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)