Heidi Seifert

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Warning...the internet can be a dangerous place

I think that Web Quest is such a great tool. I had never even heard of it before but just going though some of the different links and looking at the examples made me realize what a great tool it could be. I never really considered the danger or time wasted by just letting students aimlessly and without guidance roam around the internet. Web quest provides so much structure and all the examples I looked at were so fun and creative. Great tools for engaging students and getting them excited about learning!!

Internet safety for students is something that is an increasing concern that teachers must be aware of. There are so many predators or creepy people who can easily harm children because the internet is so anonymous. I child could be under the impression that they are chatting with someone their own age and it could really be someone with very bad intentions. The fact that children are so impressionable makes this all the more threatening and scarier. I had no idea before I went to the Martin Luther King website that was linked from one of the essays, that certain groups can destroy a website and add their own interests onto it, for someone to innocently stumble upon. Search engines are bad for that as well. You type in what you think is really innocent and all of the sudden you have access to all kinds of terrible websites. I think another danger is that the internet is so difficult to monitor. Yes there are parental codes and such but even consider the example of the beer site. By simply changing a birth date a child of any age can access the web page and thus there is really no protection. As teachers we have to be so careful in letting students search the web or even be on the web. That is why web quest is such a great resource. Not because we cannot trust students, but because of the structure of the web, students can innocently stumble upon sites that they have no intention of entering.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I think that excel could easily be integrated into any grade level of classroom. I have used excel before but I have never really considered how it could be used effectively in a grade one classroom. In reading through the resources I came across a great idea for an activity that would effectively integrate excel into the classroom and enhance the learning and skills being taught. The idea was to use excel in a grade four level class to chart and record the color and number of M&M in a package. The students would have to set up a row for each color and record the number of each color M&M they had. They could then, depending on the level proceed to more complicated excel tasks, such as raw sum, or percentages or averages.
A website that I found that would be a good resource is
http://www.usd.edu/trio/tut/excel/. It is another great tutorial for excel. If students were encouraged to go through this or any other of the several excellent tutorials they would, I believe take more responsibility and interest in their learning as it would be more self directed. They would learn skills they could then apply to meaningful activities using excel. Hands on learning usually is very effective.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Using Concept Maps

A concept map is something that is relatively new to me. I remember making brainstorming webs in school but I have never really been educated on how effective or beneficial concept maps can be. I was also not aware of how easy they are to create. I had fun going through the tutorial and learning and I hope to one day try to do one on my own. I believe that concept mapping is a great tool to use in teaching.
Concept maps help students learn new information by linking it to old or previous knowledge. This is proven to enhance comprehension and memorization. Concept mapping helps students see logical connections between topics –new and old and through this are better able to actually have a visual representation of what they are learning its interconnectedness and how it relates or correspond. I believe that this facilitates fuller and more in-depth comprehension.
Concept maps also allow students to take what they know and apply it in a meaningful way. This also helps to create and foster further comprehension.
I think concept mapping adds variety to learning and allows the teacher to gauge understanding and comprehension. It increases understanding, especially for young children by allowing them to visually see concepts and connections.
I think that concept mapping would be an effective tool to use in reviewing all main topics for a unit test. The interrelations of the topics would provide greater understanding of the entire unit and information.
Concept mapping may be more difficult for students who are not visual learners and may be difficult if using the inspiration software for students who are not proficient with computers. It may make more sense to have them do it by hand. I may also use concept mapping in my classroom in prewriting, to plan the main ideas or concepts of the story. These maps could be easily shared with a small group and the group would get a visual representation of what their peer was trying to convey.
This will meet several key outcomes of communication technology: "students will access, you and communicate information from a varitey of technologies" ( C1) and “students will use technology to investigate and solve problems” (C6)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Title of Activity: Adding 2-Digit Whole Numbers

References: A Plus Math. (1998-2005). A Plus Math. Retrieved Sept 28, 2003, from http://www.aplusmath.com/Flashcards/addition.html

Grade Level: 2

Subject: Mathematics

Description of Activity: After presenting a lesson on addition of two-digit whole numbers, the students will gain practice at this skill on the “A Plus’ Website. After accessing the website, the students will able to do electronic flashcards with two- digit addition questions. The electronic flashcards are set up in such a way that is easy for the student to add each column separately. (Add the one’s column and then the ten’s column, like they do on a normal worksheet). The students can use a scrap piece of paper to do the equation if they are unable to do the addition mentally. The student will then type their answer in the space provided under the equation and hit the enter button. Immediately the program will mark the equation, congratulating the student if it is correct and providing the correct answer and the correct way to find the answer, if the student is incorrect. Beside the electronic flash card is a scorecard that keeps track of the number of questions completed and the percent of questions that have been correct. The students can work at their own pace to finish 25 questions before advancing to more difficult questions or going on to another activity.

General Learner Outcomes:
~ The student will be able to apply a variety of addition strategies to whole numbers less than 100.

Specific Learner Outcomes:
~ The student will be able to apply and explain multiple strategies to determine the sums of two –digit numbers, with and without regrouping.

ICT Outcomes: There are several ICT outcomes that can be incorporated into this lesson plan. In addition to the lesson on addition of two digit numbers, another less direct objective would be to encourage students to demonstrate appropriate care of technology equipment. This would be encouraged and enforced during the activity time.

C.6.1.3: Use technology to support and present conclusions
C.7.1.3: Use technology to draw conclusions from organized data
F.2.1.1: Identify technology used in every day life
F.2.1.2: Identify technology being used for a specific purpose
F.3.1.3: Demonstrate appropriate care of technology equipment
F.6.1.1: Perform basic computer skills
P.5.1.2: Access a hyperlinked site
Rational for Computer Integration: I believe that this activity will be very beneficial to the students in helping them practice the skill of addition of two-digit numbers. It is also a great program for allowing them to take advantage of technologies in the class room in aiding with education. The program, A Plus, allows students to work at their own pace, and has a format or set that enables them to visually see and be able to manipulate and add the numbers and equations easily. The instant marking system allows them to get the results of their work immediately and walks them through s step by step process if they get it incorrect. ( Much more than most teachers have time to do with every equation.) This enables them to understand what they did wrong and how to correct it. Thus they basically are able to facilitate their own learning. This program also gives them the opportunity to have results, and learn from those results much faster than traditional work sheet activities. The A Plus program also allows students to learn to use technology in different setting and for different purposes and how to use it appropriately.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Technology Outcomes and the Integration of Power Point

Specific Technology Outcome being Integrated: P.1.1.1 Compose an original text, in the form of a letter, using word processing software to communicate and display understanding of structure, form and technique
P.6.1.1 The composed message will then be sent through communication technology

Subject: English Language Arts
Grade: 2
Description: The illustrative examples database had a great idea for a specific technology outcome accomplished through studying the career of fire fighting in a grade two language arts class. After a field trip to a fire station, I would have the students compose an original text using a word processing program in the form of a letter. The letter would be written to the fire chief, in response to the student's experience at the fire station. This would integrate the outcome of students using and understanding a word processing software as well as help to facilitate their learning of the proper form and technique in composing a letter. I would then instruct the students on how to send this letter to the fire hall through email. This would help facilitate my second technological outcome or objective,integration of communication technology in the classroom.
PowerPoint could easily and very effectively be integrated into this lesson process. Before the visit to the fire hall I would create a PowerPoint to introduce and familiarize students with the career of fire fighting. I would include information about fire fighters such as uniforms, hazards, lifestyles and job descriptions. I think it would be beneficial to include pictures, and perhaps video footage of firefighting in the PowerPoint. I would also be careful to not use too many pictures at once or too much colour. I learned from one of the PowerPoint links that less is really more in being most effective with the use of PowerPoint. I believe this would give the students a understanding and curiosity of firefighting before the field trip.
After the field trip I would again use several PowerPoint presentations to more specifically help meet the technological outcomes. I would create a PowerPoint highlighting the key steps in writing a letter. I think it would be effective to display idea webs and written brainstorming in the PowerPoint to help illustrate and visually display the pre planning that is involved in any text composition. It would also have brief but detailed slides of the important parts and steps of a proper letter and letter composition using word processing (ie, format of letter, spacing, fonts, size, etc). I would include links on the PowerPoint to websites of some well written letters and thus students could view first hand examples of good quality writing. I would also display poorly written letters on the PowerPoint and to get students actively involved in the lessons, have them determine and explain areas of weakness in those letters. I would also include links to an email account and demonstrate step by step the process of sending the letter they compose via email. I believe that for them students to see the mail process first hand would be far more beneficial than simple explanation. I think through the integration of PowerPoint into the lessons the technological outcome of learning word processing and sending letters through email would be enhanced and would help facilitate greater understanding for the students.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

What I've Learned About Technology Integration in the Classroom

The most important thing I learned from this weeks reading is something from the third article Integration of Technology in the Social Studies Classroom. It made me realize that as common as technology use is becoming, education is not improved by technology, instead, education is improved by teachers who learn and develop creative methods and strategies for using technology in their classroom. I think unfortunately, often this is not the case. Some teachers get so excited or determined to bring a new technology into the classroom that they do not even consider if it is going to be the most effective way to facilitate the learning of their students. I think as it noted in the first article that proper use and understanding of technology by students, teachers, parents and administrators can be helpful and effective in motivating and facilitating students to learn on their own and problem solve by themselves. It is important to add and use technology with effective teaching methods, not to use technology as a teaching method. The benefits of using and adapting technology for special need students to enable their learning to be more effective is also something that is very important and I believe will be increasingly useful. It is important to understand that technology should add to teaching to the other way around. Like the article about training teachers noted, tones of money does not need to be spent on training teachers on every aspect of technology to make integration that much more effective. Rather they just need to learn certain programs or software they can use to add to and enhance their teaching methods. What matters is what is the most effective way to facilitate the learning of students. I learned that that is better to use technology in a simple way to present the most important content then to be concerned with flashy, huge presentations. Technology integration is increasingly beneficial for aspects of the classroom , for example facilitating independent and motivated learning. However, the information and evaluating the way students learn best is far more important that the mere integration of technology for technology sake.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday, September 16, 2005

To put it really simply, I have learned a lot from my first experience with blogging! At first I was quite frustrated because I am not very good with computers or the internet. I do not like the template I selected and now I have no idea how to change it, but I guess it is a learning process and I am doing just that. I also do not really understand the set up of the blog. I feel like my blog looks a lot different from other student blogs I have looked at. I am however, encouraged though that I was able to add pictures and make a posting and it gives me confidence that I will get better at blogging.
When we were first introduced to this course, I felt a little apprehensive. I am not very savvy with computers or technology, but even in this last week in the reading I am beginning to understand how valuable this course is going to be. Integrating technology into the classroom is a huge asset and has so many potential advantages. Take blogging for example. What a great tool for communicating with children, homework or journals, and allowing students a chance to communicate back. I think it is such a great way to give a voice and confidence to students who feel uncomfortable speaking in class or who may not be confident enough to talk as much as others in class. It gives them an opportunity to be heard! I know that even though I have never had a class with a blog, just the advances in email has made my schooling and communication with my professors so much easier. I think blogging would be a great way to keep open communication with parents of students as well, and to have access to other supports like other staff members. Knowing how good I feel now that I have finally succeeded at making a blog makes me think it would bring the same satisfaction to students who work at creating a portfolio of themselves such as this. It think blogging could also be used as a great feedback source, for students, parents and coworkers
I am aware of the caution that needs to be taken when integrating technology into the classroom. Sometimes in society we get so wrapped up in being technical that we overlook the none technical, yet often more effective alternatives that are available. For example, although powerpoint is an effective tool there are times when it is a much better use of time to just write an instruction on a good old fashioned chalk board! I hope to be a teacher who has a grasp on the most current technologies and their advantages in teaching, but I also want to be wise and practical regarding when the appropriate time to use them is.

My name is Heidi Seifert and I am a fourth year student at the University of Lethbridge. I am originally from Red Deer, but I moved to Lethbridge four years ago to be near the love of my life Ryan and to go to school. Ryan and I met in 2001 at a bible college in Edmonton. We were married last July 24 and are just loving our new life together. We built a house last summer and are enjoying that so much. We are both attending the University and both hope to eventually be teachers and be finished with University!! I am enjoying the faculty of education so far although it is a lot more work than I anticipated. Our next door neighbors are our really good friends Tiff and Mike and I work with Tiff too at Esquires Coffee House. I included a picture of Tiff and I at our friends wedding this summer. Ryan and I enjoy traveling, especially to hot places
and we love working with the youth group at our
church. We enjoy just hanging out together and having fun. I am looking forward to this Communication and Technology Class as the extend to my technological savvy is that I own a computer. I hope to have fun and learn a lot from this course! One final note. When I tried to create a URL for my blog, nothing in my name would work. I hope it is ok that I ended up using my nick name seifwife.