Saturday, March 28, 2015

Distance Learning Medium Review: Google Forms and Fluberoo

The medium I choose to review was Google Forms. I choose this medium because it is not only applicable to my classroom but many classrooms. It can also provide teachers with various opportunities to give pre-test and post-test which in most cases do not happen due to a lack of time. Below is my review on Google Forms.

Google Forms is a tool equip to help teachers design surveys, tests, quizzes, and even a simple sign up. Google Forms are easy to use and easy to share among your students and staff. One must hold a Google account in order to access, create and share the forms. Teachers should also have a basic knowledge on how to use technology.

Google Form is a great way to provide teachers the opportunity to develop pre and post tests. Unfortunately, limited amount of class time is the cause for most teachers forgoing a pre or post knowledge test. Google forms is an easy way to develop a quiz giving the teacher the valuable information needed while not taking up class time. Google forms can be created and given as a take home assignment or can be done in the classroom.  

Some other great uses for Google forms include surveys and a sign up sheet. Click on the link to view a tutorial on how to create your own Google Forms. Once the form is complete, Fluberoo is a great tool to use when grading the assignment.  Fluberoo provides the students and teachers with instant feedback as well as the correct answer if they happened to get the answer wrong.

     Google forms have various settings allowing the user to do the following:

  • One login per user
  • One login per user with teacher chosen limits to correct an answer
  • Question shuffles
  • Shuffle answer options in multiple choice questions
  • Close the form at a set time provided by the teacher
  • Instant grade sent to the student via email provided (Fluberoo)
  • Choice eliminator (sign ups)
  • Graphs of responses
  • Change theme
     Google forms can be an essential tool in any classroom. Not only is it easy to use but a valuable tool for both the teacher and students because it provides instant feedback showcasing the progress of the students.

Week 12 Discussion Response

What do you think about iNACOL’s New Learning Models Vision? Are there limitations or disadvantages to such an approach? Is it feasible? Do you find that there are advantages for you as you create your own environments?

After reading the iNACOL's New Learning Models Vision article I believe this is the direction education is intending to go. The article states, " The student is at the center with each element supporting their individual learning." Most of my classroom lessons are geared towards a student centered learning approach. As a state requirement, teachers are being evaluated on the student centered classroom.  

The TPAC approach pairs student centered learning with blended learning. This provides students with an equal platform to learn. TPAC (Technology Platforms, People/Pedagogy, Assessment, and Online Content) aligns schools with a blended learning environment paired with the common core state standards. The model provides students with the following criteria:

  • Personalized
  • Student Centered
  • Accessible to All
  • Higher Achievement and Higher Standards
  • Technology Enhanced
  • Affordable and Sustainable
  • Flexible Staffing

Although I see great value in this model, I also see some flaws. Although I believe blended learning is a beneficial component, I do believe it is not the only component. I believe relationships are extremely important to have in the classroom. Another flaw I see in the system is accessible to all. Not all schools and communities have the opportunity to provide the necessary resources to the schools. For example, teachers need to be educated on how to use certain programs as well as the students. Not only is there a lack of education, but the students may not have the resources at home. For example, my classroom consists of many different types of students. Some students are wealthy and some are not. Some of my students have access to more information and resources at home while my other students go to work and/or do not have access at home.

In theory I do believe this model is where education is heading and I do not think it is a bad thing. I do feel we need to be open minded when we look at models such as this one. There can and will be many hardships during the process. The important thing to remember is the ultimate goal, are my students led to learn? If the answer is yes, as a teacher I feel we are doing a good job.


Personal Online Case Study

What elements of your teaching practice would be effective in an online learning environment, and what would need to be adjusted, or modified to allow you to successfully work with students within an online learning environment?  

Looking back at where I started and where I am now, I see two different people. In June of last year, I left University of New Haven, talking to my friend questioning my decision to be a part of the #itdml program.  I felt as though technology was overwhelming and intimidating.

Today, I feel more confident with my technological skills but not as much as I feel I need to be to fully integrate it into my classroom. Some elements I could bring to my practice are evident now. I curate online test using Google Forms and have developed various digital based assignments. I have also tried to stretch my limits and create a flipped classroom lesson.  

I teach at an inner city school but feel privileged because all of my students were given school issued tablets. With all the students acquiring tablets, I feel this has pushed me to use technology more in my classroom than most teachers. The environment is ideal to fully engulf myself in a digital classroom but I still feel there needs to be some changes to not only my teaching, but also my philosophy and learning environment.  

For example, I would change my environment by issuing the same tablet each student has to the teachers. There are many things I would like to do with my students; however, their tablet does not have the same capability as the computer in the classroom. I am unable to see what the students see and they see a different screen then what might be posted on the classroom computer. This not only causes confusion for me but also for my students especially those who are lower level learners.  
Some things I would change about my teaching style is confidence. I have a lack of confidence when it comes to technology. Fear is the main feeling I get when I try and integrate technology into my classroom. Fear of the information not saving and fear of monitoring the information when students share online. To ease some of my fears I have slowly started to integrate Google into my classroom. The students share information with me and I am able to make comments and share them back to the students. I am still dragging when it comes to requiring students to share their information online. Unfortunately, my fear is the responsibility of monitoring the online program. What if a student says or posts something inappropriate. Although this may be rare, it is still a fear I feel most teachers have but may not talk about.

     The #itdml program has equipped me with many resources I will be using in my classroom. Some of these resources include Google Classroom, Google Forms, Google Slides, Google Docs, Newsela, Popplet, storify and many more.  The program has also allowed me to entertain ideas of global competency through program such as #walkmyworld and iEarn

     Technology is an ever changing platform to integrate a vast amount of information to an extreme population.  Technology has proved to me, learning can happen anytime, anywhere and at any age.  I feel more comfortable with using digital tools in my classroom and hope to continue my learning with this field. Since starting the #itdml program, I have been placed on the blended learning committee and asked to take charge of the new mastery based learning health class we will provide to our students next year.  The class will include a mixture of MOOC's, digital text and classroom seat time. Overall I do believe technology provides our students with a "level playing field".  Not only can students access a wide variety of information but they can also be in contact with professionals in various subject areas. The most important thing about technology I have learned not only about myself but in general are:
  • It will fail at least once
  • Not all students know how to properly use technology
  • Learning is fun for the students when they are curate online
  • I can do this!
  • Google classroom and Google+ are great places to share information

     Ultimately, I do feel I have grown as a learner and an educator.  I feel like I have more confidence with technology than when I started teaching.  I still feel there is a long way to go, but that is only one of the limitations of technology, it is always changing so you must be up to date with the information.

Alcohol Unit

Here is a Health Education Unit on alcohol.  This unit showcases the basic alcohol information as well as its affects our overall health and wellness.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Final #walkmyworld Post

Here is my final #walkmyworld blog post. I decided to curate a storify to showcase the journey I have taken through the #walkmyworld learning event. Thank you for an amazing experience!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#walkmyworld Week 9: Story of Us

What do you have a unique perspective on? What have you learned while interacting with this group? What have you learned about learning and participating on the web? How will you use this information moving forward to use and share files in an open, friendly, respectful way?

Since being apart of the #ITDML program I have learned many things about the Internet.  Here are just a couple things I have taken away from the program and the #walkmyworld assignments:

1. Technology is not as scary as it seems
2. When it comes to technology, "playing with it" will get your farther then reading about it
3. You CAN become connected with honest, interesting people and realistic facts
4. Internet in the classroom doesn't mean text messaging
5. Students CAN learn with a device in front of them
6. Snapchat and other applications can be used for educational sharing
7. Not every student knows how to use technology (and properly)
8. It's a lot easier to share in a drive then it is to share paperwork
9. "Google it" isn't a bad saying
10. No matter where you live, technology can make the playing field equal.

Since the program started, I have shared files with my peers in the program. Then I started to share with my colleagues at work. Just recently, I started to share information with my students through Google drive. I learned that I can do this and it isn't that bad! One thing I have learned throughout the process, is most of students are unfamiliar with technology in the classroom as well. Sure they might know to do navigate the web faster then some teachers and know certain technological tricks I may not, but they still have to be taught about digital education etiquette. 


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Week 10 Storify: Digital Badges

Here is my storify for the week 10 badges!

Digital Badges!!!

What are badges and why are they important? The second reading this week discussed digital badges.  Tech Learning define a badge as, “a digital recognition for accomplishing a skill or acquiring knowledge after completing an activity.”  How can digital badges be used in the educational field?
Badges can be used in many different forms in the educational field.  Most noticeable, the digital badge is similar to a “badge of honor” in the technological world.  It can showcase your skills through a visual resume.
Not only can digital badges be used as a display to showcase your accomplishments but it can also provide feedback during professional development days.  For example, what if the teachers were given a choice when it comes to professional development opportunities.  Teachers would be given an array of programs to choose from and they would be required to earn a badge to showcase their accomplishment of completing the course.  The teachers can then be held accountable for their learning and provide an opportunity for teachers to be involved in their professional development days.  Let’s face it, our teaching professional development days consist of sitting in an oversized room listening to a person for hours at a time talking about information we may or may not be interested in.  Two years ago, our school required all of our teachers to take part in a professional development day consisting of “speed reading”.  The majority of the faculty was became uninterested when the presenter said you need to skip words.  “As long as you get the general concept of what they are saying.” 
Badges can help involve teachers in their education. So how can we start looking at bringing badges into our school systems?  The Tech Learning article discussed a couple points to keep in mind when looking for an opportunity to implement a badge
  • ·       Explore existing badges
  • ·       Find an objective
  • ·       How will you earn the badge? 
  • ·       Specific steps
  • ·       Assessments
  • ·       Further badge opportunities (series of badges)

Both article discussed various systems that already have badge systems.  Not only are these systems already credible, but they are running and allowing people opportunities to earn badges.  Some of these systems include:

The articles touched upon a lack of motivation as a potential hardship for implementing badges to not only teachers but also students.  A lack of credibility as well as incentive is a concern.

My first experience with digital badges is through the course I took during the #itdml coursework. Not only did we curate during that course but we also created various tool and shared them with our peers.  I am very proud of the badges I earned but do not know where to take them from there.  I have heard of some school district using digital badges as a way to perform professional development opportunities for their teachers.  I believe teachers will be able to use digital badges more as technology is pushed into the school systems.  Currently, an interview consist of providing the prospective school with a paper resume, recommendations and other elements.  As schools move more towards the digital wave I feel more schools will find badges to be more credible and even expected.  Unfortunately, my school just isn’t there yet.

Friday, March 13, 2015

#walkmyworld Journey Through Life

What journey have you taken to get this point? What trials and tribulations have you encountered along the path? What great deeds and stories will you return to to give the world to make it a better place?

Life is full of journeys. Some long, some short. Some bumpy and some very smooth. Throughout my life I have traveled down many of those paths. Some so blinding I could barely see the window cracked open for a new opportunity. 

Like most, I have went through heart ache. Both of dieing family members, pets or the loss of a significant other. But I have also been on extremely happy paths. My most memorable journey is the journey that lead me to my educational field. This journey is the most memorable because it brought me many friendships and memories. It also led me to the man
I married. 

I think no matter what path we lead or venture on, embrace the path. Even though some paths may be virtually inconceivable to pass through. I believe this because at the end of the tunnel there is a place of serenity and happiness as long as you follow your heart.

Week 10 Response

In what ways have you found resources that will help you as a professional become responsive to the global needs of your students?

During this program I have been introduced to many resources I can use in my professional life.  Not only in this class, but also many other classes in this program have opened my eyes to items I would not have found on my own.

My Global Literacy class in particular, I really enjoyed looking into the iearn website.  The website opened my eyes to various, already established, programs with the one essential objective in mind, connecting people and classrooms all across the world.  When looking at the iearn website, I really enjoyed the dancing programs they have.  As a physical education teacher I feel this program can help connect my students to various students around the world. 

Not only was the iearn program beneficial, I also found the micro talks beneficial.  I am currently in a blended learning committee.  Within the committee we have to become familiar and develop programs to share with our school. The micro talks have provided myself with an overwhelming amount of information to help share with my peers.  Lastly, the most beneficial resource I have found during this program was my peers.  After a little under a year I have gotten to know and develop friendships with professionals, knowledgeable in technology. 

How is your school culturally responsive to the needs of your students? How can you help broaden students’ world view?

My school culturally responds to the needs of my students through various ways.  Much like any other school system there are always avenues of improvement but ultimately our school provides my students with a healthy and safe environment to learn.  Within this environment they also provide opportunities for our students to connect to sister schools.  One area I believe should be broadened is our expansion among the world rather than neighboring towns. Much like what the article stated, “We hope to share pedagogical ideas with our international counterparts, to develop some classroom exchanges and projects, and to form one or two new "sister school" relationships.”  I would like to see the same happen in our school.

What additional resources do you need to support your students into becoming globally literate?
            I believe our school needs to continue to enhance our professional resources through development programs.  I also believe we can continue to enhance our learning by providing an opportunity to allow “experts” to form.  For example, the blended learning committee provides our school with opportunities to connect with technology and hopefully on a global level.  Without the knowledge, many teachers may not have the opportunity to become familiar with these programs. 

            Another resource our school can adopt is a program to reward teachers and students when they connect with sister schools around the globe.  For example, I would like to see a program develop that researches, connects and share with the community various topics around the world.  The teacher and students can provide this information to the community through a showcase event. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Week 9 Storify: Educating the Heart

Here is my week 9 storify on educating the heart.

Response 9: PLE and CMS

This week we had a reading and a video presentation.  Both resources were about personalizing education to meet each student’s individuality.  I found both the video and the reading useful and entertaining. 
While reading the article I focused on specifically the section on Course Management Systems and PLE’s.  The reason I decided to focus on these two areas is because our school is striving to incorporate both in our curriculum. The article explains Course Management System’s as a course where the “instructor manages online, face-to-face, or blended, by uploading and presenting course content”.  It is also defined as web based courses used for discussions, announcements, and posts of various kinds.  Our school is trying to incorporate Course Management Systems through Moodle. I have not had a tremendous amount of experience with Moodle but have heard from other teachers how successful it can be for their students.  It is a way to distribute materials, post assignments and reach students through a technological avenue.  In our school as well as the present generation of learners, many students are familiar with technology therefore making Moodle an accessible tool.  My question would be, what if a student does not have internet at their house?  What if a student doesn’t know how to use technology very well?  Can you hold students accountable for assignments solely posted on Moodle or another course management system?  I think this ties into my next topic discussed in the article, Personal Learning Experience (PLE’s).
PLE’s or otherwise known as Personalized Learning Experiences offer students an opportunity to be in charge of their education.  It takes an idea of what a student may want to do in the future, and provide credit in the high school curriculum.  By developing a PLE, the learner has control of his or her own learning at their own pace.  Our school is embracing the idea of PLE’s and have created teaching jobs around the opportunity.  Two years, our school ran a pilot PLE program with a list of 5 courses to choose from.  As the word got out, more and more students wanted to take part in a PLE program.  Not only were students researching current PLE programs, they were also developing their own based on their interest.  Currently, we have provided the students with two full time teachers to help oversee the PLE programs.  Students seem to enjoy the convenience as well as the interest. 

The second topic I would like to discuss is Sir Ken Robinson’s discussion.  The discussion was extremely entertaining and very intriguing.  He brought up many points that made me wonder about my current teaching.  Sir Ken Robinson started his discussion with a question, how many people have ever lived? He stated that almost 10% of total people ever lived are living now making our generation the biggest to inhibit the earth.  With that said “most people have no idea what they are capable of”.  Why you might ask?  Sir Ken Robinson poses my questions leading towards education as the main source.  Conforming.  He discussed how education should be education of the heart and not necessarily of the tests.  In his eyes, education is becoming like a fast food model.  An assembly line of the same products made the same way.  He challenges that every class should be built on diversity and not conformity.  For example, he states how most people today fear the plague of ADHD.  Today 900 students are falsely accused of ADHD solely because they cannot sit still through a lecture.  However, when asked if the same student can sit engulfed in their area of interest (guitar practice) most parents would say they can sit there for hours.  Ultimately, Sir Ken Robinson’s message is to provide personalize education for all and not standardize education.  Lastly, he ended his talk with a quote from Anais Nin, “The pain of remaining tight in a bud was greater than the pain it took to blossom“.  His speech made me look at my classroom deeper.  Do I require my students to confirm to a certain standard? In most cases I unfortunately have to say yes especially when it comes to behavior.  I believe there are correct ways a student should behave in public and in school. Sure our school has discussed getting a standing section in my classroom as well as bean bag chairs because “all students listen differently.”  Just recently our school purchased chairs with wheels on the bottom of them.  The idea was to make the students more comfortable and easier for each student to get into groups and move around.  Although the idea is a beneficial one, myself as well as many other teachers have seen a negative impact on our students.  Not only do students roll around in their seats but it is distracting to other students in the class.  When it comes to developing and creating various projects portraying the same idea I stress the importance of independence.  When it comes to behavior in the classroom I guess I am a little “old school”.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Walk my World: Mirror Mirror on the Wall

What do you see in your reflection? What does the mirror say about you? What do you wish the mirror reflected? What truths are only known in the mirror?

At 30, looking in the mirror is not as much of a thrill as it was in my early 20's.  Looking at the passing age, my mirror reflects a person who is compassionate although sometime loses her cool. Ultimately, when I look at my mirror I see a past full of memories, laughs, and tears.  I see a sea of adventure and a thirst for more. My mirror knows the true strengths and weaknesses I hold. My pillars of loyalty are evident and my fear of being alone is only seen by me. I see a mirror reflection of someone who hopefully has many memories ahead of them. What does your mirror show?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Storify week 8: Blended Learning

Here is my storify for week 8 on blended learning!

Activity and Nutrition: Overall Health and Wellness

Stephanie Lavado and myself are creating an online module connecting health (specifically nutrition) and physical education through technology.  Here is our timeline of the unit.