My Google Extension Exploration!

Alec presented us with a great deal of classroom resources/teacher resources this week! I decided for my blog post that I am going to experiment with some of the Google Chrome Extensions Alec has provided for us. I have not used any of the extensions presented in either my personal or professional life. Instead of investigating all of them, I am going to choose three that I am most interested in using in the future. I will reflect on my initial thoughts of the tool, how the tool could potentially improve student learning in the classroom,  and the privacy issues the tool may have.

First, I explore Distraction Free Youtube (DF Youtube). I use YouTube 6/7 times a week in my own classroom. I am constantly bombarded with advertisements and commercials when showing a video. I feel like this extension will be an awesome tool for the classroom!

My Initial Thoughts How can this tool improve
Student learning?

Issues of privacy

  • Love this tool.
  • Make planning online projects easy as there will be no worries of unwanted pop-ups/adds
  • Super easy to navigate as a teacher.
  • I often use YouTube to show video and need to skip over advertisement in the middle of my video. I now would not have to worry about that!
  • Students will be  free from distraction adds that pop up
  • Comments are hidden and so students will not be able to see inappropriate comments IF any.
  • Students will have more learning time!!
  • My initial thought is that there are very few privacy issues.
  • My only concern may be if children accidentally view an inappropriate video.
  • According to the creator, no history is tracked.

Grammarly is the next extension I chose to explore. I am always looking for different ways to teach and help students become better writers! When I saw Grammarly  on the list, I instantly wanted to explore it. On top of wanting to become a better writing teacher, I am always looking for ways to improve my own writing skills!

My Initial Thoughts

How can this tool improve
Student learning?

Issues of privacy
  • I would definitely use this tool when writing papers!
  • Has many users and therefore seems credible.
  • I did notice  when testing out the free version it only had so many features. It kept trying to upcharge me.
  • Haiming Li from our class said it perfectly! “It’s not only helped to check wrong spellings but also it gives me lots of grammar. suggestions such as articles and syntax” …students can very well benefit in this way!
  • Students can become better writers by going through their errors and making them correct
  • Encourages students in a positive way to improve their writing.
  • Not MANY concerns
  • May be concerned about the privacy of my own/students papers as they are being inserted into the web.

Lastly, I explore Tweetdeck.  Tweetdeck is definitely something I could see myself using in the future. I have heard many great things about the way it is set up and used.

My Initial Thoughts

How can this tool improve
Student learning?

Issues of privacy

  • Love the format of Tweetdeck, It is super organized.
  • You can choose your interests and it will automatically sort the tweets into categories
  • When taking an Edtech class with Alec, will be super easy to follow classmates tweets and follow along with any tweet that is being posted by them (track hashtags)
  • Can be beneficial when using twitter as a classroom/school communication tool for parents.
  • For older grades, it can be a away they can keep track of school announcements and due dates
  • Once it on there, it’s ON THERE.
  • If students “accidentally” tweet something they are not supposed to, it is hard to control that as a teacher.
  • If YOU as a teacher accidentally tweet or share something inappropriate..you could get in trouble.  

On a side note, I found a great article that outlines 50 ways you can use twitter in the classroom! Check it out… http://www.teachhub.com/50-ways-use-twitter-classroom

Overall, I have enjoyed all of the google extensions that I have explored. I definitely will be taking the time to check them all out as I am always looking for ways to incorporate new and engaging ways to use technology in the classroom!

Which google extensions were your favorite and why?!

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My Teaching Philosophy!

Wow! This week’s zoom session was interesting to say the least! It was very insightful to learn about the many of the educational theories that have existed over time and how some of their beliefs have carried over into today’s educational world.

I definitely think my teaching philosophy and beliefs have shifted and changed over my five years of teaching experience. My first year of teaching my goal at the end of the day was just to have a plan for the following day. As well, to create the most engaging lessons I possible could with the materials and resources I had at that time. Over the years however, my philosophy has become much more clear as I now have a better sense of what I truly believe as a teacher. I  have a few underlying beliefs that I can describe for you in a few points. These include:

  • I believe that every child in the classroom should feel SAFE and welcomed.  
  • My three classroom beliefs are Respect Self, Respect Others, Respect community (the following is a picture of the beliefs posted in my classroom). I believe that it is my duty to model these important concepts in the classroom.
  • I believe that every child should be set up for success regardless of what their challenges, strengths, and needs are.
  • I strive to make sure every child should leave the classroom with a smile on their face everyday.

I think my beliefs continue to deepen as I continue my career as an educator.  Are your beliefs somewhat similar or completely different than the ones I have outlined? Which ones do you agree with the most and which ones do you disagree with?

Switching gears here to Alec’s presentation on Presentation on educational theories of knowledge and learning. There was one particular theories in which I could comply with. The way Robert Gagne described how an instructional period should be set up made complete sense to me.

The process he describes is very similar to the way I set up and plan for any type of lesson in my classroom. I believe that providing learning guidance and feedback are two of the most important steps in this process. Ongoing informal assessment is key to the success of our students success in the classroom.

Lastly, the readings/ resource Alec has posted thus this far have been very insightful. Over the course of my masters classes, we have talked and learned about many educational philosophers. The resource Alec posted called A map of learning theories is an excellent resource! I find it presents the philosophers and their believes in an easy to read and straight to the point matter. As I read read through the map, I find myself saying things like……Oh! Right, we talked about Piaget in EC&I 804! Vigotsky believed in zone of proximal development ! Oh, right Dewey is all about experiential learning……..we learned about him last semester.

                                                        Which article stood out most to you?!

 

My Understanding of Educational Technology

What a fantastic beginning to EC&I 833! I feel that this class is going to be very insightful in many ways. I am looking forward to hearing my classmates opinions about their understanding of what technology should look like in the classroom. As well, being a part of a variety of  presentations centered around technology.

This week blogs post will be focused on the following questions:
What is my personal contemporary understanding of educational technology?
What might a contemporary definition of educational technology look like?
How has your own understanding of educational technology been shaped (consciously or not) by the rich historical and philosophical contexts?
I will do my best to explain myself however if something does not make sense feel free to ask and I will clarify.

First off, my personal definition of educational technology is:
Educational Technology is when an educator incorporates technology into instruction and/or assessment in a variety of ways throughout the curriculum with a vision and purpose.

Therefore, my understanding is that students need technology. There is no arguing that as our world today is very technologically dependent. However, the way in which a teacher chooses to use the technology can either have huge benefits or not. I think it’s important for teachers (including myself) to do some self questioning/checklist before integrating technology into a class or lesson. The following questions/checklist could look something like this:

—Will using this technology enhance student learning?
—Is using this technology purposeful?
—Will students see the purpose in this technology?
—Will this technology be engaging for students?
—What is the goal of using the technology?
—Can using this somehow benefits students in the real world?

I think if we as teachers can answer some of these questions positively, than we should definitely proceed with using the technology.

 

I am now going to talk about what has shaped my own beliefs of technology. When I was in grade school, I remember when we first got a desktop computer at home! It was the coolest. I could play games, chat with my friends, and do the odd school assignment. In terms of  at school, I remember loving using the computers in my elementary/high school. I remember being so engaged and excited especially when we using power point! My excitement carried overs in high school when being able to spend time in the computer lab.

In saying that, my understanding of educational technology  has definitely been shaped through my own experiences with technology both in my personal and professional life. I definitely have  experienced both the negative and positive sides of technology in both instances. With that being said, I believe that technology can STILL be a wonderful, useful, and purposeful tool used in all aspects of life.