Using Spreadsheets/Databases in the Classroom

February 24, 2010

Though spreadsheets and databases look similar in format, they are used for very different reasons. They both are used to collect information. The information is arranged in columns and rows.

Spreadsheets:
In a spreadsheet the information is numerical. Spreadsheets are used to arrange numerical data so that it can be manipulated in some sort of calculation. Spreadsheets use formulas to manipulate the data. Once the data is organized and arranged, the data can also be presented using graphs and tables with a spreadsheet. The relative advantage of using a spreadsheet is that the motivation of the student is increased, especially in math class. They are able to see a more visual aspect of an abstract topic. They are also able to change the data and see updated information without having to redo the calculations on the calculator. (Roblyer)

Databases:
Databases are similar to spreadsheets in format, but the information that can be inputted into a database is different. With a database, you are able to inter numbers, text, pictures and other information about a record. Databases are built on the premise that data about one subject should be found in one place. Also that you should be able to look at a portion of a record, compare information in records and compare records to each other. The relative advantage of a database is that students are able to access information in one place easier. They are also able to do inquire searches on information that has been collected with effectiveness and ease. (Thorsen)

Thorsen, C. (2009). Techtactics: Technology for teachers (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson.
Roblyer, M.D., & Doering, A. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.

Advertisements

Relative Advantage of Using Software in the Classroom

February 17, 2010

The use of software in the classroom has many advantages. One such advantage is that teachers are able to individualize the instruction easier. Students are able to use tutorial software to concentrate on areas that they are weak in. This is especially helpful at my school. We are an alternative school. Students who are here are missing needed skills or they have been out of school for long periods of time and are behind. With tutorial software, the teacher is able to incorporate time where the student can get on the computer and review or learn missing information.

Another advantage is that students are more excited about learning so they are willing to participate. Many of my students are not self-motivated. They come into our program discouraged and academically depressed. With software integration, I am able to use applications that are exciting to the student and create real-world relationships.

Although software integration is a wonderful thing, it is hard finding the right software for the job. I have purchased many types of software, just to discover that it is not what I wanted or it is not useful to me. Doing this research, I discovered that there are places that actually tell you how to evaluate software before you by it. In the article, Load ‘Em Up: The Best Software in the Education World!, you will find a rating process that is useful when you are deciding what software to buy.(Star)  There is also a checklist http://wps.prenhall.com/wps/media/objects/2448/2507611/Volume_medialib/IAF03.PDF

 published by Pearson Education that gives you a set of essential qualities that you should look for when you are looking for educational software. Some of the things you should look for are age level, time requirements and the cost of the software among others.(Glencoe)

Though there is not system that is going to allow you to choose the correct software that will fit all situations, there is enough information and software available to allow you to have fun looking for the right fit.

References

Star, Linda. “Load ‘Em Up: The Best Software in the Education World!”. Education World, October 2001

Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. “Evaluating Software for the Classroom”. Teaching Today, December 2003

Essential Questions for Technology Integration

February 6, 2010

What do you do, if you are not convinced you can integrate technology into your instruction?

To some teachers, technology integration can be a scary and overwhelming task. Teachers already have to worry about the curriculum, and whether or not they are getting though to their students. Teachers worry about having time to successfully integrate technology. Then there is the issue of technical support.  There are a lot of issues that would make teachers leery of integrating technology.

Thankfully, there are resources and avenues that are there to assist teachers to successfully integrating technology into the curriculum. One of those recourses is Technical Integration Specialist. A Technical Integration Specialist is a person that assists the teacher in implementing technology into the curriculum. They are available when the teacher needs technical help, resources or ideas on ways to enhance the curriculum. They are usually teachers who are technically trained. (McCrea) Videos are another resource that teachers can use. One set of video is called, Teaching With Technology. These videos “discuss successful teaching strategies, and helps guide teachers through the maze of new technology available for classroom use.” The benefit of these video is that you are able to watch them and learn on their own time. The content of the videos range from hardware and software support to internet resources. (Pyramid Media) There are also resources available online to assist teachers. There are websites with actual lesson plans that integrate technology.  One of these websites is www.teachersfirst.com . This website provides lesson, units of study and web resources in one place. (McCrea)  Teachers are able to use these lessons to help them come up with creative ways to use technology. Some of the lessons are provided so that teachers can actually use them in their classrooms.

With the creation of new and exciting ways that teachers can receive assistance with technology integration, many of the worries and concerns that they have should be addressed. Though time will always be a factor, with a little creativity and inspiration, technology integration should be easier to achieve.

McCrea, Bridget. “Helping Educators Bridge the Technology Gap.” THE Journal, June 2006.

Pyramid Media. “Learn Technology Integration in Videos.” THE Journal, May 1997.

How should technology be used?

With new technological advances happening every day, it may be confusing to understand just what is expected of educational technology integration.

How exactly should technology be used in the educational setting? This question has so many answers that an exact answer depends on how far you can stretch your imagination. Technology can be used in any way from management issues to global classroom connections.

Classroom Management:

In recent years, online grade books have overtaken traditional grade books. In 2000, 75% of all teachers in District 230 in Chicago used an online grade book.(Walery)  Online grade books are electronic grade books that allow teachers, students and parent a way to easily keep track of students learning. If working effectively, online grade books, allow parents to be involved in their students learning with early intervention. Parents are able to see sooner how their child is doing, instead of waiting on grading reports released by the school. Teachers also benefit from the use of online grade books. Teachers are able to analyze the student data easier using the application on the grade book software. They are also able to print reports out for students to use as self assessment.

Enhance Classroom Learning:

If used appropriately, technology can really enhance the classroom learning environment. With students, technology usage is up to the imagination .As a math teacher technology has really added concrete value to teaching. Many concepts in mathematics taught in an abstract way. With technology, teachers are able to give students visuals that would otherwise be hard to do.  With the Astromicon: Celestial Construction Tool Kit by Cybernet Systems Corp, students are able to create a 3-D replica of the universe. With the 3-D models, the are able to apply principles they learn in science. (Openskies) Another way for students to use technology is as a communication tool. Podcasting is a audio program that is used as one-way communication. With the creation of podcast, students are able to create recordings that can be use for projects, sharing among student or as a review or study tool. (Deubel)

There is no way anyone can list all of the way that technology can be use in the classroom. With every day that passes, you can think of new ways and thing you can do. Technology integration is left up to the imagination.

Deubel, Patricia. “Podcasts: Where’s the Learning?.” THE Journal, June 2007.

Openskies. “Software Allows Students to Control the Universe.” THE Journal, January 2004.

Walery, Darrell. “MyD230: District 230’s Online Grade Book.” THE Journal, January 2007.

Personal Technology Statement

January 31, 2010

Technology is widely used in every aspect of the world. From business to personal use, technology plays a part. Technology needs to be incorporated in the school as it is incorporated in the other aspects of the students’ lives. Technology integration helps students connect to learners across the globe. It makes teaching and learning a more meaningful and fun experience. When technology is used efficiently, it helps to prepare students to compete in a technology driven world.

Connecting the world with technology:

When students are able to use technology in the classroom, they are able to gain access to the world with a few click of the mouse.  With the use of the internet and other technology in the classroom, students have resources that allow them to do anything from access to share information. Students are able to access libraries, databases and virtual tours. They are able to get firsthand accounts of events and see some events in real time. With the use of technology in the classroom, students are able to connect with different people. They are able to converse with professionals they would normally not have access to and share information using Wiki’s and blogs. (Berenfeld)

Enhancing the learning environment with technology:

Technology in the classroom can help create a learning environment that is both meaningful and fun for the student. In this age, many students spend more time playing video games and on computer chatting sites, than doing their homework and studying. With technology in the classroom, teachers are able to compete with the technology that controls the minds of children outside of the classroom. Things such as PDA’s and interactive software keep the student interested in the lesson, and if presented correctly allow the student to have fun while they are learning. If students are doing something that they enjoy doing, they are more likely to pay attention and retain the information that is being given. More and more schools are adopting software and systems that include gaming into the curriculum to enhance learning. School in Chicago and Georgia are using software from Tabular Digital called DimensionM. This software is used in pre-algebra and algebra classrooms lessons. It consists of 3D environments where players carry out missions or lessons in single player or multiplayer games. Teachers were able to see their student learning new concepts that were otherwise hard to teach. They also noticed the retention of information and the fact that the students enjoyed the lessons that were presented. (Nagel)(Briggs)

Preparing for the future with technology integration:

In order for student to be prepared for the future, they must be ready to enter into a technology driven world. Students must adapt to the ever changing technological climate. To do this they must be flexible and not only be able to retain information, but be able to process the information and apply it to situations when necessary. Educators in Virginia realized the need for students to be prepared for the future, so they sat down with GE executives and collaborated on what skills students needed to be prepared for the future workforce. The executives express the need for the students to have strong team work skills. Not only team work skills with their peers, but with people that were not in their class or state. They needed to be able to work on projects with people in various locations. To address this need they built virtual communities that allow various schools to collaborate on different projects. They were able to work during school and after school. The project was really successful. Students were even participating into the even hours. (Kellison) With technology integration, students are effectively practice skills that will be used once they get out of school.

Looking at the ever changing world around us, we see that technology is the driving force. In order for our students to be ready to compete in this world, we need to begin preparing them in the educational setting. Integrating technology is not something that we should consider; it is something that is a must.

Sources:

Berenfeld, Boris. “Linking Students to the Infosphere.” THE Journal, April 1996.

Briggs, Linda L. “Serious Gaming: Learn Math or Die Trying.” THE Journal, September 2007.

Kellison, Karen. “Virtual Teamwork.” THE Journal, June 2008

Nagel, David. “Chicago Adopts Gaming for After School Math Program.” THE Journal, March 2008.

Hello world!

January 31, 2010

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!