As we round the corner into week 10 of Winter quarter, the class is coming to a close and with it is the final blog post. Throughout this course, we’ve learned about a lot of really awesome technologies, applications, and websites that we as teachers can use to invigorate lessons and help propel our students into the 21st century. I’d like to talk about my favorite technologies that we’ve learned about during this course and how I might be able to incorporate them into my classroom in the future.
Evernote.com is a great website and application that is minimal in design but maximum in capability. Note-taking becomes an absolute breeze using Evernote and organizing thoughts become much more user-friendly instead of being a hurdle in itself. While I would like to teach physics in high school, I don’t think I would allow my students to use computers to take notes unless they need special accommodations, but I would recommend my students use this application for other classes and for research projects.
Writing is an incredibly important skill for everyone, whether you are a student or not. I highly recommend this easy to use and non-invasive Internet browser plug-in. Grammarly gives instant feedback to the user on grammar mistakes, misspelled words, and suggestions for better wording. It is compatible with most web pages and can be used with client side programs for a small fee. In a time where many people pay little attention to the words they choose and the things they say, Grammarly helps to make sure you’re getting the most out of the letters you type.
Distractions are common throughout our daily lives. Sometimes silence promotes procrastination. With Noisli.com, you can add a bit of ambient noise to your studying or to your relaxation time. Some people work very well with a bit of ambient noise around them. Ambient noise often helps me to get into a productive mood and tends to help me stay focused on the task at hand. This website is easy to use and the ambient noises are easy to add, subtract, and mix to your liking. This website is great for productivity and I would recommend everyone, not only my students, to try it out.
I’ve learned this quarter that there are many technologies that are available for teachers to use. By evaluating the standards of this class, I’ve learned how to choose which applications I’d like to use and which ones will best suit the needs of my students in the future. I believe I will go on from this class as a much more successful user and teacher of technology and its uses.
This website is amazing. At Noisli.com, the user can listen to ambient sound tracks as background noise. I find that this type of ambient noise is very helpful for boosting productivity as well as relaxation. With a bit of tuning, you can get a very soothing background track to use during studying time, classroom time, or nap time. I definitely recommend checking this website out.
Newsela.com is a website dedicated to making news accessible to anyone, with any reading level, in multiple languages. No longer does a student have to have a certain reading level to understand the events that are taking place around the world. This can help younger students gain access to the global community at a younger age. I really like this one.
I’ve been using Evernote.com for a few years now. This notetaking platform is easy to use, incredibly intuitive, and completely non-invasive. I can open up a new note and drop in a few ideas, add .pdfs, images, etc. all in moments. Gone are the days that I forget a few lines of poetry I came up with during a 12-hour drive from Wyoming to California or forget that tasty recipe I found at the supermarket earlier in the day. Evernote is a versatile platform and I’ve even used it to take notes in some of my undergrad courses. I highly recommend checking it out.
Is Anybody Listening? The recent economic crisis affected people in America on many different levels. In the video by Village Academy High School students, economics can affect students in ways that can hinder their academic achievement. The students in the video gave their testaments on the hardships of the crisis and I would hope that someday, no students have to endure what they, and I, did during that time.
This week, we were introduced to a number of in class technologies. These include: Grammarly, Venngage, Quizzizz, and WriteAbout.
Let’s start with Grammarly. Grammarly offers an in-browser add on that gives real time spell and grammar check by giving smart suggestions about what the author intended. I think this technology should be incorporated into everyone’s browsers as long as they take the time to read the description of the check and understand why the grammar was incorrect.
Venngage allows the user to create infographic pages with a very simple user interface. There are a lot of built in features, such as the feature that allows for the creation of custom charts, maps, tables, etc. I think Venngage is a hassle free tool for creating very simple infographics.
Quizzizz is an alternative to the popular Kahoot.it. I’ve used Kahoot in other classes before and I have had a lot of success with its use. The main difference between the two platforms is that Quizzizz lets each student answer every question at their own pace as long as the entire quiz is finished in the allotted amount of time. I think I will definitely consider incorporating Quizzizz into some future presentations or lessons.
The World is Flat! Well I’m sure that most people realize that physically, the Earth is roughly spherical but within the realm of globalization, mountains, valleys, hills, oceans, etc. are all being flattened into one global playing field. Thomas L. Friedman at his Yale presentation gave an in depth discussion of the first few chapters of his new book on the globalization of the world and how it has changed the international scene.
Friedman goes on to explain how the current era of globalization has the individual and small groups as the agents of globalization. He believes that the flattening of the world has happened overnight, just at the beginning of the 21st century. Not only has it happened overnight but everyone in the world now has access to the global market of interconnectedness.
The movement towards globalization can be graphed in accordance with some international events that shaped the changing playing field. Friedman describes the fall of the Berlin Wall as the first big flattener. Then, the invention of the Internet browser was the next big flattener. The third flattener was the advancement of “workflow.” This is described as the processes that companies and individuals use to manage their global identity and dealings through computer applications.
Collaboration is at an all time high in the world because of all the different technologies that are now available to almost everyone in the world. Because of this access and ability to collaborate so effectively, this video deals very well with the idea of being a digital citizen, which is in line with the ISTE Teacher and Student standards on Digital Citizenship. It is becoming more and more important to understand the digital landscape on which we travel so that we can be effective members and users of online communities. Teachers have an obligation to their students to teach them how to use these resources to their fullest extent in the most ethical ways possible so that we can maintain a positive global interconnectedness as we travel into the unknown future of technology.
I identify as a Digital Native. pure and simple, I grew up surrounded by the digital world and have grown with the technology. I believe the terms Digital Native and Immigrant are great analogues for the experiences that either person can or have had. I feel like I’ve been born into the digital age where some people are still migrating into it.
As I strive to become a teacher, being a Digital Native is going to be much more important to me. I have unique experiences with digital technology and I can use that experience to educate others. Networking, finding new information, collaborating with others, etc., are all becoming much easier to accomplish and to work on because of the interconnectedness of the internet.
Hand Held Student Device:
If my students had access to a hand-held device that had the same capabilities as a smart phone, I could incorporate its use into my classroom. I would enjoy the opportunity to integrate applications, search functions, note taking, etc. into my classroom because, honestly, outside of the classroom we use smart devices so much that it would be beneficial for students to learn how to use their devices responsibly and productively.
Online services like the Google applications makes collaboration with peers and other students much more convenient and can make that collaboration much more effective. Quick access from anywhere allows collaborators to add, edit, and provide feedback instantaneously. The integration of cloud storage gives easy access to these collaborative efforts for presentations in practically any setting.
My personal experience with Google Slides, Sheets, and Drive have allowed me to work with others in a manner that was convenient for myself but for everyone else in the group. The fact that these services are free allows anyone with internet access the same ease to collaborate in real time from almost anywhere. The user interfaces are often straightforward and are easy to learn and use.
Implementation of similar collaborative technologies is very important to me as a teacher because I want my students to work together as much as possible. It is important for students to get the experience of working in a group so that they are prepared for future jobs and classes.
This past week, we were introduced to Rubistar and Flashcard Machine. Rubistar allows anyone to create a very simple rubric for grading projects, presentations, and other types of student work. Rubistar makes it easy on the teacher by autofilling the different grading criteria after choosing what each criteria should be. Flashcard Machine allows students and teachers to make online flashcards that can be shared and accessed anywhere. Even though I don’t typically use flashcards when I study, many people find them to be beneficial and that is enough for me to pass the information on to my students.
My favorite Cool Tool introduced this past week was Scholly. There are many people that are in need of financial support in order to afford school and Scholly provides those people with a very easy way to search for scholarships that are applicable to them. I plan to use it myself and introduce it to not only my students, but also to my friends.
The 21st Century learner is shaping up to be different than what a learner has been since the beginning of history. The world of education is moving in more “unconventional” directions but that does not mean that education is moving in the wrong direction. Access to technology, being able to communicate almost instantly, and changes in the way we understand how we learn as humans are all moulding the landscape of education to encompass a much more broad scope. Since we have so many new tools, we have many opportunities to put these things to the test in classrooms and out. The biggest change in the makeup of a learner is the expectations we have of learners in the 21st Century. There are so many bits of information, skills, and nuances that are listed in curriculums, standardized tests, and elsewhere that there ends up being a lot of pressure to succeed. While this is true that there are so many more things to learn, I believe we have the capability to do so as long as we take the time to do it right.
I want to quickly mention FreeRice.com and their mission to feed hungry people across the world through education. I believe it is very important in this day and age to have a sense of global community and to understand the hardships that other people endure and the privileges with sometimes take for granted. I will be very inclined to introduce my students to these ideas and turn them on to ways that they can help make this world a better place to live for everyone.