Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Final Blog

I feel it is very important to incorporate technology into my classroom. We are entering a technology age were everyone needs knowledge on how to use the new gadgets and programs that are being invented. Having technology in the classroom allows for teachers to create a new innovated way of teaching and keeping their students engaged in their learning. Some of the benefits are that the use of technology in the classroom creates a different way of learning and meets the different learning styles of the students. It allows them to learn the basic skills for the technology and how to use them in future practices. There are many challenges that can occur in the classroom with the use of technology. Sometimes there can be glitches in the program that can force the teacher to change the way their lesson will be taught. Another challenge can be making a lesson too much about the technology then the lesson. All of these challenges can be avoided by knowing how to use the technology and having a backup plan if a lesson is not going the way that was expected.
Some of the most important lessons that I will take a way form this class and use wills probably how to use the Smartboard, Microsoft Word, wix.com and Inspiration. I know that not many schools have smartboards at this time but it is a good to learn how to use if I am placed in a classroom with one. I can create interactive lessons that will liven up the everyday classroom and make students more engaged in their learning. I liked learning more about Microsoft Word and all of its different functions. I can do more than just create basic documents. I can make Newsletters and flyers that I could potentially use in my classroom and share with my students. Wix.com for the creation of my e-portfolio was a great new experience. I had never made a website before and the creation of it allowed me to think of many different ways I could possibly use it for my classroom. I could make a classroom website and have everything that students might need access to during the school year on there. Parents will be able to contact me through it and know I can keep my students and their parents updated about what is going on in the classroom. Inspiration is another technological tool that I enjoyed to learn about. Being a future social studies teacher I learned a lot and can see myself make diagrams and outlines for my students and teaching my students how to use it on their own for studying. I learned a lot from this class and cannot wait to apply my knowledge of technology to my future classroom.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Video Project Scenario

In a High School 10Th-12Th grade American Government classroom I would incorporate a video project for students to make their own campaign videos. I would have my students do some research on commercials that they see on TV during election years. I would teach students how to make the videos and how to edit them and add sound. I would have students make sure that they know what they can and cannot have in their videos. I would make sure that the students know that they need to put in what their views are and what they are trying to represent in the video. I would make sure that the students work with a partner as if they are their running mate.  Some challenges could be however what students will try to present in their videos. Another issue could be if a student misses class how they would be able to finish the project.

Day 1:

-          Students would have learned about the three branches of government and how representatives get elected into office.

-          Students will learn how to use a moviemaker program.

o   They will learn how to film with a video camera

o   They will learn how to edit the film and add sound.

Day 2

-          Students will review how to edit film and add sound

o   I will then give students partners and have them brainstorm their campaigns.

o   They will create a video board outline that will show what they plan on doing during their short campaign video.

o   I will then give students time during class to do research and make their campaign videos.

Day 3-5

-          Students will be given time during class and during free periods to work on their campaign videos.  

Day 7-8

-          Students will be given time at the end of class to work on their videos when all their other work from class has been completed.

Day 9

-          Students will have finalized their projects and the students will share them in front of the class.

o   They will give the background to their campaigns.

o   Students at the end of day 9 will then vote on the best video in election ballot format like during a real election.


Students need to make sure they have completed the following in their video:

-          Made an appropriate video that flows well and is not choppy.

-          Needs to be creative and original

-          Have a clear campaign slogan

-          Have a clear representation to what the candidate is trying to represent if elected.

-          Must have they saying “I am (insert name here) and I have approved this message.

-          This video must be one to two minutes per group.

However I feel that a project like this would make an excellent end of the year project. Students would have the ability to have more time to put some sufficient effort into completing a well directed and filmed campaign video. At the end of the year the classes could sit down and watch one an other's and then vote on the ones that they thought were the best. This will also give them the ability to see the in site and influence the that videos have on the viewers for a real election.

Video Reflection

Our video on Crossing Daring Street worked very well especially since neither one of us had had any real experience using this program. The actually shooting and cutting of the video worked very well. We knew exactly what we wanted to portray in our video and set out to do just that.  Everything worked very well with very few hiccups. Although, it was difficult to find time to film with our busy schedules and there were also conflicts with the weather.  If I had to approach this project differently I would have liked to include just random people walking across the street not knowing that we were filming. I will take away a lot of skills from learning how to use MovieMaker. I had never made a video and posted it online before. I learned a lot from how to film and make sure that there is enough film to be edited and how to upload it into the program to edit the film. Also after having complications at first on how to upload the video to YouTube I was able to learn how to convert the video so that it would be compatible for the Internet. I can now say that I know how to edit videos and some creativity into a subject that could possibly be dull or boring into something exciting, informative, and creative.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Graphic Skills

The whole project of Photoshop was new to me. I had never edited pictures before. With the knowledge and knowing how easy it was to edit pictures I will definitely use this to edit pictures to post on a classroom website or to make fancy boarders on papers or posters around the room. I feel that there should be a class taught on Photoshop and other graphic skills especially in high schools. This allows students to learn a skill that will help them with projects and help those students find something that they can be passionate about. Instead of students being trapped in learning in the same four general classes they can take time to step away from academic learning and learn a skill that can add some joy to their school career.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


There are many activities that can be done to incorporate Excel into our curriculum. There are many ways to have our students be up to date with the current technology that is being used. Teachers in all different subject areas can help students work on their computer skills by teaching them the basics to Excel. Excel can be used in Science, English, Math, and History classes. Some activities that can be done in the classroom are as followed:

In Science, students can use excel to compile data that they have collected from projects. Such as in physics students can track the velocity of different objects as they move across different surfaces and calculate the average rates by using the excel formulas. This will also allow students to keep accurate notes of changes in data.

An activity that can be done in History classes would be to create a graph or compile statistical notes about a population during a certain time period. This will allow students to see the correlation between different time eras between population size, ethnicity, death rates,  and economic status and so on.

Another activity that can be done in History would be for an economics class. Students can put in data about supply and demand and study the economic growth. They can study the economic history during times such as the Great Depression and compare to that of the economic status of today.

For English students can use Excel to create organized reading lists of books for class or of characters that appear in books as they read. Excel can also be used to make grammar charts. Excel can be used for students learning tenses, antonyms, and synonyms. It is a great program to create study sheets and make table for words that should the same but have a different spelling such as, There, Their, and They’re.

There are many activities that can be done in Excel for Math. Students can use it to help organize math problems. It can also be used to create graphs for statistics. Students can use it to learn fractions like how many pieces of the pie make a whole. For this activity they could use a pie chart and put in different sets of data and see the graph change.

There are many other activities that can be done for each class in Excel. It is our job to think of creative ways to integrate this technology into our classrooms so that students receive the basic knowledge of Excel.

NETS-S Standards for these activities:

1.      Creativity and Innovation

2.      c. Use models and simulations to explore complex

3.      systems and issues

2. Communication and Collaboration

c. Develop cultural understanding and global

awareness by engaging with learners of

other cultures

3. Research and Information Fluency

b. Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize,

and ethically use information from a variety of

sources and media

d. Process data and report results

4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving,

and Decision Making

a. Identify and define authentic problems and

significant questions for investigation

b. Plan and manage activities to develop a solution

or complete a project

c. Collect and analyze data to identify solutions

and/or make informed decisions

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Copyright Laws

The copyrights for teachers are in place for specific materials that can be copied if they fit into the curriculum. For example if a teacher is to copy articles, stories or essays less than 2,500 words it can be done as long as it is used in the classroom, although these copies can only be made if they are made from legally acquired originals. Another thing I learned was about videotapes either purchased or rented also DVDs and Laserdiscs, Teachers may use these materials in the classroom and copies may be made if the copy is to replace the one lost or damaged. Like all the other materials it must be acquired legally and in a classroom or in a nonprofit environment. I never realized how many restricts there were on copy rights and how much that affects the materials acquired by the teacher they may want to use or share with their students.

Now looking back at my education I have seen a few copyright violations or some that were very borderline. There have been teachers that have made several copies of short stories or of other articles that have been given to every student. Although that is allowed is the copying of those articles by all the teachers and sharing them together I see as being borderline in copyright. Although they have a legally acquired copy of the short story or article the spreading of them around to other teacher seems to be on the edge of violating copyright.

I have observed several copyright violations outside of school, especially of the movie and music industries. Not only are there fights about who had the right to similar song titles or similar lyrics but people download music and movies illegally. I have seen several people either watch a movie that is in the movie theater at that time either online or have it on a “bootlegged” DVD. I also know many people who have download music illegally too either from sites such as “Limewire” or going through “YouTube” and using a special program to transfer it into a music document file. All of these actions are in violation of the copyright laws. They are taking property that is not theirs and the artist is not receiving any credit for the work that they have done. I have also seen many of these people receive letters from the government ordering them to stop the illegal downloads or there would be further consequences. I have also seen people end their illegal downloading because they had received computer viruses through illegal downloading.

As a future teacher I feel it should be part of our responsibility to make students aware that violating copyright laws is wrong and that there will be consequences. There is always someone watching your every move and can get you into some serious trouble if caught breaking the law. I know for secondary there will be a great deal to talk about with those students especially because they think they will not get caught downloading a song or movie. Violators will be caught and there are ways to go about getting permits to use someone else's work. We also go about teaching this through giving credit to other when writing essays either quoting a source directly or using it in a generalization everything must be given it recognition so not to be consider “plagiarism.” There is only so much teachers can teach students about copyright laws and how to prevent the violations in schools its making them aware of the consequences they can face when they are outside of school.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Interactive Whiteboard

The use of interactive whiteboard technology is becoming increasing more common in the classroom. Its use is intended to enhance teaching and learning. The use of the interactive whiteboards allows teachers’ to have creative and interactive lessons with the goal of making learning more fun and participatory.  The programs tools enable lesson to accommodate different types of learning all the while keeping students engaged in learning. The hands on applications permit student to physically get out of their classroom seats and respond with hands on applications. These interactive lessons utilizing a white board are creative and fun; encouraging students to be engaged, focused and learning. The program enables teachers to create fun quizzes, activities and lessons due the readily available resources such as maps and pictures

The use of this newer technology is relatively easy; I like to think of it as an interactive power point. Its advanced capabilities allow it to be interactive and fun. The ability for students to interact and answer questions far outweighs days of repetitive note taking. This newer technology is to the classroom what an over head projector was years ago to the classroom. It enhances the teacher’s ability to create lessons which make learning come alive. Learning the terminology connected to white board technology can be incorporated into lessons. Students readily adapt to this technology because of their personal use of other highly evolved technology. The use during lessons allows teachers to highlight important things enabling students to make connections within a lesson and utilize the program concurrently.

There are many pros and cons to the use of interactive whiteboards. The costs and installation are high; additionally the placement of the board is often difficult due to the differences in height. Easy access is important but can be difficult to attain in a class setting where several people of varying heights utilize the board. A shorter person will have difficult accessing the buttons if placed too high and a tall person will feel bent in half or block the display if too low. It also should not be placed in close proximity to a chalk board due to chalk residue damaging the board or a dry erase marker marring the surface. Additionally, like all technology it can malfunction and be unavailable for a daily lesson if inoperable.   It is important as whiteboards become incorporated into learning that the whiteboard be a supplement to enhance learning not be the focus of it. The pros far outweigh the cons; white boards integrate learning into the hands of students as they physically participate.  Additionally the many tools readily available making creating fun and interesting lesson much easier. It allows students to interact while learning; this helps develop an atmosphere where students want to participate. Whiteboards with practice are easy to use; they also enhance and diversify lesson types making them both more fun and interactive.

I wish I had had this technology in some of my past lessons. I would have enjoyed creating an interactive whiteboard lesson while creating lesson plans on the three branches of government the use of an interactive board to illustrate the connections between the branches and their powers would have enhanced and clearly illustrated my intended outcomes. The use of the whiteboard to demonstrate the passing of a Bill in the legislature would have enabled the students to interact with the process and step by step application of a classroom Bill. The ability to illustrate the movement of a bill from the house to senate and the president.  Some history lessons would benefit from the utilization of a timeline; a white board would enable this with demographics and pictures to enhance the experience and relevance. It would also allow students to form outlines relevant to their participation in interactive activities based in historical events, timelines and war battle specifics; such as war outcomes, occupation of territories or death totals.

In my dream classroom environment there would exist a whiteboard. It would provide me the opportunity to be even more creative and create interactive lessons. It would provide an additional avenue to explore history; one that would pop out of the pages of a history book and into an interactive lesson with students physically engaged. It would also allow kinesthetic learners to experience lessons that involved them; alternative learners of auditory or more analytical learners a more hands on learning experience. A whiteboard when utilized fully will benefit all students by enhancing a traditional formatted lesson into a creative and interactive lesson with many enriched resources.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Software Skills Reflection

In the first couple weeks of this class I never expected to learn about so many different types of software and technologies that I find could be useful for me in the classroom. I find it helpful to learn about the new technologies that are now being used in the classroom and find the need to keep up with its usage. I have found it to be very beneficial to learn about programs such as Inspiration and Smart Boards for classrooms. All of these new tools I feel I can use with great success in my future classrooms.

The learning of Inspiration was one of the most useful resources I feel I have learned about. I feel using Inspiration in my classroom will allow me to create different ways of teaching, learning, and taking notes for students. The ability to create diagrams will help organize the lessons and facts they are learning so students are able to make connections. They will be able to see the correlation between topics and aspects of history. For example I could use inspiration to create a diagram showing the process of how a bill becomes a law. As the bill is exchanged from branch to the next I will be able to give a visual representation of the creation of new legislation. I also like the aspect that I can take the diagram I have designed and put it into an outline for my classes. I could easily develop an activity that could be for different learning styles. I would be able to create worksheets for the visual learners and those who are considered to be serious note takers. This program will have a great use for my future classes.

Another sources I have found to be useful is the Smart Board lessons. Coming into this class I knew very little about Smart Boards. I like learning the functions that it has to make a lesson fun, interesting, and most of all keeping the students engaged. I like the fact that there are programs for the smart board that can be used as review sessions before tests and quizzes. It is also a great devise to be used in getting students up and involved in the lesson. Every student would want to get up and use the Smart Board. Although not every school or classroom may have one it would be beneficial to know how to use one in the cause that the school district that I would be hired in would have one. It is a very useful tool that will make learning fun interesting and worth learning.

All the programs that we have learned have a use in any classroom it is what a teacher makes of those programs to make learning, fun, and successful. These programs can make it easier to make lessons that are adaptable for students with special needs or just need to a different way of learning. Our world is full of technology and it’s time for our schools to jump in with the technologies that are available to use. I feel I have a lot more to learn to be a successful teacher with these tools. I cannot wait to incorporate what I have in class to my own classroom one day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


            Inspiration is a program I could find many uses for within my classroom. As a history teacher using Inspiration to create fun and innovative lessons will encourage students to find learning history detail more interesting. It will help me create lessons that show correlations between dates and specific events throughout history. This program is great for creating worksheets for those students who are visual learners. The program will enable an outline to be created using its different mapping and organizing abilities directly from the document. High school students would benefit greatly from its use.

10 Ideas to Incorporate Inspiration:

1.      A graphic organizer would be helpful to show the relationship during the Units of WWI and WWII such as the alliances between countries. Students could complete information during the lesson and then use it later as a study guide.

2.      A concept map would assist in the mapping of how a Bill becomes a law during lessons on the development of legislation. This could be completed as an assignment utilizing the readings in the text or from class presentation. This could also be used for a project in which a student will follow a Bill as it goes through the legislative system to become a law.

3.      A concept map would assist in illustrating the checks and balance of powers utilized in the three branches of the U.S. government. It could also be used during class to take notes or completed as a chapter reading assignment.

4.       It could aid in research consisting of cause and effects as pertained to a war or a conflict within a civilization; or as a mind mapping organizer to assist in the students thinking outside of the box. Enabling students to take broad ideas and narrowing them down to specific events or causes that created enough impact to start a war.

5.      This would aid a visual learner in creating an essay idea based in facts before actually writing an idea web. It would assist in the brainstorming of concrete ideas allowing them to flow into a more concise thesis backed up by facts.

6.      Outlines provide students the opportunity to organize their thoughts and ideas for presentations and/or papers. High school students writing research papers could utilize the outline to base their research around and formulate their paper. The outline will assist in the format and flow of the paper. The ability to organize a paper using each subtopic to support the thesis is made easier using the outline. Facts are easily found and can be used to substantiate writings. It will enable students to write their thoughts down on paper before finalizing an entire research paper.

7.      The use of an outline allows students to take notes and/or complete chapter readings within guidelines. Thoughts are grouped according to topics and more readily understood. The organization gives students present day guidelines that are applicable and can be utilized in the future. The flexibility this program provides is its best feature. It allows an outline to transform into a diagram or an outline format or vice versa.

8.      Mind mapping from project resources or paper can be helpful. It enables taking a source and narrowing the topics down. This helps the student decide what they want to discuss and gives them the ability to analyze the information retrieved from those resources. They can also use the mind mapping to take note on quotes they would like to use; it also helps in keeping track of what source they came from.

9.      A lesson about the general population plots and graphs can help with the studying of birth and death rates in a city compared to that of a rural area. Being able to plot the population growth through time provides an overview of the historical events that may have taken place or could have caused the population to sky rocket or plummet. An example: a sharp decrease in population due to the plague or a marked increase after the war referred to as the “Baby Boom” 

10.  An Economics Unit or course would benefit from Inspirations visual affects when using plots and graphs. It could assist in creating visuals of economic principles such as GDP, and the house and stock markets etc. Using graphs to depict information provides a quick visual from which much information can be gained. Students could also make their own graphs to aid in understand the aspects of supply and demand.

Personal Learning Network

            The Personal Learning Networks I utilize to find academic answers are: Wikipedia, YouTube, and Google. These allow me to find specific websites that are specific to my topic and are .gov or .edu websites. I like Wikipedia because it gives quick and basic background on my topic of research prior to more in depth research and sources. I utilize YouTube for my “how to activities” and videos regarding specific time period or provide live footage of a historical moment such as a president giving a speech. I use Google to assist in narrowing down my website searches for scholarly websites and sources. It takes me to websites that have a connection to my topic that I am researching. However, it doesn’t always bring me to accurate sources but it does allow me to pick and choose the sources. For face to face contact I usually consult my professor for assistance, especially if I need clarification of a topic. I will also go to my friends or family who I know may know more about a topic than I do. I have also used Skype when the person lives far and I want a face to face interaction.

Diagram of my Personal Learning Network


Social Bookmarking

            Social Bookmarking could have a major role in my classroom. With the ability to keep track of all my favorite educational websites and to keep they organized for individual units and lesson plans. Social bookmarking would benefit me as a teacher by having the ability to collaborate ideas from other teachers not only in my school but across the country. If someone shares a source on a topic that my students are studying I could adapt a lesson to make it more creative and in the end students will have hopefully learned something. Social bookmarking would also benefit my students in that I could give them access to my bookmarking site and they could access links they need to either complete an assignment or use for research on a project with suggested sites. I feel that Social Bookmarking is going to benefit me as a student. It will help me find sources that others have found interesting and helpful in using for their studies. It will also help me in that if I find a source that I might not need right away but could use in a future project, I could save that source for a later date and not forget what it was.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Blogs and Google Docs.

Blogs can be incorporated into the classroom in many different ways. Today’s students have witnessed the rapid advancement of the technological world. So one would assume today’s students would be able to use the present technology or at least learn it more rapidly than older adults. With this said, the use of blogs in a modern day classroom should be beneficial for both teachers and students.
Teachers selecting to use blogs are able to share ideas with other teachers with a goal of creating better teaching techniques for lessons and/or activities of a particular topic. This would benefit students who would be the recipients of more intriguing or interesting lessons and/or activities. Teachers from a wide area and diverse situations are enabled to share their teaching methods in hopes of creating the best learning environment for their students.
Blogs are also good for students; providing them with the ability to be published and share ideas with the world outside of their classrooms. It provides them a voice by which to share their opinion. Teachers can use blogs for assignments based on current readings which encourage interaction of thoughts among students. They can share more than knowledge of subject matter such as voice an opinion and watch for the interaction of others as they respond an opportunity to ask questions and receive answers is beneficial and permits greater understanding.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to adding blogging to a classroom. A clear disadvantage is not every student has access to a computer or internet outside of the school setting. A clear understanding of what is appropriate for posting on a blog. Is needed and must be adhered to. This promotes the opportunity for teachers to talk about being safe on the internet, yet does not protect students from other inappropriate exposures. An advantage of blog usage is students continue to stay relevant with modern technological use which is a vital part of today’s society and everyday living. Blogs also allow students to be more interactive with classmates that they may not be comfortable with at school.  It allows the shy student an opportunity to voice an opinion without the fear of speaking in front of the entire class. Also, a student absent from school can use a blog as a means of communicating with the classroom teacher and classmates keeping them up to date with assignments and lessons.
Technology is changing the world we live in; we need to know how it works and how to teach our students to use it appropriately. Teachers can take the advantage of blogging with their students to form better lines of communication.

Google Docs:

Before this class I knew very little about Google Docs. I was aware of the advantage of using it to create documents and sending them to others to review and comment on but had not learned the proper techniques needed to utilize it. I like the fact that it auto-saves the document. I also learned it can be utilized to create more than documents, things such as presentations and spreadsheets can be made and shared easily. An advantage of Google Docs is the security; only people you intend to share them with can view them. I also like that if someone wants to put comments on the document they can create the comment bubble on the side and put their thoughts  there to be easily and readily viewed.  Additionally, pictures too can be shared and incorporated. It enables teachers to respond to students quickly, keep notes of faculty meetings and being able to send them to everyone. Advantages for students are, it enables peer editing, allows access to documents at home and enables working on projects together outside of class.  Another advantage is, a presentation done on Google Docs can be retrieved on the internet and correlated without the need to download the document or saving it on a flash drive.

A clear disadvantage is it does not function without internet access to the computer. Another disadvantage is the involved steps to print papers or projects from Google Docs itself.
Although I’m still learning how to use Google Docs there are many features I like. I intend to learn more and utilize it both in my own learning and incorporate it into my future teaching world.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012