Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Assessment Options

There is an argument that the only type of assessments that are objective are tests. This statement is not necessarily true. There are so many different ways to evaluate a student's learning. Many assessments can give much more insight to what a student has gained than the traditional test.

Several examples of alternative assessments are projects, ongoing journals, blog posts, electronic portfolios, participation in simulations and labs, discussions, integrated response systems (CBLs), and teacher observation. It is sometimes more difficult to evaluate these forms of assessment in an objective way, but that is when rubrics come in handy. A rubric has stated objectives with varied levels of mastery so that it is very clear what is being evaluated. When a teacher is specific in what they are looking for in a student's learning it becomes possible to use a multitude of assessments and still grade objectively.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Technology Infused Classrooms

A technology infused classroom has technology readily available to promote learning. The teacher knows what is available, the students are taught how to use technology to enhance learning, and the technology facilitates rather than distracts from learning.

The teacher is aware of technology resources within the school and is trained on how to use them to aid learning. The teacher uses the internet for lesson planning, participates in discussion boards with other teachers who use technology, and keeps her training up-to-date in the latest technologies such as calculators, probing devices, SMART board, and handhelds to name a few.

Students in a technology infused classroom are aware of what technologies the school has to offer and can apply those technologies to their learning. When students are learning through discovery they conduct research online, use tools to collect data, and collaborate electronically.

The technology used in a technology infused classroom does not distract from learning. Instead the technology takes students virtually outside of the classroom and provides opportunities for exploration. The technology makes processes faster and learning more engaging.

In my technology infused classroom, I will take students on online tours, provide tutorials electronically, allow students to use the internet to discover why the topic we are learning is important, have students keep blog journals, and use technology tools to explore concepts.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Visual Literacy and the Internet in the Classroom

How can visual literacy and the use of the Internet impact the teaching and learning process in the classroom?
Learners of the 21st century seem to be very visually oriented due to the increase in visual stimuli such as television, computers, and other visual technology. Using visual literacy in the classroom will help students remember and learn because it accesses a part of their brains that pure semantic (reading, writing, and symbolic) methods do not. Visual literacy as a part of education is also crucial because it prepares students for the workforce which is and will continue to rely on visual technologies.
The internet has a tremendous impact on student learning today. The internet provides access to teaching and networking tools. Some examples of teaching tools are WebQuests, virtual field trips, research, and publication. Networking tools include wikis, blogs, email, and discussion boards to name a few. All these tools facilitate learners of the 21st century by requiring higher level thinking, communication, and collaborative skills.
What are some visual-thinking strategies you would like to use in your classroom?
In my math classroom I love using concept maps. I use flow charts, bubble maps, spider maps, and foldables. I think this helps students organize information in a visual way and helps store it to long term memory. I would also like to incorporate a word and conept wall next year that will include real life pictures of careers and applications of the math we are studying.
What role do you want the Internet play in your classroom?
I would like to use the internet more in my classroom. Currentlly, I only use it to show video tutorials, demonstrate how to use a graphing calculator, occassionally email students, and allow students to practice math concepts on interactive sites. I would like to use it more to go on virtual field trips and plan for problem based learning using WebQuests. I think I am also going to have students keep a blog and have them respond to a journal prompt each week regarding the topic we are studying.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Why Use Varying Learning Strategies

The brain learns in so many ways. Brain research says that we remember better when more than one memory lane is accessed. There are semantic (words and symbols), episodic (environment based), procedural (learn by doing), and emotional memory lanes and emotional has the most impact. Just think of a time when you were really frustrated and angry and had to go to school; what were you thinking about? Probably not the lesson. When using a variety of instructional strategies, teachers are more likely to access more memory lanes.
Content has to have purpose and meaning if we are going to commit it to memory. Teachers need to be sure to give content those things and using different instructional strategies is key. Technology is very helpful in reaching several learning styles. For example a musical learner can learn from educational songs on YouTube, a naturalist can do research online on how math, science and English can be used to preserve the environment, an interpersonal person can discuss their learning with others via a blog.
I have already started making plans on how to be a more effective teacher by incorporating a variety of learning strategies in my room and using technology to aid in my teaching. I believe that my students will be more excited to learn and come to school because they know their strengths will be valued.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Incorporate Multiple Intelligences into Education

Gardner's seven multiple intelligences theory claims that everyone has different strengths and their intelligence is made up of a mixture of the seven intelligences. As a teacher it is helpful to know what students' strengths are when planning lessons so that the lesson reaches the students in the best possible mode. Capitalizing on the multiple intelligences can be fun and make learning more meaningful. For example you can mix spatial and intrapersonal when you have students work in groups to create a physical representation of the content they are learning. Logical/mathematical and bodily/kinesthetic can be combined when you ask students to act out a math problem.