My Unit Plan Experience

For this assignment, the classroom that I am planning for is a classroom of second graders, in Estacada, Oregon, at Clackamas River Elementary School. For previous knowledge and characteristics, I know that these students do have basic knowledge of technology, however, they do not know how to navigate on their own and need to be supervised when on technology. There is some ELL students, as well as some students are in a pullout math and reading program. The students have a basic understanding of stories, and know how to read and write on a basic level. Math is also on a basic level; at this age they will begin learning subtraction and addition, so they have a basic knowledge of numbers as well. The way that I can go about unpacking the common core standards is that I picked a standard that to do with reading and literature. I said that I want students to ask and answer questions like who, what, where, when, how, and why to demonstrate understanding of key details in the text. So, the main focus/objective of the lesson will be that students will be able to recount stories like folktales and fables and determine the central message of the stories using 21st Century technology. So. I will gear my lessons toward those two intertwined standards.

I can integrate the ISTE-standards into my lessons by having them be creative and innovative. This could be that I have them use different apps that allow them to create a digital story, or have them use the Promethean Board in a way that they have to explain to other students what they thought the answers were. This leads into ways where I can assess them. I can either have them create their own stories, or I could have them act out their own stories. I could also have a competition, where I have questions on the Promethean Board and every student answers the questions. We could also do sort of a Pictionary on the Promethean Board as well, where the students have to draw the theme of the story or main idea, so it would be a fun competition for them. I think that the most appropriate instructional strategies for this task would for it to be interactive, where we all read a story together, and as we go along, I explain what each key part of the story is, for example, the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Then, I could have them read a story on their own in groups and they have to pick out what the key details of the story are.

To differentiate the lesson for certain students, such as the ones who are in the pullout reading program, I could have a little bit of a less harder story for them, and give it to them when they go out of the classroom for their reading time. I could also have them be key participants in the lesson, so if I ask a question I call on them to make sure they are paying attention to the lesson and get the key parts (so just pay a lot of attention to them). For this lesson I will make sure that I look over the readings that I am having the kids read and make sure that they are appropriate for their age level, and that they can work with the technology that I am giving them. A good hook for this lesson would be to ask them, who likes to make up stories, or imagine that they are in other places or lands? Then I could tell them how reading and writing relates to their real life and how they use it all of the time. Something I am having a hard time with planning this lesson with is trying to imagine how these kids would react to my lesson, and more of just narrowing down what I can do. Also, incorporating technology into it has been a little hard. I can use Powtoon, or the MyStory App.


Multimedia Creation

A lot of times in the world we live in today, technology is becoming even more incorporated into our lives. Whether it be at work, our schools, or in our homes, technology is present. Multimedia Creation is technology that is created by the users themselves– such as homemade videos, podcasts, video-blogs and an assortment of other things. In my future classroom, there is many different ways that I can and will be able to implement multimedia creation into my lessons. For example, if we are doing a lesson on writing/reading, I could have my students make up a story of their own, or tell a narrative of their own life. Then I could have them make a video acting out their stories. It would be a fun and entertaining way to get them engaged into writing and also reading. This would fit into the ISTE standard of using technology to be creative and create an engaging learning environment for my students.

Another way that I could use multimedia creation in my classroom is if my students are learning something about math or science, I could have them explain what they learned over a podcast that they have to put music over and edit. That way, they are reviewing what they have learned, and have thought about it more extensively because they have thought about how to explain it. This would fit the ISTE standard of designing and developing digital age learning experiences and assessments. Overall, Multimedia Creation definitely has a place in my future classroom, and is something that may be helpful to all classrooms everywhere.

Some good Web 2.0 resources that go with my examples are the Center for Digital Storytelling, the Cartoon Generator, and the site for making animated videos.

Web 2.0 Tools

The first site that I have chosen to test out is called Museum Box. This site is used to create  a virtual box, where you can put in different videos, pictures of certain things and show them to your students. It is used a lot for historical aspects, where the students can think about a certain time period, and create their own historical “Museum Box” on that time period. For example, if we were talking about the Oregon Trail in a class, then the kids could show different clothes that those people would wear, food that they eat, and other things dealing with that time period. One ISTE standard that this particular tool would entail is creativity and innovation, because the kids are going to have to use their imaginations to think creatively to understand how a certain time period is different from their own. They then have to also be innovative as they build their own box, selecting things that they think are important from that time period to show to their classmates. Something to know before using this site is that teachers have to register their school in order to use it, which will give them the account and ability to use it. Some strengths that this tool has are that it allows for deeper classroom engagement, with the use of videos, pictures, and other things like that. It also allows so that the teacher and students can look at other classroom’s and people’s museum boxes as well. However, a limitation that it has is that students cannot create their own accounts through the system, so the teacher has to do all of the registering and get each and every student signed up in order for the class to do this. My best guess would be that this would probably be for children in about grade three and up.

The next tool that I have chosen to explore is called GoAnimate. This site is used by teachers so that they can animate their lessons. It makes a video basically of what you want them to learn, but instead of it being more documentary styled, it is animated. One ISTE standard that this tool uses is communication and collaboration. It allows so that the teacher is effectively communicating with their students and a new, engaging way, but it also allows for collaboration because the students can have discussions at the end of it with each other to talk about what the video taught them. Students can also probably use this to make their own videos, so that would also fit into that collaboration and communication piece. Before using this site, teachers should know that it is not free; there is only a fourteen day free trial available, and then you have to pay for it after that. So it may be wise to ask the school if they would pay for it. Some strengths that this tool has are that it allows the teacher to show their students something engaging, and also more entertaining. A limit that it has is that the teacher would have to pay for it, unless the school offers to pay for it. My best guess would be that this tool would be for children in grade five and up, give or take and depending on the students in the class.

Another tool that I have decided to test out is called Yacapaca. This is a site where teachers can make quizzes for their students, that they can have all of their students do at the same time. For example, they can put it up on the Promethean Board and have the students login, and connect to the quiz. A teacher can also have their students do homework on this site, because it asks them certain questions, and gives them a certain amount of time to study. The teacher can also see how well they are doing. One ISTE standard that this tool uses (a teacher standard) is designing and developing digital age learning experiences and assessments. It uses this standard because it creates a quiz that is more engaging, and is a new way of see where your students are at.A strength that this has is that it allows the students to not feel so pressured, because a “quiz” or “test” that is on paper will usually freak kids out, but this one seems like it is fun. A limitation is that a teacher can try it for free, but I think if you want to get more applications and things, you have to pay for them. This would also be a prerequisite to know that before a teacher starts using it they might want to ask the school if they would be willing to pay for certain things if need be. My best guess would that this would be for the ages of third grade and up.

Digital Citizenship Superhero Lesson

In this video, Super Digital Citizenship, Mr. Pane engages his students in this lesson of Digital Citizenship by making it related to superheros. He first explains what Digital Citizenship is, and then he goes on to say that there are bad things that some people do. He tells them that they need to identify those and then says that they should come up with a superhero that can stop people who do bad things. This gets the kids thinking imaginatively, and also makes it fun for them because they get to make up their own stories. They resolve problems like people hacking, taking personal information from someone, and other things. I would use the gallery walks for showing off art in my classroom by if the kids do a project, then I will want them to show it off, so that way the kids can see all different types of perspectives. I can tell them this, and say that everyone thinks differently, and that sometimes you have to step into someone else’s shoes and see from their perspective.

Copyright–What can we do?

In the article Copyright 101 by Educational Leadership Magazine, it talks about how there are certain rules and things that everyone, including teachers, need to keep in mind. Often times, there are misconceptions about copyright that all of us commonly think, such as that schools do not really ever get trouble or have issues with copyright. This is not true.

Copyright is the legal right that someone has when they put something out in public, where other people can not steal their ideas or take what they have “creatively made”. This gets tricky however when in schools teachers might want to share a video, or something like that, and are not aware of the laws that come with copyright. There are four rules of “fair use” for copyright. The first is that the user needs to ask if the materials will be used non-commercially and in a non-profit educational organization. Second, is if the nature of the work is being copied, and if the work is published, and creative vs. factual. The third rule is how much of the work is being used because more work being used can lead to it being not so fair. The fourth rule is that you should think about if you have any commercial intent.

Along with those “fair use” rules, the certain type of media that it is matters a lot. For example, with print materials, teachers can use and copy those as long as it has to do specifically with the lesson, and there may be rules to how long they can keep the materials and if they can only copy this once. If it is a video or audiotape, teachers cannot play it if it is for entertainment or reward, and but they can play it if it is just for the lesson. So, depending on the type of media, teachers might have more freedom to use something compared to something else.

Presentation Designs

In recent discussions of making presentations, it has been argued that it is much more effective to have less words, and more pictures. So, in a way, less is more. In a chapter by Garr Reynolds, he talks about how to use PowerPoint effectively, to where your audience will get the exact message you are trying to tell them, while also actually enjoying the presentation. Some elements that I already was aware of were the rule-of-thirds idea, where you only put a picture in the corner, in one third of the space. I also was aware that it is better to have mainly just pictures, and no words, because the audience will often times get bored with reading a long list of facts one after another. Some elements that I was not aware of however, were how he said that you don’t always have to fill empty space, because sometimes you can have too much going on in your presentations. Also, that contrast is really important because it can really set the tone of the presentation and determine how well your audience can see something.

I can incorporate this into my own work by consciously thinking about what I am putting into a slideshow, and how I want the audience to feel. I know now that I do not want to put just a list of facts on there, because the presentation needs to be memorable. So, I will stop using bullet points, and only put what is needed to help the audience understand what I am saying rather than have the PowerPoint basically just substitute for me and I just read it off to them. For my students, I will tell them that they need to do the same, and not just read from the presentation, because it is a supplemental tool for the audience, not for you. This goes along with my ISTE-standards as a teacher, because as an educator I have the job of teaching technology the right way. Over the years, my presentations have definitely not fit with this way of doing it; before, I have put lots of words on the slides, and used a minimal amount of pictures because I really had no idea how to incorporate that creativity into it.

Being an Educator in the 21st Century

In recent discussions of using technology effectively in today’s classroom, a controversial issue is if the people of today are “information literate”. What this means is that people can tell if information is indeed false, or true. Often times, we look up something on the internet and click on the first thing that comes up. We usually think that those first couple of sites are reliable, and that we can trust them, unless they appear not to be. As well as this, we do not really question the resources that we use, even though we know about people who plagiarize and also make up certain things. So, the argument is whether or not it is possible for one to actually become “information literate”. On one hand, some say that it is possible, and from this perspective, there are many “rules of thumb” that we can use to decipher whether or not something is a real website, and if the information that it has on it is real. Some of these rules include noticing if they have corrected any mistakes, or if they have gotten rid of their mistakes without a trace. If they have wiped away all existence of their mistakes (therefore not really acknowledging it), then this can be a sign that they are not being truthful, or are not credible.

My own view is that it is definitely possible to educate people so that they can be “information literate”. With the correct use of these certain rules, and also just doing a certain amount of sleuthing before thinking a site is credible, it is possible to get the right information. Also, if we as teachers educate our students on being especially critical of information that they find on the internet (or anywhere for that matter)  it will be possible for students to have the skills that are necessary for being “information literate”. With that, I do think that even though the internet is the most powerful medium, it is possible to teach our kids how to be “information literate” as well as effective users.

21st Century Technology

In recent discussions of 21st Century Technology, a controversial issue has been whether or not the children of today are “digitally native”. On the one hand, some argue that although children may be born into this new age of technology, they might not necessarily know how to effectively use it. From this perspective, children do grow up surrounded by a lot of technology, but they do not always know how to synthesize all of the information that they are looking at, or how to pick apart information that is not correct. As well as this, many young people may know what Facebook, Twitter, or things like that are, but a lot of them do not actually know exactly how to program something, or what the actual difference between a web browser and the internet is. On top of that, a lot of this “knowledge” depends on how much access or exposure a child has to a computer or technology in general. Not all children are going to have smartphones with certain apps or the internet on it. Also, even though they may have smartphones, some rarely use the internet because it is seen as slower or more frustrating to look at. So, the only time that they actually access a computer or the internet is at school where what they want to look up on the computer is limited and monitored. This fact needs to be kept in mind also because this might be the case for some children who do not have enough money to even have a computer or a phone. Children need to be guided in their learning with technology as well, because they are not always going to be “automatically informed”.

On the other hand, however, others argue that the children of today are actually “digitally native”, meaning that they have an adequate knowledge of the technology around them. According to this view, students have changed enormously from the students of the past, and not just in the clothes they wear, or what type of music they listen to. Today, they are accustomed to having all sorts of different technological devices around them, ranging from smartphones, to Ipads, to Mac-book computers. So, when they actually come into the classroom, they have seen technology before; it is not foreign to them at all. Now, the teachers–who are all normally older than this new “digitally native” generation– are seen as “digital immigrants” because they do not quite learn the same way as those children. They speak the old “language” of writing emails or learning from overhead projectors. So, in a way, the teachers need to learn this new “language” so that they can teach their students in a more engaging, interesting way, rather than teaching them the old learning styles. In sum then, the issue is whether kids these day are actually “digitally native” or if a lot of them are just exposed to technology but do not know how to use it effectively.

My own view is that although many children are exposed to technology, they are not necessarily “digitally native”. They might not know how to use technology effectively, and may need to be guided in that perspective. Also, I understand that a lot of children may not have access to a computer or the internet through a smartphone on a regular basis. As well as that, I know that as a teacher I will not be a “digital immigrant”. Though I do concede that many children might know how to do some things that I do not know how to do in technology. I still maintain that children need help with learning how to look for information properly, and how to synthesize it into what they are actually looking for. For example, they might just use something they see on the internet as evidence, but it is important to think of whether some information is biased and things like that. Although some may object that you can’t always monitor or guide what children do on the internet, I would reply that I can do whatever I can teach them how to be critical thinkers, and know what is right to do on the internet and what is not. This issue is important because as many teachers start hearing that they need to incorporate technology into their classrooms, they need to know the backgrounds of their students and not assume that the kids know everything there is about technology.


Introductory Concepts

In recent discussions of using technology in classrooms, a controversial issue has been whether or not technology is something that is beneficial for the students in their learning. On one hand, some argue that technology is the one thing that can really help students learn, especially with learning skills on effectively integrating themselves into the 21st Century world. From this perspective, children are already using technology by the time they enter the classroom, and are therefore bored when there is no technology present in the classroom to use as they learn. They find school irrelevant, since they cannot customize the lessons themselves or how they learn. According to this perspective, the only way to combat that boredom is to use technology in everything, and have classes of programming, bioethics, multimedia literacy and creation, etc. All of of these subjects would be a “representative of alternative visions of the future”. So, they want schools to be “future oriented” and instead of using past methods of learning, schools should just simply look towards the future.

On the other hand, some argue that although technology is a positive and beneficial thing for the classroom, sometimes it can be abused; therefore the best technology can sometimes just be a pencil. According to this view, technology should not be used to do things that can be done without it, such as drawing a picture. One teacher even talks about how when she has her students write something on a blog, she has them first use a pencil and paper to write down what they want to say, so they can work out their ideas right there. Technology should also not be used as a way to keep students occupied while the teacher helps small groups of kids or does something else. With this thought process, technology should be something that the teacher has the students use for creative purposes, but should be something that the teacher carefully structures and selects for the students.

In sum then, the issue is whether technology should be used for every method of learning, or if it should be balanced with old methods. My own view is that technology is a positive thing, but it needs to be balanced with old methods, like pencil and paper. Though I concede that technology can be a creative tool that I will use, I still maintain that technology cannot be used for everything. For example, there are things like reading and writing that some children may still prefer using a pencil, paper, or a paper book for, and I think that it is important to keep that in mind. Although some might object that this is not “looking towards the future”, I would reply that it is imperative to remember your past in order to go further into the future. It is when we forget the past things that have happened and things that we have done that make living in the future more difficult. This issue is important because as a society we continue to search for things that will improve our lives, and make us the best that we can be. Technology is something that will aide us in these improvements, and as we go along into the future, it will be helpful to remember our past as well.