Monday, June 28, 2010

ISTE Article 8

Strategic Questions: What to Consider When Planning for Electronic Portfolios
Helen C. Barrett.

This article explores the benefits of electronic portfolios. A benefit of electronic portfolios is that it makes tracking a student's progress a lot easier. For example, if a student moves often or changes districts a lot, students will be easily placed into the correct classes because their new principals and counselors can easily access previous student assessments. Without computers, student files are kept in sotrage boxes and paper documents. This gets difficult because you only have so much room to store so much paper. It is impossible for a teacher to remember where she put Billy's essay from five years ago. Keeping the files on an electronic record makie it easier to retrieve, it is more portable and be a lot more easily distributed. I can personally relate to this because I transferred high schools in my junior year of high school when I moved from San Diego to Murrieta. I went back to my old high school in San Diego only within 3 months of transferring in order to retrieve my writing portfolio. My english teacher couldn't find it and so I had no samples of my writing before my junior year. My current english teacher couldn't tell if I was improving or backsliding.

Q1) What would I use to assess my students' improvement?
Math is a pretty simple subject to track a child's improvements. I would be able to keep record of their test and quiz scores, while at the same time noting the overall completeness and correctness of their homework assignments.
Q2) Do I think electronical filing systems would benefit math students?
Yes I do. It is terrible for a student to be placed in a class in which he or she is either underqualified or overqualified for. Keeping record of all yoru students is part of making the necessary steps in order to ensure their success.

Barrett, H. (1998). Strategic Questions: What to consider when planning for electronic portfolios. Learning and Leading with Technology Journal 26 (2), 6-13.

ISTE Article 7

These Infomercials Teach Science
Lindsay Cesari and Patrick Donahue

Students in New York were instructed to explore the periodic table of elements and present it in a video, promoting the element like a product on an infomercial. not only did students have to conduct research in order to learn about their "products", they were also developed skills in storyboard-making, movie production and copyright etiquette. This is such a creative way to inspire the kids to get really involved with the topics they are studying. And what's really cool about this is that although they may forget most of the elements in the table, they will have that one single element engrained in their minds.

Q1) There are a ton of elements and only so many students. What would I do with the elements that were not assigned to a student?
I would give extra credit to those who double up. Or maybe even pair up elements that are often linked together. Like NaCl or Carbon dioxide.

Q2) What "products" would math students be able to advertise?
I think it would be so cute if students pretended they were mathematicians like Euclid or Pythagoras and had to advertise their theorems. Just picture a 13-year-old boy in a robe and a beard trying to convince you that a squared plus b squared equals c squared; isn't that just priceless?

Cesari, L. & Donahue, P. (2010). These infomercials teach science. Learning and Leading with Technology Journal 37.

ISTE Article 6

Splicing Video into the Writing Process
Tammy Pandina Scot and Diane Harding

This video explains how using videos in classroom activities incorporates content and writing skills while at the same time, developing technologically savvy students. What struck me the most was that back in the day, communication was simply writing and speaking. But now, children are expected to learn to communicate through pictures, still and moving. Videos require students to be both writers of the film and producers. I remember in middle school and high school and our teachers had us make plays to correlate with our reading material. I never had to make a video throughout all of K-12. Now I'm watching video productions from children in elementary school and it is seriously so mind blowing to see how far technology has come.

Q1) What topics could I cover and have the students produce videos for?
I love the idea of real life math problems. Like going to the grocery store and figuring out how much grapes would cost. For example, if they are selling for $0.99 a pound, how many pounds would I be able to purchase for 6 dollars. This way, students would realize math is all around them and it is relevant to their every day lives.

Q2) What challenges would I face in incorporating a lesson like this?
Considering that I want to be a math teacher, access to enough computers is going ot be difficult. Most math classes do not come equipped with a computer lab and so editing and actual producing would be difficult.

Harding, D. & Scot, P. (2004). Splicing video into the writing process. Learning and Leading with Technology Journal 37 (7)

ISTE Article 5

Beyond Show and Tell: Using Spreadsheets to Solve Problems
Mary Burns

This article is about Excel Spreadsheets as the first wave or generation of Microsoft Office tools. With technology developing as fast as it is today, applications like Excel seem so primative with its limited functions. Educators are often reluctant towards spreadsheets because they think it is only used for math and science. Don't get me wrong, Excel is great for charting and organizing data, but what use is it to a history teacher? This article explains that there are visual, analytical and disciplinary skills associated with using this program. A history class used Excel to chart all 435 members of congress and assign them a district based off the census. I would never have thought of using Excel as a disciplinary tool. From experience, I know it takes a lot of patience to fill in each little box and it really does get tedious and frustrating. Maybe it's just me, but I just don't like spreadsheets. I wish there were an easier way of filling in tables.

Q1) Would I incorporate spreadsheets in my classroom activities?
Like I mentioned before, I don't like spreadsheets. I find them frustrating and the whole process is just agonizing. I agree that they are great for making graphs, but I am very traditional and would rather have my students chart line graphs and the accompanying table by hand.

Q2)What topics would I be able to have them chart if I were to use spread sheets?
If I were to use spreadsheets, I would make them chart things relevant to them. For example, students don't care about the population of fish in a make believe lake. The article mentioned an activity in which students charted and graphed the student population at that school and whether or not the popualtion would eventually be greater than available classroom space. I thought that was really cool.

ISTE Article 2

Mapping Student Minds
Ariel Owen

I thought this article was really interesting. First of all, it's awesome to see how the classroom is no longer limited by time or budgets. In this article, middle school students in Walnut Creek, CA use technology in order to reach a better understanding of health and science topics. The school takes trips to the local creek, Pine Creek, in order to collect data and observe the habitat. Due to lack of budget, resources and time, the shchool can only take the children out twice a year. The students do not let this hinder their interest in learning, but instead take advantage of 21st Century technology and take virtual tours of teh creek. All the students put their data together and in the end, learn and come to conclusions rogether. I also like how they described Casual Mapping as "making thinking visible". It is so much easier to understand your data when you have all your information laid out and organized in front of you.

Even though Casual Mapping was used in the scientific field, how would it benefit students struggling with math?
Casual mapping involves cause-and-effect. Math students can do a Casual Map for something like exponents. What does an exponent do to a number? What does it do to a number in parentheses? An equation? An equation in parentheses?

Would I be able to use virtual field trips in the class room?
The majority of Middle School Math is done on paper. There really isn't room for exploration except for learning a theorem and just practing and exploring from there. However, I would be able to take advantage of other interactive tools like the one I found on Webfinity. It was an online fraction generator and will give the students a visual of how the numerator and denominator affect the overall number.

Owen, A. (2002). Mapping Student's Mind. Learning and Leading with Technology Journal 29 (7), 6-9, 26.

ISTE Article 3

Exergaming: Cardiovascular Fitness In Immersive Virtual Environments
Daniel Nadler

This article explores a revolutionary take on physical education at the West Virgina Department of Education. Dance Dance Revolution is an arcade game that originated in Japan and about three years ago, one video game was added to every single school in West Virginia. Dance Dance Revolution incorporates fast beat songs with dance steps. Arrows on the floor light up corresponding to the beats of the song. Every time a students steps on the arrow at the correct time, their score increases. I think it is so funny that they have this in schools because I grew up in San Diego where the majority of our school was Asian. So I grew up with Dance Dance Revolution, or DDR, as we liked to call it. It was an "Asian" thing to do and I just think it's funny that this was implemented in West Virginia, where the Asian population is pretty small. Although this seems untraditional, if it's working, then why not support it? This is making children eager and excited to work out. I figure that if even Physical Education classes are able to incorporate technology in the classroom, how much easier would it be for me in an actual class room?

Q1)How expensive would it be to do something like this in California?
There are hundreds of schools in California and with the never-ending budget cuts, it's crazy to even think of implementing something like this. I think it would be impossible to even just installing these video games in a single district. Then again, West Virgina experiences all four seasons so they have to be creative when thinking of alternative exercises during snow/rainy days. California is lucky to have such good weather to be able to run and play outdoors for the majority of the school year.

Going the Distance: E-mail from Norway
Donna L. Pasternak
A teacher from Norway wanted to use E-mails as an oppurtunity for her Norwegian students to learn about their U.S counterparts while at the same time practicing the English they learned. I think this is a great idea because E-mail is pretty much internet basics. If a student can type, they can contact anyone all throughout the world.

Q2) Will my math students be able to learn from children or other classes in other countries?
While not every country requires children to learn English, they are all required to learn some level of math. Addition is the same here as it is in Asia as it is in Europe. However, I am curious to see in which ways teachers overseas present their lesson plans. As opposed to e-mail, I think it would be interesting to web camp with a math class overseas to see how students in other countries learn the same math concepts my students are learning.

ISTE Article 4

Lure of the Labyrinth
John-Paul Bennett

The Maryland Public Television group developed an online learning project which enabled students to play games during math class. The game is called Lure of the Labyrinth and helps students develop pre-algebra skills. It is sort of like a rescue game and students are only able to advance to the next level by correctly answering questions based on fractions, number operations and other pre-algebra equations. I want to become a credentialed

Q1) Would this serve as a bigger distraction than an actual learning tool?
I think that anything that engages students but at the same time teaches them and allows them to practice math is worth trying. I feel that as long as the student expresses some sort of a desire to do math is a step.

This Rock 'n' Roll Video Teaches Math
Margaret L. Niess and Janet M. Walker

When centuries changed from the 20th to the 21st, technology shifted with it as well. Analog broadcasting is now being replaced with digital video. Digital video is easier to alter and edit and offers new ways to teach various topics in education. As for the subject of math, "digital video can be used to present challenging mathematical questions, improve students’ visualization of mathematics concepts, and offer opportunities to analyze situations and models leading to mathematical descriptions of relationships" (31). I agree completely. For example, in this EDUC 422 course, I created a lesson plan on fractions and used a video I had made to support and accompany the lesson plan. It is engaging for the students and helps them take a different approach to math.

Q2) How would video production have a negative effect on the children?
I am afraid that the students would be too concentrated on the actual video taking and editing than the math itself. it would be taking away practice time for the students. When they should be doing homework problems and studying, they will be occupied with background music and smooth transitions.