Howard's Corner

the journey of becoming a teacher

Week 9: lesson planning

Lessening planning can be very challenging for some teachers when trying to add the ISTE standards into the plan. Not all teachers are as technological as others,  not all have the same resources as others do.  I belive the first step is to not get overwhelmed.  These standards can be easily be achieved as well as very beneficial to our students. Here is a blog post on editorial to help teachers get started on technology integration in their classroom.  I believe another great tool is each other, weather that be Pinterest, teachers in your school or your even your old Technology in Education professors website. Using others ideas, tips, tricks, tools and technology knowledge can make all the difference in your lesson plan ease. My last bit of advice is to not be affriad, don’t be affriad of change, new ideas or even the unknown.  Technology will be forever evolving and we have to accept that and embrace it!

Week 7: Fostering Student Creativity with Multimedia

This week we made a short 30 second commercial for WOU in class, edited and posted it to YouTube for the class to watch and enjoy. Although the videos were a little rough with the short amount of time we had, they were fun t make and was a nice change of pace to the normal classroom structure. Multimedia project, especially video creation and podcasting, can be extremely valuable in the classroom in any grade! They can be used to make digital book reviews or even better, a book trailer. Multimedia projects could mean skits, commercials, new broadcast, recording a science experiment, a video diary, and so on.

Erin Macpherson gives a great list of her top 10 favorite uses of podcast in the classroom. Being that podcast are my least favorite of the two multimedia forms we are discussing it is nice to get some ideas from other teachers. Over on Simplek12 website, I love the idea they have for podcasting. Not only is it a great tool to use as an assignment but it can be a great resource for teachers to make. The suggestion that I loved the most was their #1.

Prepare Substitute Teachers
Podcasts present an excellent way for teachers to prepare ahead of time and leave instructions for substitute teachers. Podcasts could allow you to suggest subject matter that should be covered as well as demonstrate how a typical class period runs.

Record a podcast with a week’s worth of instructions for your substitute teacher to use with your English class. Break the podcasts down so that there is one for each day you will be absent. Have instructions about class assignments for diagramming sentences, homework instructions for reading assignments, class assignments for presenting a poem, and a day for class discussion about the book they read.

Another great idea from their site was to keep absent students up to date. Now this might be tedious when your having to do it every day because someone is always absent…and always asking “Teacher, what did I miss last week?” To take that burden off your shoulders, you can use a podcast!

Create School Announcements
Podcasts can be a really fun and creative way for your students to make classroom or school announcements, no matter what age they are! When you incorporate podcasts into your announcements, students can be kept informed with what is going on around them.

Let your students host a morning news outlet where they can showcase podcasts they have created.  Students should be encouraged to interview their peers, the administration, and other teachers to find newsworthy stories to report on.  Schools can use the podcasts to make announcements via their Web site.

Web 2.0: Visual Creation Tools

Using Web 2.0 resources to create visual tools in the classroom is a great way to keep students interested by being relateable to the future generation of digital natives. They allow for creativity while checking their knowledge and comprehension.

Types of Visuals



Charts & Timelines




Week 5: Web 2.0 Tools

Easelly is a web 2.0 site that students can use to make millions of info graphs for free. There are templates available to get the students started. This web 2.0 tool is awesome because it gives many creative ways to gather and organize information. The graphics could be used in many ways such as presentations, projects, research and even to study. The idea of using this web tool verses the old school pen and paper method is not only for a cleaner and fancier graphic but to also relate to our technology savvy students. Educators could even use this site as a tool to present information in a clean and interesting format.

Before using the site students will be required to have their information and then can use the site as a way of reinforcing that gained knowledge. It forces students to fully understand the information in a way that they can organize it in a comprehensible manor. When using a template the website is very user friendly and simple to use. If your up for a little more of a challenge you have the option to free style and not use a template. I find this option to be a little more advanced and would take someone not only creative but familiar with the tool. With that being said I think from about 5th grade and up this website would be extremely effective in the classroom.

Week 4: Super Digital Citizen

On the Teaching Channel website, we find a video of a 5th grade Teacher named Mr. Pane. The lesson he is modeling is about digital citizenship. He uses Superheros and the tool of making comic strips on the students lap tops as an engaging way to teach students about their digital responsibilities of safety, responsibility and respect. By letting students custom make their superhero he is making the lesson fun, exciting and relatable. Mr. Pane allows he students to use their creativity and enjoy a lesson that could have been very boring or felt like they were being reprimanded. The use of comic strips as a form of story boarding and brain storming gives this lesson multiple aspects because now he is touching on reading and writing. The use of gallery walks allows the students to learn from each other as well as grow their self esteem by having them show off what they created. This activity also gets the students up and moving and their blood flowing again after sitting at the computer for some time making their comic strip.

Week 4: Copyright

In recent discussions of copyright laws, a controversial issue has been whether these laws are being followed in educational settings or not.  On the one hand, some argue that if the material is being used for educational reasons than copyright laws can be ignored.  From this perspective, teachers feel the pressure of tight budgets from their school distract and feel if they are breaking copyright laws for the good of their students education than it is alright.  On the other hand, however, others argue that these laws exist to protect the owners of the copyright and should be followed. According to this view, teachers should be leading by example to their students, we can not look down on them for plagiarizing when we stole the material for the lesson.  In sum then, the issue is how can teachers use material to help their students education but not break copyright laws. 

The answer to this is called “Fair Use”, which allows some flexibility with copyright laws when used in an educational setting. There are Four test for Fair Use that can help guide teachers when trying to decide whether something is legal to use or not. 

  1. Will the material be used for a non-profit/noncommercial educational institution?
  2. What is the nature of the work being used?
  3. How much of the work are you wanting to use?
  4. How will your use of the work effect the market value of the work being copied?

Week 3: Wikipedia

In recent discussions of Wikipedia and other online research sources, a controversial issue has been whether students have the ability to evaluate the data they find correctly.  On the one hand, some argue that they don’t have these skills and should avoid questionable sites such as Wikipedia.  From this perspective, it is argued that students need to avoid these sites rather than learn how to filter out the factual information and the false findings online.  On the other hand, however, others argue that students are capable of this time of differentiation and we should be teaching them the tools in order to do so.  According to this view, students should be learning the same strategies we adults use on a daily bases in order to evaluate information.  In sum then, the issue becomes whether we should be teaching students these tools or not, to me this answer is obvious.

My own view is that not teaching the strategies to students would be a disservice and set them up for failure as they get older. We cannot send children out into the world without critical thinking skills or  the knowledge to question information.  Though I concede that it may be harder in the lower grade levels, I still maintain that it is important and something very much needed for 21st century learners.  For example, when people start believing everything they read online we create a generation of ignorant and gullible citizens. In addition, when students aren’t taught how to decipher a creditable source from a not, they are easily trapped in a small narrow group of resources when there are so many great tools out there for them to use.

“Teachers will not be replaced by technology, but teachers who don’t use technology will be replaced by those who do.”     Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

Week 1

In recent discussions of technology in the classroom, a controversial issue has been whether it is being used right or not.  On the one hand, some argue that “technology should not just allow us to do traditional in a different way; it should allow us to do things that we thought were not possible.”  From this perspective, we see technology in a classroom as a positive as long as it is used in a creative and enriching way to strengthen our children’s learning.  On the other hand, however, others argue that “the right technology may be a pencil.”  According to this view, technology should not be used when it is not needed. This viewpoint argues that technology is not always needed in an educational setting that sometimes pencil and paper will do the job just fine and the technology would be frivolous.  In sum then, the issue is whether technology is the right answer and when that is the case.

My own view is that we need to change the American approach to education as a whole to keep up with current society and our future. When this happens technology use in the classroom will become much more important, relevant and no longer futile.  Though I concede that pencil and paper is still an important tool, I still maintain that technology can open the door to so many educational outlets and experiences that generations in the past never could of dreamed of. Marc Prensky explains,

School is certainly not about the future, which kids tell us is their most pressing concern. If schools were future oriented, they would be full of classes in programming, multimedia literacy and creation, astronautics, bioethics, genomics, and nanotechnology. Science fiction and fantasy literature would be a part of the curriculum, as representative of alternative visions of the future. Students would be learning and practicing such future-oriented skills as collaborating around the world electronically and learning to work and create in distributed teams.

Although some might object that education should be focused only on the past and current information, I would reply that although these are both important much can be gained from future thinking for our society as a whole. When we start teaching and preparing our students for their future and take a more relevant approach on education we will engage our students, keep their attention and prepare them to succeed.

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