Sunday, October 26, 2014

Assistive Technology: "Necessary for some, good for all"

       As I finish my learning module on Assistive Technology, I am to reflect on the quote above. I resonate with this quote because I acknowledge that everyone learns differently and it is up to the teacher to show the same lesson in a variety of different ways in order to "hook" the students. I have quite a few non identified students who definitely need extra care so why do I need to spend more time with my identified students when I know there are plenty more who need it too? This is where technology comes in. In my board, we are lucky enough to have google apps for education for all students and staff. I am definitely taking advantage of it this year with all my students. Yes assistive technology is great, but why only for some? Everyone should benefit! Of course some programs and software are not available to everyone but this is why I like to look at web 2.0 tools to find something similar so that all students can benefit. That way, not only am I not getting confused because everyone is using something different, but also the students can use their app/program to their comfort zone.

     Another thing that I think benefits the students is the ability to give them a choice on how they want to be assessed. If they need to do an oral presentation, they can record themselves and show a video, they can use software that they know (ie. powerpoint, slide rocket, slides etc.) or they can do the traditional way of standing up in front of the class and presenting. Just because a student doesn't feel comfortable standing up in front of others, does not make them less intelligent from the next child.

      This module really reminds me of the new show called "Canada's Smartest Person". This show tests contestants on their multiple intelligences and really shows that people are smart in their own way. I have downloaded the app for my students and they test themselves on a daily basis. They become so confident when they see where they lie in their "smarts". One student came up to me and told me she scored 100% in social smarts... She tries extremely hard in class but doesn't get the best marks. I told her that she will rock when she gets older because many jobs need people with social skills. This in turn makes her more confident and everyone goes home happy.

      As much as I know that there are students with learning difficulties, I really try and make a point to offer the same things to everyone also so that the IEP'd student is not singled out as well. Ive had students in the past who refused to work on their SEA equipment because they didn't want to look different than the rest of the students. I don't blame them. As much as it helps them, it sometimes ruins their self-concept. At least with everyone working on the same device, the students who use an extra program or need extra time are not so self conscious with their work because no one is the wiser.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Reflection of Learning Module 1

As mentioned in a previous post, I am taking a computers course to upgrade my qualifications for my career.  We have been asked to reflect on what we have learned/saw throughout the first module. We read an article about computer labs versus a couple computers in the classroom and found that labs are more effective because everyone is learning at the same time.  I would have to agree not only for the learning but also for the teacher to be able to give instructions once (ok twice... lets be real here!)
If I had students at a centre who constantly need my assistance to use the computers, I would go nuts!
Moving on, we looked at our school and board computer policies where I think for the most part, they are up-to-date but need a little tweaking in the future to be applied to students who hack into or are very advanced in their skills.  If the administrator does not know a lot about technology, how advanced is the policy?

Moving on, we looked at web 2.0 tools.  I use them a lot but I get very stressed when I can't use them all.  I have a tendency to need to be an expert on all things technology because staff members are always asking me how to do things but it is impossible with the amount of tools popping up daily! This portion of the course was a bit of a review for me as I have tried to use many of the available websites mentioned. I liked how it was differentiated though to apply to different levels because as I feel very comfortable with sites like edmodo, or blogger, others do not.  In part one of Integration of technology in the classroom, because it was in class, we looked at a different web 2.0 site in depth.  It allowed me to play and then plan how I was going to use it the next day in class.  This item around, I was able to take a look at geogebra to tackle how I am going to teach geometry in math with a paperless classroom.  Win, win for me! I had been meaning to do that anyways! I think that is also why I took this course.  To "force" me to take the time to look for new things!

Next post, I am going to attempt a math quiz with google forms.. Not course related but stay tuned for my pros and cons!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Make a form for Parental communication

I was on google plus this evening and my board has a lot of technology posts that I fall behind with reading.  I happen to read this post on creating a google form so that each time you speak with a parent, you can fill out the response and keep tabs on who you spoke to and the reason!
All I can say is FANTASTIC!!! I for one will be using this technique considering I will be evaluated next year and my communication binder is non existent!
Basically you create the form to say date and time you spoke to the parent, then you can fill out the reason, who called whom, next steps etc!

Just needed to share this because I love it! Oh and if you want to see a live link, click here

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Reflection is part of your work

I am taking another course and this time it is my part 2 of computers in the classroom.  Not only will be I writing about my classroom, but I will be reflecting on various texts that I am required to read for this course.  That way, I can share with you my thoughts.  The first reflection is from the article Another Reason to Blog; Proactive Through Reflection by George Couros who talks about blogging as a way of narrowing your ideas and focusing on one thing.  I find this extremely important in my life because technology is changing soo much and its easy to get caught up in wanting to implement something in your classroom but then before you become confident in your practice, another concept is introduced.  

While I find that keeping a blog/journal of your daily initiatives would be helpful, I find at times I become overwhelmed with the daily grind and the last thing I want to do at times is to write about it.  What I did find useful in this post was that George seems to blog during the day as his students are.  That has given me a new perspective because I always feel guilty when I am not 100% focused on the students but yet we are trying to model how to do certain things and why not take the time when teaching students to blog their reflections to do the same?  After all, "reflection is part of your work!" This way, hopefully I will be able to become more organized with respect to which apps will benefit my classroom more rather than knowing the most apps possible and not having vision as to how I will use them in the classroom.