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Capstone Project



In the Kidspiration project, we were assigned to create an activity using the graphic organizer software. I chose to do a graphic web using simple questions, greetings, and responses that beginning Spanish students need to know. The web organizer had the material written in English. The directions asked the students to change to the writing application to do their assignment. The directions told the students to translate all of the English text in the organizer into Spanish. The students needed to be very aware of their accents, spelling, conjugation, punctuation, and formality. This task allowed the students to become more skilled in the simple questions and greetings of Spanish while using new technology at the same time. 

I believe that my activity will be very useful in my future classroom. I would use this activity when preparing for a quiz or test over the general greetings and phrases that the students need to know. I would use this in any beginning Spanish class starting at the middle school level. It would be the most beneficial to the students if they were able to access Kidspiration in a lab so that all of them would have the opportunity to work at the same time. However, I would expect them to work on this assignment individually. With access to a lab, after going through the Kidspiration tutorial, I would have the students access this assignment and upon completion save it on a disk so that I would be able to grade them later. I would have my students do this activity to assess their progress in the covered areas. I also think it would work great as a practice quiz and that it would also benefit their writing skills.

Some other types of activities that I could develop would include different variations of students Spanish vocabulary. I think this would be a very successful tool to use when assessing students on their vocabulary. I could also create something using the listening tool so that the students could record their own pronunciation of Spanish words. This would make it very easy to see how well students are handling the pronunciation of words. Also, this program could be used to have students construct a family tree using Spanish. The family is something that is covered in all beginning Spanish classes and using Kidspiration to display their knowledge would be very different.

It is very beneficial to using concept mapping for teaching and learning for several reasons. Primarily, even if the students are given the same topic and asked to create a concept map about it each one is going to be different. Concept mapping allows students to put down their individual ideas without being ridiculed for having the wrong idea. I have seen how shy students really come out by being able to write down their own ideas instead of having to say them out loud. Secondly, concept mapping is a great way for teachers to help keep their studnets organized. Not only does it keep physical space neater because there are not pages and pages of notes flying around, but it helps to keep thoughts neat as well. Once things have been written down in a map people tend to remember them that way. Finally, concept mapping is beneficial because it is a break away from notes and lectures. These maps allow students to think individually an creatively about a topic they are studying.

Of course with benefits always come barriers. One of the barriers of using concept mapping would be the lack of technology to use the Kidspiration/Inspiration software. It is very simple to run students through the computer guided tutorial and then let them loose on the machines. On the other hand, it would be very time consuming to explain all of this verbally and then try to teach students about concept mapping by hand. Another barrier to using concept mapping concerns students' learning styles. Some students might not learn anything at all from putting information in a concept map. It is hard to address each students' learning in the classroom. 

I think that if you have access to the technology you should use the concept mapping software rather than pencil and pens to create your maps. I think Kidspiration would be much more fun for students to use than paper and pens. I know I would have had so much fun using this software had it been available when I was in grade school. Also, the technology allows the students to be more creative with their work by using different colors, fonts, and pictures. It is so much less time consuming for a student to insert clip art into their page rather than take the time to draw the same picture by hand. 

I think that LoTi levels 2 through possibly 4 or 5 could be achieved using Inspiration or Kispiration. I would say that the activity that I created would be at a LoTi level 2 becasue it is teacher directed and they are given the sentances that I want them to work with. That said, I think that older students could do amazing things on their own by using this software at a LoTi level of 4 or 5. For and end of course assignment, teachers could allow students to do a project on any topic covered during that year. This would give students an opportunity to use whatever software they choose to present all of their material. I am quite certain that these students would want to pass something out to the class and an outline of their project would do just the trick.

I cannot believe that I have never even seen Inspirtation before this class. I am horrible at constructing my own outlines and plan to use this software to help me do so in my classes at UGA. I think Inspirtation would be a great help in the organization of my thoughts around exam time as well. Things always get so hectic towards the end of the semester and it would be nice to have a program available to sort out my thoughts and facts for each class. I am also getting close to student teaching and these products would be perfect to use to create a worksheet or an activity for my students. Not only would this be teaching them something and giving them work to do, but it would show me first hand how useful Inspiration can be in a classroom setting.