This semester has most definitely been a learning experience for me in so many different ways. The past few months presented obstacle after obstacle for me and for my family. It has been a long and stressful journey, but I have managed to make it through a stronger person. I can honestly say that I have learned so much as my self as a person and as a future teacher. This IT 465 class has certainly been a major contributor to my learning experiences. I have gained valuable knowledge that I can utilize throughout the course of my career. This has been the first time in four years of college that I have had a job while taking classes. I currently work three jobs and take 15 hours of classes. On top of that my classes are now all online, this means instead of simply sitting in on lectures, taking notes, and studying for tests – I am now responsible for reading chapters to take my own notes and pass tests as well as completing participation assignments and numerous projects in all five classes. This means I am doing much more than I have ever done in the past and with all of the unfortunate circumstances involving my family this semester, I have had some major setbacks and have had to learn how to overcome obstacles while still trying to meet deadlines. Thanks to some very understanding professors and their dedication to the success of their students, I have been able to maintain my GPA while learning how to be a better me. This means managing my time in a better fashion and prioritizes my assignments and projects to meet all deadlines with room to spare in case something was to come up. I have been able to work harder than I have ever thought I would be able to, proving to myself that I do indeed have what it takes to not give up on the goals I set for myself.
From an academic standpoint, this class has taught me about so many valuable tools and applications available to the modern day teacher. These tools are all meant to make the teacher’s job easier and more efficient while enhancing the student’s learning experience. I can honestly say that I know for a fact, as a teacher, I will be using 80 percent of the tools I was introduced to during this class. I know this with certainty because I have already began to use these tools now, just in my other classes. I know this new found tools will only help me to become a more successful teacher. I will be able to provide my students with the higher standard of learning because of the knowledge I have gained from this one semester alone. This goes for the improvements that I have made to my work ethic as a person and the new “weapons” for teaching my future students. I cannot believe that I have gained this much knowledge in just my beginning block of my teaching degree, I cannot wait to see how I will grow as a person and as a teacher in the semesters to come.
This next project was on assistive technology. The assignment required us to use a variety of different functions on the computer and paste a screenshot in a PowerPoint to show how different our screen looks and how the function works. This project was a bit frustrating at times because first of all, I had to locate a computer with Windows software, then I had a hard time getting some of the assistive helpers to work. But, once I figured it out – I was completely amazed. I had no idea computers could do most of this. I think it is incredible. I love that it assists people with disability in using the computer. I had to complete Curriculum Adaptations for my SPE 400 class and wish I had known about this assistive technology before hand. As a teacher, I will definitely be able to let my students who may have disabilities still have the luxury of using technology because of these helpful functions. It will be great for my future curriculum adaptations no matter if they have problems seeing, hearing, or even typing on the keyboard.
Assistive Tech – Elizabeth Bryan
This assignment required us to use a program that checks papers for plagiarism. The first step of the project was to locate an article that answered the questions we were required to answer then copy and paste the entire document into TurnItIn.com. After you did that, you got a similarity score back. Of course the score of the first submission will be very close to 100%. This is meant to show students that you will get caught if you try to plagiarize. So, the next step was to use the same article, but summarize it in your own words and then submit that document to TurnItIn.com. The goal was to get less than 10% plagiarism; if you didn’t then you had to complete it again. I received a 0% similarity score the first time. I believe this is because I have had a lot of practice with doing my best not to plagiarize. TurnItIn.com is a program that almost all of my teachers used throughout high school and college. It works like a charm. There is nothing that gets by on TurnItIn.com. It is a great tool to help keep students from plagiarizing. It not only helps detect plagiarism from the Internet, but also from submitting work of a previous student. As a teacher, I will want to use this program. I feel that if students have to get used to submitting their work to this site in school, they will form the habit of not plagiarizing once they finish school. This goes back to teaching digital citizenship to students and I feel it is a great way to help prevent students from making the mistake of plagiarizing because it is just to easy for them to do and get away with if their work is not submitted to a program like this. It is much more difficult to detect and confirm plagiarism unless the teacher is using a program such as TurnItIn.com.
Here is a copy of my final submission to TurnItIn.
Turn It In Final Submission
Our next assignment was to create a website using Google sites. I was so excited to complete this project. I love the idea of having a class website, somewhere that parents and students can reference back to if they ever have any questions or concerns. I definitely want to be the teacher who has a class site. I only included a few tabs in my site now because I do not actually have a class now, but someday when I do I want to include everything and anything in between. I will be sure to add items such as class pictures and finished projects along with all the basic and not so basic class information. Class rules, schedules, and calendars will definitely be included, but I would like my class site to be a place where parents can not only use it as a reference for information they need to locate, but also a place they can keep up and actually see what we do in class. I know that the parents would love the idea of a class site. The first being the information they can locate there, papers get lost so easily by kids the parents may not receive information at times. It is also a great way to contact the teacher with questions or concerns and especially because they will be able to see what they may not have ever seen before – their children in their own classroom working away not knowing their parents will be able to see pictures of them performing this activity.
In saying all of that, I do not feel I will be using Google sites when I complete my class site. I did not like how basic it looked. I am not satisfied with the finished site I created. I wanted to be able to have a more original background. All in all, the Google sites was easy to navigate and use. I have no complaints on that end, I just wish I had been able to perfect the appearance of my site more to my standards. I would have liked for the fonts and themes section to have had more options. Below is a link to my finished class site using Google sites.
Miss Bryan’s Kindergarten Class Page
I have discussed teaching digital citizenship to your students in a previous post, but after you have taught your students great manners to use on the Internet you will need great and innovative ways to incorporate the Internet into your classroom. The Internet can be a great resource for teachers to use in all aspects of their lesson. The first way is that teachers can find great new lesson plans, crafts and art projects, or games and fresh ideas on the Internet. There are tons of sites for teachers to share their ideas of lessons or things for the classroom with other teachers. Teachers have even begun making extra money from sharing their ideas with other teachers on the Internet. Besides using the Internet for resources to find things to do in the classroom, the Internet can be used inside the classroom for many things as well. The most obvious is that the Internet can help students find information for research purposes. Students can surf the Internet and look up information for projects and reports. This also teaches them responsibility of obtaining information from the Internet. But, the Internet can be used for so much more than just looking information for research purposes. Teachers can use the Internet to provide the class with valuable learning experiences with tools such as virtual field trips and simulations. Experiences like these were not available to students before the Internet provided us with learning tools such as these. The Internet provides the class with more tools for things such as collaborative group projects with access to discussion boards and working on the same project with applications such as Google groups. Students can use websites from the Internet for drill and practice or tutorials for studying. They can also find educational games or educational videos when surfing the Internet. Teachers can utilize the Internet in so many endless possible ways. You can find more examples throughout the projects located within my blog.
For this next assignment, we had to use online software to make a test and answer key, rubric, and bookmark on a subject we will be teaching in the future. I chose to use First grade hibernation as my subject. This was extremely beneficial because this is the same subject that I will be using for a final lesson I will be teaching in another class. I will be able to use the tools from this project for that lesson at the end of the semester. The fact that I am already using this software now proves that I will definitely be able to use it when I have my own class. The software programs themselves are extremely easy to navigate and use. It takes barely any time to come up with a simply made, great looking result. I am definitely a fan of the software we used for this project, especially the test and rubric programs. I loved how the test can be made online, then taken by the students and graded for you through the answer key you made. I also was very impressed that you could choose a content area and criteria for the rubric and they would fill in the rest of the chart for you. I like how professional it looks because the template is already there at your disposal. As of now, I haven’t used the bookmark software for much, but I know that one day it will be a very beneficial way for my students to get more exposure to a new topic or study for a test.
You can find the links to my final web tools assignments listed below.
Hibernation Test Answer Key
As elementary teachers, we have the responsibility of teaching our students social skills in the classroom, not just academics. We teach them social skills such as “Don’t talk to strangers”, “Be honest”, “Stealing is wrong”, “Treat our friends how we want to be treated” and “Ignore bullies and tell a teacher if you feel threatened”. If we are teaching our students social skills such as these to use in face-to-face situations, why not teach them the same skills in relation to using the Internet. With the growing rise of technology use, digital citizenship is just as important for our students to learn as other citizenship skills. We have students as young as six years old who have social networking profiles. They are also talking to other kids through playing online games and networking sites for their favorite games and TV shows. So digital citizenship and manners for online users should start to become a priority for us teachers to teach our students inside the classroom as well.
This doesn’t mean we should stop teaching children how to say “please” and “thank you,” and that bullies still exist in the face-to-face world, it just means that it is vital that we treat online safety and digital citizenship with the same amount of seriousness and attention. The growing trend of schools banning and blocking social media sites and mobile devices frightens me. It’s the equivalent of telling students, “Sure, go ahead and play outside, but don’t talk to anyone and make sure you don’t use the monkey bars.” Instead, we can apply our same social lessons and rules to our lessons of digital citizenship.
Moral Lessons Carried Out
If we start teaching some of the same moral life lessons applied to Internet use to younger students, they will know what is right and wrong on the Internet when they get older. Some lessons can be applied in a more obvious way like “Don’t talk to strangers” that is pretty straightforward whether it is in a face-to-face situation or on the Internet. Other lessons may need to be explained a bit further, like for example plagiarizing or breaking a copyright law is stealing and making fun of someone over the Internet even though they cannot see you or do not necessarily know who you are is still bullying and very wrong. If we as teachers except responsibility for teaching our students how to properly use technology and become a model digital citizen, our kids will be more responsible for how they act online or using technology in the classroom. This would make using technology in the classroom a lot less stressful on everyone because you will know your students know what is right and wrong when it comes to using technology.
A great way to teach your students the importance of digital citizenship is by showing them a video like the one listed below..
Digital Citizenship Video Example