. It is important to me to include more technology because according to Grace Smith and Stephanie Throne, as cited by Stansbury (2009), technology in the classroom can “personalize instruction, enhance learning with multimedia components, can help students construct new knowledge, and motivates students with their work”. As a teacher, I want my lessons to encourage these traits in students and if I can achieve that by integrating more technology, then I definitely want to give it a try.
Second to becoming familiar with these resources, I would also need to make sure that I can use these resources in school. Time in the computer lab is limited and there are no computers in the classroom for student use.

For my other goal of monitoring student progress, I just need my computer to check the login information for my students on the online grade book.

· What additional information do you need?
 
Additional information that I need is knowing whether my students do not have access to the internet and the online grade book at home. Because reserving time in the computer lab is not always easy, it is important that students can check their progress at home. Also, I do not have enough time to get my students to the computer lab on a weekly basis solely for checking their grades. If a student does not have access to the internet at home, I would have to make accommodations for that student. A possible accommodation might be letting the student use my classroom computer before or after school to monitor their progress.

· What steps have you been able to take so far?
 
As of right now I have not done much to reach my goals. I am thinking of new activities using technology, but coming up with the ideas and actually putting them into motion are two very different things. One idea I had to use VoiceThread did not work out as I discovered VoiceThread is blocked by our district’s internet filter. Hopefully I will be able to begin integrating more ideas in the near future.
As stated in my previous blog posting about my GAME plan, I plan to integrate monitoring student progress beginning in January for second semester.

References:

Stansbury, M. (2009, February). Technology empowers differentiated instruction. eSchool News Online. Retrieved from http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/news-by-subject/index.cfm?i=57064.

 

 

  • Set goals for strengthening your confidence and proficiency in at least two indicators in the NETS-T. 

I would like to strengthen my confidence in the following two standards of NETS-T:

1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

 

b. engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources
 

2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

 

b.   develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and becomeactive participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress 
 

 

  • Decide what actions you will take to achieve those goals.   

To achieve my first goal of teaching students about real-world issues using digital tools, I will create new lessons that will use more digital tools. In addition to this I will look at lessons that I already have in place and see how I can modify them to incorporate technology. Teaching the German language is a lot of black and white information. There is only so much that can be done to show students what a direct object is and how to conjugate a verb, but I can begin to incorporate more activities to help students practice this information using technology. For example, I can make online practice exercises and quizzes using a website like http://www.quia.com

My second goal is about encouraging students to monitor their own progress. I have done a literature review about student-monitoring and how it affects their grades and it appears to have a positive affect. Our school offers students an online  grade book so that students can log on and see how they are doing in their classes whenever they want. However, not very many students check their progress regularly. Teachers can see when the last time the students logged in to the online grade book. I would like to make it a weekly grade for students to check their progress online. Because I can check when the students log on, I can make it mandatory for students to check their grades. They students must have logged in sometime each week to earn points for monitoring grades.

  • Determine how you will monitor your progress.

To monitor my first goal, I will aim to add 3 more lessons incorporating technology and modify 2 existing lessons to incorporate technology this school year. I also intend to add even more in the following school year.

I would like to incorporate my second goal starting next semester. Since we are already into the 2nd nine weeks, I will wait until second semester begins before I require students to monitor their progress online. This will also give me the opportunity to see how the student-monitoring affects their grades between first and second semester. It should provide very clear evidence if self-monitoring does affect student grades.

  • Decide how you will evaluate and extend your learning.

For the first goal, because I have done more traditional activities in the past, I can observe how the students respond to new activities using technology. If students react positively to the new lessons I will continue to modify lessons to incorporate more technology. If not, I can continue to use the lessons I already have. Although I think using more technology could only have a positive effect on students. They are already so excited to work in the computer lab that I think more activities using the computer would be beneficial to them. I hope to see higher levels of engagement and therefore higher quality of work.

For my second goal the students progress will serve as my evaluation. If monitoring their progress does show evidence that it can improve their grades I will continue to use this strategy in the future. If it does not show a positive affect on grades I will re-think the idea and possibly modify it or scrap the idea.

References:

National Education Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) located at http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/ForTeachers/2008Standards/NETS_T_Standards_Final.pdf.

  • Describe the most striking revelation you had about the teaching of new literacy skills to your students as a result of this course.

The most striking revelation I have had with my students is how few of them actually knew how to properly evaluate a website and decide if it is reliable. My students often will recite something they have read online and when another student challenges it they joke,”Well, everything on the internet is true”. While this is only a joke my students do not take the time to determine if the website is reliable or not. An English professor from my undergraduate studies illustrated how important this is by showing us a website discredited the existence of the Holocaust. After reading the information on the website, at the very bottom of the site we discovered it was written by a math professor from a fictional university. I experienced this again while evaluating a website for this course: Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus at  http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/. This is a fictional creature, but the website even fooled me at first glance. Until I began investigating the website further I did not realize it was a hoax. As a result of this I have already done activities with my students to help them identify reliable web resources.

  • Describe how the knowledge and experience gained in this course will influence your teaching practices going forward.

Something that I have really enjoyed about this course, and this program for that matter, is that so much of what I am learning can be used in the classroom. During my undergraduate studies, I learned about classroom management and how to write a lesson plan but none of that really went with me into my classroom. Those are concepts that cannot be realized until a teacher has their own classes and students and discovers the best way to interact with them. The information I have learned through this course and through Walden I can begin using practically immediately in my classroom.

This course has emphasized the importance of teaching 21st literacy skills and those skills are something that I will be thinking about as I make new lessons and modify old lessons to incorporate these skills. It is important that as I plan activities for my students that I try to include technological resources as often as I can.  Being able to read and comprehend text is no longer enough to be considered literate. The International Reading Association (IRA), as cited in Eagleton and Dobler (2007), says that “literacy educators have the responsibility to effectively integrate these technologies into the literacy curriculum in order to prepare students for the literacy future they deserve”. By offering more opportunities for students to use technology I am helping to make them more marketable for when they graduate and are looking for jobs.

  • Identify at least one professional development goal you would like to pursue that builds upon your learning in this course and develops your own information literacy or technology skills. Describe the steps you will take to accomplish this goal.

My goal as a result of this course is to give more opportunities for my students to question and research. As a German teacher, the majority of my time in the classroom is spent teaching my students vocabulary and grammar concepts. It is a lot of teaching and not much questioning. However, as Eagleton and Dobler (2007) note, humans are natural questioners. They also cite being around a 4-year old for an extended amount of time will prove this! My inquiry-based unit plan was a research project on a famous German-American. This activity allowed for students to ask questions such as how German-Americans have impacted our society. I love this project and I have already begun to implement it in my classroom.

Unfortunately, I do not feel that I provide very many opportunities to my students for inquiry-based lessons. A lot of this is because I feel rushed enough as it is just to teach the facts, but it is also because as a foreign language teacher there is not too much information to question. Students cannot question or research whether something is a direct object or a predicate nominative. Those are just facts. Cultural information is really where students can inquire. Usually I just teach cultural tidbits when they come up in class and I only spend a few moments discussing them with the students. I plan to allow more time for students to research and discover more about German culture. Instead of just telling students information, I hope to allow more time for them to question and research cultural information.

References:

Eagleton, M. B., & Dobler, E. (2007). Reading the Web: Strategies for Internet inquiry. New York: The Guilford Press.



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  • Stephanie: Thanks Cesar! It is wonderful to have such support through our cohort. I appreciate your comments and kind words.
  • Cesar Rubio: Hi Stephanie, You are making great strides in completing your GAME Plan. I'm so jealous! I haven't gotten mine off the ground because I don't know
  • Toni Malvestuto: I hope you have a better week this week. I know how stressful it can be when you don't have the resources you need at hand. I have also learned not

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