Technology in the classroom mindmap

I created a mindmap using Webspiration and it shows visually how technology can aid all forms of instruction in the classroom. My visual representation lists the following as just some of the ways that technology can be helpful and enhance instruction:
-Can enhance creativity
-Can help students recognize, represent, and organize content area material
-Can motivate students
-Can provide a collaborative tool between students, teachers, and the community
-Speaks to different learning styles
-Gives more opportunity for feedback and reflection
-Makes it impossible to share and gather information easily
-Engages students in learning
-Helps students connect to the world

You can access my mindmap as a webpage at Technology in the Classroom Mindmap

Published in: |on July 14th, 2009 |Comments Off on Technology in the classroom mindmap

Using visuals and image editing to aid in learning

Thinking and learning visually can strengthen a student’s understanding of content area material as well as help them to tap into their critical thinking skills. I explored three resource tools that could be used in the classroom in a myriad of ways and engage and motivate students in the learning process.

MapSkip is an online tool that allows users to tell a story and relate it to a place. This could be used in many content areas, but my thoughts were of using it in an English class to help with writing skills or as a storytelling aid. Students don’t have to be limited to their own lives, but could use mapskip in their creative writing as well.

I had loads of fun playing with ToonDoo. It is a site that allows your creativity to blossom. Students can create cartons to help them learn concepts in different ways and by using cartoons they can demonstrate their understanding if a subject or instructional objective. I thought of using this tool in a history classroom and students could create historical cartoons, but it could be used in a variety of subject areas and would definitely keep students engaged, it is also funa dn easy to use.

Tikatok is a tool that allows students to create their own books and stories. This can be used to foster self confidence as well as creativity as student creations become “published.” What a great way for students to become involved in how they learn and receive a polished finished product in return.

Published in: |on July 14th, 2009 |Comments Off on Using visuals and image editing to aid in learning

United Streaming

I just finished exploring United Streaming and have found yet another great tool to use in the classroom. I am very excited to continue to explore it now that I have a trial membership and utilize the resources it offers. Searching for appropriate content is easy and organized by subject so that you can find what you need to enhance a lesson at the click of a button. The videos and other articles and resources are catchy, interesting and align with curriculum standards. I found a great video about the eight parts of speech that would definitely add to a Language Arts lesson and I was also impressed with the number of writing prompts that were offered as well. I am still attempting to embed a video that I found about copyright into a power point presentation but have not been successful yet–I will figure it out though- I am determined. United Streaming: yet another tool to enhance classroom learning!

Published in: |on June 23rd, 2009 |Comments Off on United Streaming

Tools and Ideas: Google Earth & Mashups

I am still amazed at the level of technology that is out there.  Google Earth is a tremendous site and tool, and until I learned a little more about it, I didn’t realize just how useful of a tool it could be in the classroom.  I have used it before with my eight-year-old son to track Santa’s journey on Christmas Eve through Norad, and I did notice how involved he became with the information available for each city and country Santa visited, but I honestly never thought about how well this would translate in the classroom.  I was blown away by the Google Lit site, when students are engaged in a lesson they learn- especially when they can get to do hands-on things like follow a book’s plot and characters through their journey- they learn more completely and have fun doing it.  Google Lit takes the information on the page and makes it real to the students, reinforcing their learning as they follow the book.  Because Google Earth can be utilized in many ways and subjects in the classroom, it will enhance student learning–what a great time to be a Geography or Science teacher—but all subjects can benefit, History can come alive and  Math can become more real.  I am still learning what I can about Mashups but I feel that they, as well, can be an important tool to fuel student creativity.  I saw one on the 7 wonders of the World that was pretty creative, but they could also be used for a myriad of things…maybe in a Literature class to track all of the cities and countries that were virtually traveled to in stories, or in an Ecology class to pinpoint global warming spots or endangered habitats.  I will definitely play around with these tools and figure out how to combine them in the curriculum.

Published in: |on June 19th, 2009 |Comments Off on Tools and Ideas: Google Earth & Mashups


I recently visited The Education Podcast Network and was absolutely blown away. There were so many high quality and relevant podcasts that could be used in the classroom- it was almost overwhelming. Here are few that I thought would definitely enhance the curriculum…

Bobby Bucket’s Bucket of Books —this podcast is catchy and very professionally compiled, Bobby has a fantastic personality and he gathers books to read for each podcast-each on a different subject. He also offers reading strategies along with the stories. This would be a fantastic tool to use in an elementary class or library. In the library, I would use it to supplement book talks and readings, and maybe even play the podcast as children peruse the stacks. There are quite a few other book reading podcasts on this site that are also worthy, including one from Pinky Dinky Doo from Sesame Street.

SHAKESPodosphEARE —is a wonderfully narrated podcast that offers reading from Shakespeare. It would be a great tool to use alongside a study of Shakespeare.

Just Vocabulary —is a podcast that offers two new vocabulary words a day, with context and definitions. This could be worked into a warmup before class begins or even offered on the class website to encourage vocabulary building skills.

Grammar Grater —is a neat way to teach grammar skills to students. It offers a dialogue that involves the use of bad grammar and how to fix it. Again it could be used as a supplement to grammar lessons, as a warmup activity or offered on the class website.

Gardner Writes —This podcast deals more with college level English, but as I was surfing the podcasts, I came across some by an old professor of mine from UMW, Dr. Campbell. He is probably one of the most brilliant and technologically savvy professors I have ever had (aside from Dr. Coffman)- so I’ll give him a plug.

Unfortunately this week is not allowing too much time to create my own podcast, however another class I am taking requires a book talk in the form of a podcast so as the semester moves on, one will eventually appear on my web portfolio. Meanwhile I will keep brainstorming about the many ways to incorporate podcasts into the classroom environment.

Published in: |on June 19th, 2009 |Comments Off on Podcasting

Tapped In: Web 2.0

I was able to sit in and actually contribute to my second Tapped In session tonight. I attended the Web 2.0 discussion and enjoyed it so much I have joined the group and will try to check back often and attend their monthly sessions. If you haven’t visited the Web 2.0 room yet, you must, it is an amazing additional resource especially for this class. The room has many free sites listed that would be useful in the classroom and each month, the group walks through a few new sites and discusses how to use them with students. Tonight we visited a site that allows you to post to a wall (kind of like post it notes) . One good idea discussed was to open a wall for students to post the books they read over the summer. We also visited two photo enhancing sites which look like fabulous tools, LunaPic and Be Funky . Tweeter sheep was also a neat tool to use with Twitter, though I need to play around with it some more. If you go there type in tappedinorg and see what happens! I would definitely suggest joining in on one of the Web 2.0 group sessions in Tapped In- especially after this class is over, it will offer even more insight into what technology tools would work in the classroom. And I promise everyone is extremely friendly and helpful no matter your technological expertise.

For fun, check out this screenwasher (the URL was thrown out there during the discussion-very funny!)
Wash your computer screen!

Published in: |on June 18th, 2009 |Comments Off on Tapped In: Web 2.0

Using Screencasts in the Classroom

Screencasts are recordings of a computer screen with narration by audio or notes. They can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom by teachers and students, and are fairly easy to create. Teachers can create tutorials for students and post them online so that students have access to these how-to-do-it presentations whenever they need them. Screencasts can be created using any computer program, so in Excel, math or science students can create tutorials on how to solve problems, while in a Word program, English students could have their papers graded or reviewed. While searching the internet, virtual tours could be given with voice overs, and students work can be polished and published as well. There are amazing possibilities with this technology and as I said it is not hard to create a screencast. I can’t wait to explore all of the possibilities as I make my way into the classroom. The screencast that I created was about using charts in Excel and can be accessed through my web portfolio’s URL in the links column, or through this link…

How to create & format a chart in Excel

Published in: |on June 12th, 2009 |Comments Off on Using Screencasts in the Classroom

VoiceThread URL and Reflection

After reviewing sites on fair use and internet safety, I created a 5 slide Power Point Presentation filled with the information that I felt was most pertinent.  I must say it was extremely difficult to compress the information that is out there on both of these subjects into 5 slides, but I did my best.  I also was able to get an introduction to VoiceThread, an interactive online tool that lets people upload and share presentations and pictures and comment on them through text or voice threads.  What a neat experience!  I found this technology pretty easy to use–it was very user friendly and easy to edit and add comments.  I only added text comments  because I dislike the sound of my voice, but adding voice comments seems to be just as easy.  I look forward to seeing other classmate’s comments in action and using this technology in the future.  I can see that it would be quite useful in the classroom, especially in our multimedia age,  because it is so easy to comment on the pictures, presentations and documents that are uploaded, and also because of the ease of sharing these presentations so others can comment.  Very neat tool!  Here’s the link to VoiceThread-comment away!

Fair Use & Internet Safety on VoiceThread

Published in: |on June 5th, 2009 |Comments Off on VoiceThread URL and Reflection

Tapped in: Reflection of Tips and Tricks

I just finished my tips and tricks session at Tapped In and I must say…wow! What an amazing resource and site. The facilitator for our session was wonderful, patient, and informative. She showed us just how easy it was to navigate the site and “get around” to the different rooms. The way that the site is set up makes it feel like a virtual campus and the resources available throughout are invaluable. I especially appreciate the emphasis on making people feel real online with the use of IDs and private offices. I haven’t had time yet to navigate and play around too much but I can’t wait to try on what I learned in the introductory session and see all that Tapped In has to offer. The K-12 campus is great and I think it could be a fantastic resource in introducing students to the online environment. Tapped In gives new meaning to using the Internet as a resource and is a professional development tool that I can see myself using often throughout my career. Can’t wait to try out another session!

Published in: |on May 30th, 2009 |Comments Off on Tapped in: Reflection of Tips and Tricks

Technology Integration

I believe that technology integration means that all types of technologies are used effectively in order to enhance content area learning as well as teach students how to use technology in proper and efficient ways. It engages students in their learning and allows them to experience the curriculum in an active way. Technology integration is not just about using computers, rather about using all different forms of technology to engage learning. It can involve using a smart board to activate learning and get students to participate, the use of blogs as a collaborative tool that gets students, teachers, and even parents involved in what is being taught, or using a podcast to deliver content. It could also involve using the internet as a regular tool and allowing students to go on virtual field trips, research information for a given activity, or even communicate through a class wiki. No matter how it is used, effective technology integration is a crucial part of today’s educational environment.

Published in: |on May 21st, 2009 |1 Comment »