Fellow Bloggers! I learn from you too!

In this post I try to give credit where credit is due and give a shoutout to things I have learned from fellow blog posters. I picked the three best things I learned and a link to their blogs so you can check out what they had to say.

1. Need a must have extension? The Easy-Bib extension is marvelous! Citations are necessary because we must acknowledge and give credit for the work and thoughts we use. Back in the day I remember still having to crack open a book, look at a template and find the information I needed followed by formatting it properly. Easy Bib does that all for you with one click. It’s amazing it usually finds all of the information for you and automatically plugs it in for you! Thanks Heather for the tip! Read more on her blog! http://mathed-adventure.weebly.com/

2. Another fellow student talked about eco-consciousness and brilliantly laid out his thoughts and opinions about it. I never really thought about how much we waste and how much we can save doing simple things. He mentions that he wants to start a green-initiative. Essentially, what if schools simply stopped printing paper and did things more electronically? It made me think. This could easily be done. Students could access their files from a source online and download documents. Worst case scenario students could scan homework and email it. It would be possible to go completely paperless! Think about how much paper you would save! SO MANY TREES!! Good talk Jon Brumm. I salute you. https://jonedublog.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/eco-brain-picker/

3. My last shout out goes to Keri Treml. I learned about a cool website from her blog. Todaysmeet.com. According to Keri, “Todaysmeet is a free online discussion tool used in classrooms to make sure everybody’s voices and opinions are heard. Teachers can open and name “a room” and choose how long it is active for (a week, a day, or even a year). All students need is the name of the room and a web browsing device such as a smart phone, iPad or computer to join the discussion. In the URL they simply type http://www.todaysmeet.com/room name. Students can join the discussion using their real name or an anonymous nickname.” Pretty amazing if you ask me. What an inclusive tool! Instead of forcing students to participate and talk, this allows all students to participate (anonymously) and give their responses and thoughts. Shout out to Keri and her blog! http://keritreml.weebly.com/blog

Flipped out! Tools to flipping your classroom!

Flipping the classroom has become increasingly popular. For those that don’t know what it is, it simply means having instruction outside of the classroom and class time usually becomes structured work time. There will be two tools I will discuss that will help a teacher get started with flipping the classroom.

1. Screencastify. A google chrome extension that allows you to take a video of your screen. This is especially a bonus if you have a tablet PC. You can record all of your lectures as you write and make your work easier! The extension also features recording of audio so you won’t have to record a narration separately!

2. Edmodo.com is a great tool to use with flipped classrooms. Edmodo is a classroom management platform designed to facilitate learning in all directions. By that I mean it lets students ask questions to other students, teacher to student, parent to teacher, etc. In Edmodo you can create quizzes, send alerts, and manage a lot of your classroom. The online quizzes is the key thing here because students will be students (and adults aren’t any different) and getting the students to watch the lecture videos will take some motivation. That’s why quizzes after each video are a must in my opinion. If students aren’t watching the videos, your flipped classroom will flop. Not just flop. Crash and burn. And then students will complain that their grade stinks and you didn’t teach at all. (End off tangent rant).

Assessments can be fun!

For all you teachers, soon to be teachers, or presenters out there, I came across one magnificent app/website. Polleverywhere.com. In a brief explanation, this website allows someone to create polling questions and using any device (tablet, PC, smartphone) an audience simply types in the short website link (or use the app and type in a code) to go to the specific poll. There you can simply respond and results are posted live! Presenters can save results, lock answers, and so much more. The polls can feature multiple types of questions as well. Multiple choice, click an image type, as well as free response. Everything runs really smoothly. I have used this to teach a lesson on probability already and the students loved it! They didn’t even know they were being assessed since they probably couldn’t get over the fact they could use their phones in class without getting in trouble!

Here is a tutorial video if my blog post caught your attention.

STOP! SAMR TIME!

SAMR is a great educational technology model. SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. It is a framework through which you can assess and evaluate the technology you use in your classroom. I know in my classroom, SAMR will have an important part in my lessons. I personally am a big fan of google drive. Students will be able to obtain documents whenever, share links, or even create documents in my classroom. Everything will be accessible online! Students will be able to use their smart phone and tablets for a variety of things. One thing I am very excited about it is wonderful website called PollEverywhere. Students take their device and it essentially becomes a clicker! These polls will be great assessment tools for me and are sure to get students excited!

For more information about SAMR and what you can do with it here are a couple links!

http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/06/samr-model-explained-for-teachers.html

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/introduction-to-the-samr-model

http://gettingsmart.com/2013/07/using-samr-to-teach-above-the-line/

Fair, or is it Equal?

In education, the concept of inclusion is quickly on the rise. Education is rapidly evolving and schools are adjusting to fit the needs of others. In one of my education classes, a discussion brewed about assessments and inclusion. It is evident that certain students dominate summative assessments while other students atrociously fail them. As teachers, our job and ultimate goal is for students to learn the material. But what do we do to make tests fair and equal for all? If we give students all the same test it is equal, but it isn’t fair. What happens when a student fails an exam? Some schools have policies that you can take an exam over and over and over again until you get the grade you desire. Is that fair to the students that studied originally the first time? Some colleagues proposed giving students options such as giving students the choice between a project or a test. Personally, I feel for the students that struggle taking exams for I have always been a slow test taker and rarely do I ever finish an exam on time leaving me frustrated and with a lower grade. I don’t believe we should reward students with infinite opportunities because while they are there to learn, isn’t their ultimate goal to be prepared for the real world in the future? Everyone deserves a second chance. However, we need to teach students to be obedient as bad as that sounds. Things will be expected out of them, but I firmly believe in re-do’s and test corrections. As a math teacher candidate I personally would let them do corrections once and get up to 80% on an exam. What do you think about this whole situation? What is fair? What is equal? Hmm….

Photo Editing is a Blast!

cactus-04Wow! It’s amazing what kind of photo editing tools we have today and how much they are able to accomplish. Within minutes I was able to take a dry dessert and change the background and theme easily. This photo has a new personality to it. Originally I had the idea of turning the desert background from a mid-day theme to a night theme, but as I was playing around with Picmonkey, and fooled around with the settings, I ended up with this “masterpiece”. It almost looks like a hybrid of night time and an underwater theme, which presents irony and I think that’s pretty cool. Therefore I present to you, Sea-Cacti.

Technology Experimentation

Good teachers are innovative and always learning or experimenting. Technology has been such a rapidly evolving thing in society today to a point it is impossible to up to date on everything. However, there is technology out there that recently intrigued me. It’s video casting software, specifically Google’s Chromecast or Apple TV. This technology allows you to use your smart phone, tablet, or computer to “cast” things to a television and instantly turns your television into a smart TV. Being a clever individual I can think of significantly more ways to use this, which is why I’m excited to get my hands on this. Certain ideas in mind would be casting slideshows to a projector. I could find a very cheap alternative to a SMRT Board simply by having a tablet and a Chromecast. How cool is that?