Useful tweets

Over the course of this summer I have kept my eyes out for tweets that really stood out to me.  A few of these include:

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This tweet included a colorful document with 8 phrases that are very uplifting and positive.  These were very influential to read for myself, and also for students to read.  I love finding positive sentences that I can apply to my life.  I want to be an influential teacher to my students and this is one resource that I can use.

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The two tweets above I found to be helpful tools in the classroom.  The first “50 Questions To Help Students Think About What They Think”, is a great resource to bring into a classroom for more in depth thinking.  This could be helpful for elementary school classes, as well as secondary, because these students may not know how to think critically or deeply yet.  This set of questions can prompt their thinking. The tweet underneath was a poster that helped distinguish between editing and revising skills.  This is something I will definitely be keeping and bringing into my classroom if we are using these skills.  The tweet led me to an awesome poster with a chart on these two skills. I love finding posters and tips, and these two really stood out to me.

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The last tweet I included is one I just came across.  I am very interested in learning more about differentiated instruction and this was useful for me to read!  I am starting to gain more knowledge on this topic, and this resource gave me more information that I had not come across yet. The site that this tweet took me to was short and sweet.  It got to the point and gave me the information that is helpful!

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Flipped Lesson

Here is a look at my first flipped lesson we made for class!  I used Powtoons (which I would completely recommend- if your computer isn’t miserably slow…).  I added my voice through Garageband.  The process was time consuming but pretty easy overall!

Here is a worksheet that the students will have to fill out and bring in to class the next day

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Should cell phones be used in classrooms?

A hot topic right now is banning or allowing cell phones in schools.  I read an article “5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cell Phones in Class” by Michael Soskil.  Let me start off by saying I already disagree with the title of this article.  Before reading the rest of the article I put a few thoughts of mine together… Even though people can make many points on how smartphones are useful in classrooms, they are still a distraction when it all comes down to it.  There are traditional aspects that still belong in the classroom and smartphones will completely eliminate these.  Technology is important to incorporate in the classroom but there are numerous other ways this can be done. The following are my thoughts on their 5 reasons why cell phones are useful in class.

1. The points they made on smartphones being almost crucial in all careers is true, however this doesn’t mean that they should be used in class.  If a job requires a calculator to be used, students should learn how to use calculators.  Having a calculator on a smartphone will just be more helpful and convenient in the future or at home.

2. Their second point was pretty valid.  If schools are having budget cuts maybe they should look to allowing the students’ to use their smartphones in class. However, this may also be difficult if some students don’t have a smartphone or even a cell phone.  This could cause more problems.

3. Tests of recall may not directly prepare students for what lies outside of the classroom, but everyone must still know this knowledge.  Students still need to learn the content and recall information in order to pass through the grades.  Cell phones may be a good way for students to collaborate with each other but this does not mean that they should be required to do this in class.  I believe that cell phones are starting to take away the face-to-face contact, and having them in school is proving this even more.

4. Instead of completely allowing cell phones in a classroom, maybe teachers can incorporate computers and iPads more often so that their students can learn how to use these tools.  Administrators using iPhones or iPads is not exactly a double standard because students are supposed to be learning or listening, not using their iPhones all through class.

5. This point I do agree with.  Teachers are a great source of teaching students how to be “safe” with their technology.  With that said, it does have to be in the right situation or atmosphere.

Overall, I don’t think that cell phones should be completely and strictly banned from schools, but I do believe that they shouldn’t be a main aspect in the classroom.  Technology should be incorporated and there are many other tools that can be used that dont involve having cell phones out in class.  I think that allowing students to explore on iPads or laptops can reach the same focus that they wanted with smartphones.  Having smartphones out and openly allowed in class can cause so many distractions because of the personal aspects involved in them.

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We should look at this resource to get tips on using iPads and technology in the class!

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“The New Digital Learning Playbook” – how are students learning with digital resources and tools?

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I just read a recent and very interesting report on technology use for students, “The New Digital Learning Playbook: Understanding the Spectrum of Students’ Activities and Aspirations” from Speak Up 2013 National Findings. People often talk about how children growing up now are “digital natives”, however this report stated that there are a lot of differences between these children in terms of their use and aspiration for technology. I thought this was a very good point because every child is different in what they know how to do with technology and if they are even interested in it to begin with. Some of these students don’t even have access to internet or any technology. This report looked at surveys that answered the following questions: How are K-12 students currently using digital tools and resources to support schoolwork activities?, How are K-12 students currently using digital tools and resources to enable out of school learning activities?, and lastly What are K-12 students’ aspirations for using digital tools and resources within new innovative learning environments?

The surveys showed a lot of interesting information regarding technology use among all aged students. They found that these students are manipulating and modifying the standard use to meet their individual learning needs. Some things they use are online textbooks or online tests. As a teacher I feel like these aspects would be very useful and convenient for students and teachers as well. If you give students more options, such as the opportunity of technological devices and resources, they are more apt to learn in the way that is best for them.

One thing that still blows my mind is that these students are getting into social media and social networking at such a young age. A lot of younger children are starting to have their own mobile devices, either smartphones, tablets, or laptops. The report stated that girls are more into social media, probably because of the social aspect. The report explained that these social networking sites are enabling students’ learning outside of the classroom. By having access to technology, students can text their classmates for help, find videos online to help them, skype or ichat with classmates, or even use facebook to collaborate on projects. I never really looked at social networking as a means to education but the more I learn about it, the more I realize we should use these tools to help our students succeed in a way that they can engage in. One thing i’m not quite sure I agree with is that these digital/multiplayer games students play have learning benefits if they’re used in schools. I guess I will need to be exposed to more of these games to see their actual use and benefits, especially in the classroom.

Overall, even though each child is different in their experience and skills with technology, we should incorporate the beneficial aspects into the classroom to pursue interests and success. By allowing our students to use technology in the classroom, teachers can monitor what they’re getting into and help teach them the safety aspects of the internet that they may not be learning at home. Schools should provide school-wide internet access and the ability to use mobile devices so that these students can use those tools for their individual learning. The report stated that these are the top aspirations for the “ultimate school”. Teachers should expand their technological knowledge to help students learn socially with these new digital tools. The opportunities are almost endless, and schools should be the place to take advantage of that.