Tagged with " education"

Week 9 Reflection Blog Post: Mini Projects I

This week we focused on mini projects using technology tools. I really enjoyed playing around with the different options because they have so much to offer a classroom. Learning how to use the tools was relatively easy and there are so many benefits to incorporating projects in to the class. I spent most of my time working with the Comic Life activity, and the Voki Avatar tool. I really enjoyed making the comic about quadratic equations because it allowed me to take the process and apply it to a real world situation. I chose this after browsing through the sample page and seeing what others had done with this tool (“Comic life gallery” ). This is something I would easily use in my classroom as an option for a mini project. All students express their knowledge differently and this is a great way for students to use their creativity to portray what they know.

The other activity I chose to do was the talking avatar. I did not incorporate this into a lesson, rather I used it to enhance my professional web portfolio. After playing around on the voki website and browsing some blogs, I chose an avatar and gave it some dialogue. I think this could be a great tool for the classroom for many reasons. First of all, we just learned about the flipped classroom, and I think this would be a great resource to utilize for any teacher who wants to flip. It could also be used to introduce a new concept to the class, or even to clarify tough concepts. I could also use the avatar to remind students of good study or homework habits for when they are working individually at home or get stuck on a problem. One educator, Lisa Nielson, suggested that parents or even others in the schools could use avatars to leave comments for students (Nielson, 2011).

Even though I only did those two mini projects, I still would love to use some of the others in my class. For example, I really like the concept of using a Wordle and would love to offer that as another project option. Another way I could incorporate that into the classroom is by making a wordle for each topic we cover in the class. I could have students do a ticket out the door each day that describes in words what they learned, then compile all of them to create a visual representation of the information. There are several ways this tool could be helpful, and I hope to use it in my classroom.

While I think there are many great uses for these technology tools, I also realize that the process of doing them can be very time consuming. If I structured a mini project with these as the options for my students I would first have to ensure that all students had access to a computer and internet outside of class. However, if I cannot find a way to get the students using these tools I would certainly use them myself to demonstrate to the students the different ways information can be presented.



Comic life gallery. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://plasq.com/products/comiclife/gallery

Nielson, L. (2011, February 18). Interviews with educators. Retrieved from http://blog.voki.com/2011/02/18/interviews-with-educators-lisa-nielsen/

Feb 20, 2013 - education, reflection, technology    2 Comments

Week 6 Reflection Blog Post: To Flip or Not to Flip

This week we spent a lot of time reviewing articles and watching clips on what a flipped classroom is. This is a concept that I had never heard of before this week, but am incredibly intrigued about. Flipping a classroom means that the “sage on the stage” becomes more of a “guide on the side” in the sense that most of the instruction occurs outside of the classroom. This method was pioneered by Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sams in Woodland Park, Colorado when they discovered how to record powerpoint presentations (KNEWTON, 2011). The powerpoints outline skills and concepts that are then put in to practice when the students reenter the classroom. Some people see this as just posting lectures online for students to view for homework, but I think it is actually a little different than that. When I think of lectures I think of long monologue that is boring to follow and involves no interaction with the students. However, when I think of the flipped classroom, I think of videos that are somewhat short and only outline single skills at a time. By using videos that have a clear purpose I think the students are more likely to grasp the concepts being taught as well as be engaged in the learning.

As we have discussed before, technology is becoming more and more prevalent in the classrooms, and flipping the class is just one of the ways it is being used. By making videos available to students outside of class teachers are reaching students on many different platforms (Overmyer). Some teachers have even made videos that the students can download onto their ipods or other devices for convenience. I think this method could be very effective, especially in a mathematics classroom where students often struggle with homework when they don’t have help. When this happens the students will often give up on the homework all together, because they are frustrated with one or two problems. By switching it so that the practice occurs in the classroom, the teacher can prevent situations like this from occurring by being available for questions. (Bennet, 2012)

In theory, I think this strategy could be very effective and cut down on student frustration in the subject of math. However, in reality I’m not so sure. First of all there is the issue of not all students having access to technology resources outside of the classroom. I didn’t see anything in the readings this week on how issues like that would be handled, but it would be a big concern. Another issue I would not be entirely sure how to approach would be the need for differentiation. There are going to be students who may need more examples or a slower approach to a skill, but how do you handle that through these videos? Would the teacher just post extra videos that were optional for students to view if they were still unsure? A couple of the articles mentioned how this is a great method for differentiating the classroom but I am still a little unsure as to how they do so, unless that differentiation is only occurring during the practice in the classroom. Overall I like the idea of a flipped classroom and would be very willing to give the concept a try.



KNEWTON. (2011). The flipped classroom infographic. Retrieved from http://www.knewton.com/flipped-classroom/

Overmyer, J. (n.d.). The flipped classroom. Retrieved from http://www.flippedclassroom.com/

Bennet, B. (2012, May 3). The flipped class revealed . Retrieved from http://www.thedailyriff.com/articles/the-flipped-class-what-does-a-good-one-look-like-692.php

Week 4 Reflection Blog Post: Information Literacy and Creativity

This week’s modules, while a little intimidating, gave me a lot of information over numerous resources. I was able to play with a lot of editing and visual resources this week through iPiccy for enhancing pictures, a google custom search engine designed for math, and scratch for creating games. While I have taken a couple of computer science courses involving programming, I have to say this week’s tasks were much harder. When I started playing around with scratch I figured I’d easily be able to figure it out considering I have experience programming games, and I could not have been more wrong. I didn’t look at any tutorials, and as a result had 5 “sprites” all that talked and moved at the same time. To say it was a headache is an understatement! After that failure I decided to go back and check out some of the examples and tutorials. All it took was one good tutorial and I was on track to finish my first game “equations“. It is not the best game I’ll admit, but after playing around with the program for a while I was happy it was just finally working! I am excited to spend some more time figuring out more tools in this program because I think it could be a great resource to use in the classroom. It is one of those activities that I know I could either make for them, or even have my students make themselves and share with the class.

Before I got a chance to play with these new tools, I was able to do a lot of research on blogs and Personal Learning Networks. Before this week I had never heard of PLN, but I now realize it is something that I will benefit greatly from. After setting up my delicious account I explored the other networks that were available to join. After finishing all the modules, as well as doing some blog searching, I ended this week with 8 new web accounts! I haven’t had an opportunity to explore all of them yet, but I did take some time to look at google reader, and Technorati. I was immediately hooked to google reader with how easy it was to find blogs to subscribe to. While browsing that search engine I actually found an article that gave me an option to post to my Delicious page. From there I moved on to Technorati and focused my searches on mathematics and education. I found a few blogs I enjoyed and actually joined one blog network called Huffington Post. There I read an article about a new style of teaching that related to topics I had discussed early in the week during class (Blackmon, 2013). Since it was free to join the network I was able to leave a comment on the blog, something I would have never done before this class! The ease of which I was able to find such interesting blogs took me by surprise, I found myself lost in math blogs about the “11 Most Beautiful Math Equations” (Moskowitz, 2013) – which I can assure you includes the Pythagorean theorem and the fundamental theorem of calculus. Overall I was happy with the blogging assignments for the week because as someone new to blogging and researching bloggers I was able to get a better feel for what it was all about.


Moskowitz, C. (2013, February 2). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/the-11-most-beautiful-math-equations-2013-1

Blackmon, P. (2013, January 29). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/perea-blackmon/bringing-education-to-life_b_2577910.html