Unit 1: Article Reflection
After reading the articles from Unit 1, it made me think back to when I was in elementary school and how technology was minimal. PowerPoint and Microsoft Word were the cutting edge applications of technology at that time and computer class consisted of learning how to type with our hands covered. Teachers relied on pencil/paper assignments, chalk/white boards, textbooks, overhead projectors, planning/grade books that were written out by hand, etc. In today's day and age, technology goes hand and hand with everyday living and how a school day functions.
Many of the articles posted discussed the HOW and WHY teachers integrate technology in their classroom lessons. I believe the HOW part of the process comes from teacher readiness and flexibility to accept the need for technology in the classroom setting. One of the take-a-way ideas for me, associated with the HOW thinking, was when the use of Web 2.0 tools was mentioned as a means of engaging students in the classwork at hand by adding new dimensions to student learning. Suggestions made from the articles on how teachers can achieve this is by instituting daily practice, considering their audience, and teaching/modeling appropriate behavior. The WHY behind the use of technology integration in the classroom stems from the desire to prepare our students to become college and career ready in the future. Through the use of technology, teachers are now breaking away from the lecturing style of learning and are becoming learning facilitators instead. Teachers have the ability to guide students in their learning by providing technology choices through the various applications made available. Again, in order to do this, a strong grasp on classroom management needs to be perfected and addressed between teachers and students in order for this style to be successful all around.
On a personal note, I am learning and emotional support teacher at a middle school grades 6-8. On a daily basis my mind has to be set in differentiation mode to best navigate outcomes with my students. Using the SAMR pedagogical model helps me as a teacher with implementing technology into my teaching and how my students learn best. The SAMR model allows me to look at my students needs and plan accordingly. For example, many of my students who struggle with lengthy note taking, providing them access to fill-in-the-blank notes via Google Docs removes “shutdown” behaviors. Our students have access to Google Chrome and utilize many of the Google Apps made available to them. The district that I work in has also transitioned to using Canvas, an online community for learners to connect with teachers and classroom content. Students are able to access classroom content online that is posted and shared by the teacher. Students are also able to complete assignments and assessments to be submitted via Canvas. The use of Canvas has shifted the gears in facilitating teaching and has increased student responsibility for their own learning.
Unit 2: Personal Learning Networks
Consider your own personal learning networks. What are they?
According to Daniel R. Tobin, an essential part of learning involves creating personal learning networks -- important part of learning is to build your own personal learning network -- a group of people who can guide your learning, point you to learning opportunities, answer your questions, and give you the benefit of their own knowledge and experience. For me, this group of people would be my Special Education co-workers within my building. At times being in Special Education is lonely and lends itself to the feeling of being on our own little island within the district. Besides pushing into the classrooms, we have a whole other responsibility involving writing and implementing legal documents. I rely on my Special Education co-workers to answer my questions when writing IEP’s, provide examples of documents to best meet student needs, collaborate on the carrying out of accommodations and modifications, and so much more. I also count on networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google Apps when creating an online presence socially and professionally.
Have you evaluated what networks are most important to you?
Having and maintaining an online presence professionally has increased my ability to collaborate effectively with colleagues when I cannot be present. Since I support students in both 7th and 8th grade, attending collaborative Team Time everyday does not always happen for me with my split schedule. Using various Google Apps allows me to collaborate with both teams of teachers who teach my students on my caseload. Google Apps such as Google Forms allows me to collect data from teachers when preparing IEP documents needing input from academic core and related arts teachers. I have found that using social networks such as Facebook and Instagram has allowed me to relate to my students and how they communicate. Using both types of networks in the classroom increases engagement and personalization. In the past I have tried using Twitter to create a professional network for myself when wanting to share what is happening in my classroom; however, I found using Twitter to not be as user friendly for me (personally) compared to my success with Facebook and Instagram.
Have you narrowed down your list?
For the most part, Google Apps has been my main network for collecting data and collaborating effectively with students, colleagues, and parents. Many of the computers made available to the students in my district are Chromebooks. Students receive training at the beginning of each school year on how to access their Google Drive and utilize the Apps made available to them. Using Facebook and Instagram has allowed me to share out what is happening in my classroom with parents. Many parents enjoy seeing what is going on during the day and gives them an outlet of discussion with their son or daughter after school.
What stage of Utecht's scale do you think you are?
At this point in my career I would say I am a mix between Stage 2 Evaluation and Stage 5 Balancing. Although I have a system that works for me now, my duties within my position tend to change from year to year. I think with that being said, Stage 2 Evaluation is a constant stage that I will always be in when deciding how to best collect data and communicate with my colleagues, students and parents. I also think that Stage 5 Balancing is a stage that I am working on. Trying to juggle all of the information and data from students, colleagues, administrators, and parents can be overwhelming. Time management is essential with this step for my own sanity and success. Planning out my week ahead of time and making goals for myself of work completion helps.
Tobin, D. R. (n.d.). Building Your Personal Learning Network. Retrieved May 10, 2017, from https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=http%3A%2F%2F000gel3.myregisteredwp.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2Fsites%2F3971%2F2017%2F01%2Fbuilding-a-personal-learning-network.docx
Unit 2: Social Networking Twitter Reflection
After a week of experimentation, I am happy to report that I am pleased with returning to Twitter. I actually originally joined Twitter two school years ago to share out what I was doing within my classroom and to make connections within my own district. Sadly, I did not have a great turnout of collaboration during that round of using Twitter. During this past week, I have received valuable feedback and commentary on posts I posted. I found it amazing to be able to communicate and share teaching struggles/receive validation from classmates in this course who live across the US. I also had read great articles posted from other classmates and checked out engaging websites to use now with my own students. On the other hand, a drawback I found was the limit that is set on the wording allowed to use. At times, I found myself wanting to write a long post, but was restricted to keep my thoughts short and sweet, but maybe brief is all that is needed. Overall, I am looking forward to continuing my use of Twitter and hope to branch out looking for connections with colleagues within my own school district.
Twitter Handle - @KYannarella
Unit 3: Blog Reading Assignments
Who is the audience for the blog you are reading and does the content, writing style, and navigation meet the need of that audience?
The Discovery Educator Network National Blog lends itself to its name, it is meant to be read by educators. Educators who read this blog have accessibility to a wide range of needs in subject areas, what is trending, products and services, programs, community, and insight and conversations related to our field of work. Educators can easily have their needs met when navigating this user-friendly blog through the click of a mouse. If not, a search bar is also provided for educators who are easily trying to find specific information.
Is there anything similar in the blog-writing styles across all the blogs you read?
I thoroughly checked out the above four blogs posted and noticed many similarities and differences overall in the quality, targeted audience, purpose, and writing styles. In my opinion, I felt a common writing style used with all four blogs was to be informative and entertaining to specific audiences. Many of the articles posted discussed relevant and current news to what educators, parents, and administrators are experiencing in educational systems with their students and children.
Is reading a blog different from other types of reading? Why or why not?
Yes, reading a blog is different from other types of reading. For example, the overall format of a blog is visually different. Blogs usually are written using short sentences vs. long paragraphs. The language used in a blog is also different depending on what the purpose is. Many blogs are written to inform readers of news entertain, share media information, etc. Personally, I think that blogs have a stronger ability to relate to readers being targeted using personalization and user-friendly language.
Does it seem that writing blog entries (not comments) is different from other types of writing?
Yes, as mentioned before, blog writing is typically done using brief sentences vs. paragraphs. For the most part, writing that is posted online needs to be brief in order for readers to quickly skim or scan for the information in which they are searching for. A reader can easily navigate to the next article or page if visually they are overwhelmed by the amount of writing and overall layout.
Do the comments from others on a blog post help make the blog post more meaningful?
Yes, comments from others on a blog post can make or break the post for many readers checking out the blog. If negative comments are left, the reader already has a negative mindset about the blog and/or may navigate away to the next blog or article. Commenting allows the audience to express their opinions and thoughts about works published, but commenting can also create a ripple effect of negativity.
What aspects of a blog would enhance student learning and why?
Blogging can enhance student writing, especially when writing an analysis or critique of peer work. Blogging also allows for student collaboration to not only happen within the classroom setting, but outside of the classroom as well. This aspect allows group projects to happen instead of the responsibility falling on the parents to plan for their children to meet with group members on a school night or over a weekend to complete class work. In the end, blogging is also environmentally friendly when students can post their work online vs. printing work to be handed in to teachers to grade.
Unit 3: Podcast
This assignment was my first experience using ipadio. I decided to set up my channel online and record my podcast over the phone. I found the process to be user friendly and easy to set up and navigate. I struggled at first with locating how to download the podcast to my computer, but eventually found where to right click to download the audio file as an MP3. Honestly, I was amazed how fast I was alerted via email of my first successful podcast submission. For the Web 2.0 podcast pitch I chose to speak out about Storybird. Storybird is a free Web 2.0 tool for educators to use with their students as a language arts tool. I specifically picked this app to talk about because I have been looking for a tool like this to use with my students. The writing process continues to be a struggle for quite a few of my students. Personally, I think Storybird may give my students reassurance and confidence they need to jump start the thinking and idea process of writing.
Unit 4: RSS and Aggregation
Feedly has the ability to store large amounts of resources that are able to be organized, shared, and read on the go when ready. On a daily basis, communication is happening primarily through the use of email in a school setting. On average, I personally receive 30 to 40 emails per day, 150 to 200 email per week. Sifting through emails to determine what is necessary to read vs. what I can ignore is tedious work. Using a tool like Feedly gives users the ability to search for and subscribe to topics of their choice. Using keywords when searching makes it helpful to gain access to exactly what is desired. Users are then able to organize topics into Feeds or Boards storing alike topics with other useful resources. Personally, I enjoy the feature of being able to name my Feeds or Boards to keep my resources organized for easy access in the future. As an educator, Feedly is a useful tool to utilize for storing resources to be used in the classroom or to simply read educational articles of your choosing while also receiving updates.
Teachers can mimic the function of Feedly by creating their own classroom blogs to be utilized by students and even parents if they wish. Using a classroom blog allows for learning and communication to extend beyond the school day. Teachers can post useful classroom announcements; upcoming assignments, share news about what is happening in the classroom, showcase student work, and provide important news for parents. Teachers can also have students create their own blogs to use as collaboration between other classmates and teachers. Classroom blogs allow for a place where information and resources can be stored for using when needed.
Unit 4: Critical Evaluation Reflection & Google Slide Presentation
After reading the articles and resources in Unit 4 about critical evaluation, I was left with wondering when is it essential for teachers to teach critical evaluation to their students. I decided my twitter survey question would be just that. How often do teachers review critical evaluation of resources with their students? I chose to narrow in on whether or not this instruction is done at the beginning of the year, when needed for an assignment or research, or multiple times throughout the school year. The majority of the results fell at happening when needed for an assignment or research. I believe those results to be expected and wonder if teachers could possibly save time when assigning assignments and/or research to not have to teach critical evaluation or resources if this type of instruction is already happening multiple times throughout the school year.
Creative Commons licensing allows for teachers and students to legally copy, reuse, and modify online resources. Creative Commons licensing also allows for collaboration to happen fairly between resources being reused. As I read through the articles and watched the slideshows on Creative Commons licensing, I was thinking about how often my own students are assigned projects and assignments that involve online research looking for pictures and information. Our school environment has become so heavily technology based that it is essential for our students know to do’s and don’t’s of using material from the internet. Personally, I believe that the earlier we start talking about and using Creative Common licensing, the outcome and products students create will be better since it teaches them what they can do vs. what can not be done. In the end, Creative Common licensing is a time saver and allows users to not have to reinvent the wheel.
Jessicacoates, copyright academic Follow. (2008, October 09).
Students will ignore lessons that. Retrieved May 25, 2017, from https://www.slideshare.net/Jessicacoates/creative-commons-in-the-classroom-presentation/40-ulliStudents_will_ignore_lessons_that
Google Slides URL: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1CQ7uvOLMha-UFzzkVoEKWfoYuB_xbjMloxc57PpyeOE/edit?usp=sharing
Unit 5: Padlet
I created a Padlet for a recent Social Studies project that my students are working on. We are wrapping up our Sahara Desert Unit and this Padlet assignment is a great way for my students to showcase what they have learned from the Unit. Check out my Padlet assignment at https://padlet.com/krista_yannarella/phmepy7t6tao
Unit 5: Adobe Video
Video URL: https://spark.adobe.com/video/HIbiy4Qj6DqhX
Unit 5: Blog Post Reflection
Blog URL: https://krista-speced.tumblr.com/
Check out my blog post which discusses the use of Padlet and Adobe Video and how to utilize both tools with students!
Unit 6: Timeline Infographic
Google Photos is a great tool for students to use when storing pictures. My students especially love that Google automatically saves their work as they are working. Working with emotional support students, this feature is a life saver because it decreases the stress of students losing their hard work and the unnecessary anxiety that comes along with losing work. Using Google Photos as a Timeline would be a great beginning of the year project for students to complete as an introduction to teachers. Typically I have my students complete surveys at the beginning of the year, but I would love to see pictures related to major life events that are of importance to the students. Students can even be given the opportunity to present their timelines as an introduction piece to classmates as well.
Timeline 1 - Google Photos URL: https://goo.gl/photos/TXs735vjMssKumXS9
Timeline 2 - Canva:
Unit 6: Statistical Infographic
Unit 6: Infographics reflection blog post
Blog URL: https://krista-speced.tumblr.com/
Take a look at my recent blog post which discusses the use of infographics with students with special needs. Not only does infographics showcase data, but allows students to collaborate, research, and physically create a project showing their work.
Unit 7: PSA - Assignment 1
Blog URL: https://krista-speced.tumblr.com/
Read my Blog post to see my responses to the PSA videos watched and taken on through a student role.
Unit 7: PSA - aSSIGNMENT 2
Watch my PSA video I created from the viewpoint of a student convincing a teacher to use technology in the classroom setting.