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CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY

Here you will find information on how technology is being used in the classroom. You will learn how the teacher uses technology to present content to the students and how the students use technology to express what they have learned. Of course, this can never be a static page because, just as technology continues to grow and change, its uses in our classroom will continue to develop.

Scroll down or select a link below to learn more:


Technology as a Learning Tool...Not a Distraction

Have you ever been in a class where the teacher fumbles with getting the projector to work, or used a web application and thought that it was really cool, but what was the point? These are things that will never happen in this class! In this classroom, technology will be use as a tool to enhance learning without becoming a distraction. In its most simple form, the purpose of this class is to teach reading and writing. We will only be using technology when it provides a real benefit to help students in these content areas. Technology can cause problems in the classroom in two main ways: When teachers and students don't know how to use the technology and when students use the technology as a toy rather than a tool. To combat both of the problems, your teacher will stay up to date on learning to effectively use all of the technologies that are used in the classroom and will provide detailed instructions and thorough demonstrations to students every time a new technology is used.

Types of Technology

My classroom will be a true representation of a 21st century classroom featuring every type of technology that will benefit my students. I will have a Smart Board with a DLP 3-D enabled projector that enables my students and I to interact with the board from anywhere in the classroom. I will have a computer station with several desktop computers and access to notebook computers and IPads. At a minimum, students will be able to work in groups of 2-3 per computer. Within my classroom, all of the computers will be connected with a wireless network that will allow for file and software sharing. I will invest in purchasing group licenses for exceptional educational software as well as taking advantage of the numerous free options available. I will use headphones, speakers, microphones, web cams, gaming consoles, digital cameras, and digital video recorders to enhance student learning and expression. Experiences gained in my classroom will only be limited by the imagination and the wealth of resources available on the internet and through digital audio and video. Although I will not allow cell phone use in my classroom, I will allow students to interact using iclickers and with polls and discussion boards accessed through the class website. I will maintain a class website, social network sites, and blog to provide students and parents constant access to needed information. I will use assistive technology to meet the needs of disabled students. Overall, the type of technology used in my classroom will grow and change as I identify student needs and discover new forms of technology.

In order to meet my goals of having a highly technologically equipped classroom, I will work diligently to secure grants and donations. One way that I can provide the most students with access to the most equipment is by partnering with several teachers to share equipment such as mobile notebook computer labs and IPad labs. Another way would be to work with other teachers and combine school resources to create a dedicated technology lab which would be open for use by multiple teachers and students. Regardless of the resources available to me, I plan to work creatively to overcome the obstacles that come with inadequate school funding. For example, I could create a white board using a wii remote. I also plan to donate my own resources, such as left-over parts and equipment, and my own labor to build computers and provide IT and network solutions for my classroom.

Communication is Key

In order for students to be successful in the classroom, they must stay in communication with the teacher. Moreover, a constantly open line of communication between teachers and parents can be one of the most effective ways to keep students on track. Constant communication will be made possible using all of the technology available. For example, students and parents will always have access to work, assignments, and other important information on this website; much of this information can be subscribed to via RSS feed. Also, parents can expect to hear from be regularly through email and should know that they should email me every time even the slightest concern arises. I will also keep a class blog where I will provide updates about classroom activities. We will use Facebook as an additional means to keep communications open between parents, students, and teachers. With all these ways to stay in touch, students will have access to what they need from anywhere, anytime.

To enhance classroom activities, I will maintain a discussion board that students can post to inside and outside of class. Sometimes, time does not allow every student to express their thoughts and some students may not want to speak up in class. Each time we have a class discussion, I will add a topic with the same questions we talk about in class. The discussion board will be monitored by myself and by two student co-moniters each week.

Staying Ahead of the Curve...And the Students

One of the most important ways to ensure that technology is used correctly by the students to aid their learning is to make sure that all technology problems are prevented instead of being dealt with as they occur. For example, at the beginning of the year class time will be devoted to explaining all of the rules regarding technology use in the classroom and outside the classroom with social media, class website, research, and discussion boards. Periodic seminars will keep students informed on issues such as online safety and cyber-bullying. Before any type of technology is used by students, its proper use will be thoroughly demonstrated and explained. As the teacher, I will stay ahead of the curve by becoming an expert will all software and technology used and by consistently monitoring student use. All classroom computers will access the internet through a secure firewall to prevent access to inappropriate sites. Furthermore, key-logger software will be utilized to document student activities. Finally, I will use a remote network management software, such as Net Control 2, to display screenshots of all computers in the classroom network on the teacher computer or on the board via the projector.

Website as a Portal to the World

Whether student are in the classroom, at home, or on the go, they will always have access to most of the materials presented in class. Videos, web-links, images, documents, and more will be stored on the class website. Whenever a student begins a project at home or during class, a page with instructions, help-full links, and multimedia will be provided on the class website. The class website will essentially be used as a web portal that students can use to access safe, pre-approved learning materials and resources. Furthermore, announcements, assignments, calenders, contact information, and other important information will be accessible at all times via the class website.

Using Technology to Create a Universal Learning Environment

Today’s classroom is filled with students who have an abundance of distinct learning needs. In the same class you will find gifted students, students with mental and physical disabilities, students with unique learning needs, ESL students, students of different ages, and students from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. You will also find students who learn by seeing, students who learn by doing, students who learn by hearing, and students who learn by touching. It is the teacher’s job to make sure that every student, no matter what advantages or disadvantages they bring with them, are taught with equity and given every possible chance for academic success. Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles that allows every student in the classroom to have an equal opportunity to learn. Furthermore, all students learn better and absorb information faster when materials are presented using different methods to prevent cognitive overload. I will use technology in the classroom as a tool to ensure that all categories of the UDL are met each day. Below you will find some examples of ways technology will be used in meeting UDL considerations.

Technology to Present Content

Auditory

  • Digital music will also be used to play songs to assist in teaching poetry. Media players will allow students to listen to songs verse by verse.
  • Podcasts will be used to provide students with explanations and instructions that they can assess again and again as they work independently on assignments. When students are absent during important lectures and discussions, podcasts will be recorded and made available on the class website.
  • When reading as a class, audio books will be used so that students can listen and follow along while reading.

Visual

  • Material will be presented with a Smart Board that will utilize multiple colors, fonts, and shapes, charts and graphs, and images to present content.
  • Students will be given attractively arranged handouts featuring key information created with Word and Publisher.
  • PowerPoint and Prezzi will be used to present content dynamically.
  • Online Videos and DVDs will be used to present video to help demonstrate concepts.
  • Tutorial Software and Learning Software will be used to present lessons such as “Shakespeare In Bits” software which provides animations along with reading.

Tactile/Kinesthetic

  • Simulated field trips and virtual tours of geographic locations will be used to explore book settings.
  • A 3-D projector will be used to provide immersive geographic fly-overs. 3-D movies will be used to bring students into the narrative of literature.

Affective

  • Audience response systems such as Poll Everywhere or Classroom Clickers will be used to keep students engaged during lectures by allowing them to provide feedback.
  • Multimedia presentations will be used to connect content to student interest areas and connect content to popular culture.

Technology to Engage Students

Auditory

  • Audio CD/MP3/Pandora streams and more will be used to provide the classroom with positive, peaceful background music while students are working on tasks. Background music has been shown to establish a positive learning state, focus concentration, and increase attention.
  • Smart Board lessons will be designed with digital audio which plays on click.
  • Students will have access to lecture podcasts and audio book files to listen to as a class or individually with headphones.
  • Students will engage in debates, discussions, and interviews with students from other schools and other countries using Skype and voice/ip conferencing.

Visual

  • ELMO document cameras will be used to project texts as the teacher highlights and notates selections during reading.
  • Students will use Word to fill in graphic organizers and tables based on reading.
  • Students will plan writing using visual diagramming software such as Webspiration.

Tactile/Kinesthetic

  • Students will practice spelling, vocabulary, and grammar drills using IPads for tactile simulation.
  • Smart Board activities will be designed to allow students to manipulate data using touch.
  • Gaming consoles, such as wii, will be used to play interactive educational word games.

Affective

  • Students will participate in interactive blogs and discussion boards.
  • Students will monitor and give feedback to their peers via website, discussion boards, and class blogs.
  • Classroom and hallways will feature QR codes that allow students access to interesting websites related to displays.

Technology to Facilitate Student Expression

Auditory

  • Students will use sound editing software such as Audacity to create podcasts of oral presentations. Rather than just reporting information, they can use digital music files and sound editing software to compose their own songs.
  • Students will use digital recorders to conduct interviews with peers and experts such as local historians/authors for projects.

Visual           

  • Students will use drawing/Imaging software to create graphic representations of ideas and story boards to demonstrate knowledge of narrative forms.
  • Students will use digital cameras and internet resources to create photographic essays.

Tactile/Kinesthetic

  • Students will take online quizzes allowing them to click on buttons to select answers.
  • Students will use IPads, notebook computers, and desktop computers to use games and applications that test their knowledge on vocabulary, grammar, and more.
  • Students will create and present reports using interactive touch features on a Smart Board.
  • A DLP projector will enable students to interact the Smart Board from anywhere in the classroom.

Affective

  • Rather than creating research reports, students will use the internet to create web quests.
  • Students will work in groups to create video presentations; they will write, direct, film, produce, score, and edit their videos using digital recording devices and video editing software.
  • Students will put on plays in class and create set/backgrounds using digitally projected images.

The Global Classroom

Our classroom will not be limited to residing within the four walls of our school building; instead, our technology-enhanced classroom will allow students to learn with the benefits of a global classroom. Using Skype, discussion boards, email, and social networking, students will be able to work with other students around the globe to use their shared experiences to create diverse, collaborative projects. For example, when we read a book set in Japan, our class will use online video and online web tours to become truly immersed in the Japanese setting. Students will create web quests where they use the internet to compile websites, images, video, and audio that portray Japanese culture, customs, geography, and history. Teachers, authors, and other speakers will be invited to address the class via Skype. Students will be paired with students from schools in Japan to learn about the Japanese setting from students who experience it daily.

Content Mastery

My job as an educator is not to simply present information to my students, I must make sure that every student learns all of the information that is necessary to prepare them for their academic futures. To do this, I will teach for content mastery and make sure that every student masters everything that is taught. Whenever a student is having difficulty mastering some of the content from class, I will provide the students and their parents with an email containing suggestions and links to web resources. Sometimes, the best way for students to master content that requires multiple exposures is by using online applications such as flash cards, hang-man style games, and other flash games that help students learn concepts such as grammar and vocabulary. If students are having difficulty with reading quizzes, I will provide them with access to a variety of reading quizzes online so that they can practice answering questions. The key to content mastery is practice. However, continuing to practice concepts in the same way can become repetitive and boring. By using online games and gaming software, I can help students practice the same skills and concepts over and over without the materials becoming boring. I will look for software packages and online game memberships that include multi-user licenses so that students can log in and using gaming software from a variety of locations.

Not Just for Students

Technology can be used for much more than to help all students learn in the classroom. As I teacher, I will use technology to help me be the best, and most organized, educator possible. Students don't ever have to worry about me keeping track of their grades and assignments because all of their records will be kept using a secure online grade book that I can assess from anywhere. Rather than wasting valuable class time looking for links to websites or pulling up that perfect video, I will keep all of the my digital teaching tools on this website. I will also have the confidence of teaching my class each day knowing that I have designed my lesson plan based on a world full of experiences and resources found online through teacher exchanges. I will use a variety of software programs to create dynamic teaching aids such as interactive Smart Board lessons and attractive handouts created with Publisher.

Into the Future

The world of technology is an ever-changing place; therefore, my classroom will continue to change and develop as new technology is released. To stay current, I will read trade magazines, subscribe to technology news feeds, and attend conferences and conventions in my personal time. These efforts will help me develop professionally and help me to learn about the newest and latest technology available for implementation in the classroom. Of course, as with anything new, there will sometimes be bugs to work out. For this reason, I will make sure that I have spent time learning to use any new technology before introducing or recommending it to my students. Just as I teach them, I hope that my students will keep me informed on the new technologies they are using in their own lives so that I can find ways to incorporate their favorite technologies into the curriculum.