Global Learning in Kindergarten

17 Jul

The article entitled, I heard them say, Love is the Way, was written by Miss Knight and can be found at her fabulous blog: http://missnightmutters.blogspot.com/2011/03/i-heard-them-say-love-is-way.html

 Summary:

This article was written by a technology-savvy Canadian kindergarten teacher who began a project with her class called Kindergarten Around the World.  Miss Knight’s class liked up with another kindergarten class in East Borneo, Indonesia to create a virtual exchange.  The classes created an imaginary kindergarten student named Ella.  Both of the classes voted on her appearance and interests which was a collaboration of the two countries.  Through the use of Twitter and other forms of technology, the classes were able to communicate.  What they learned from each other was incredible!  The students gained insight on maps and globes skills, weather, time zones, culture and history facts of each country, and so much more.  Not only did the students gain knowledge about life in another country, they formed close friendships with their partner school.  These kindergartens expressed concern and care when they learned about tsunamis and how they are a threat to the lives of those in Indonesia.  The author teacher was amazed at the valuable life lessons her students learned as a result of an academic project.

 New/interesting idea:

While reading this article I was very impressed by the fact that the students who participated in this project were in kindergarten!  This is definite proof that we live in an age of technology natives.  Even five year olds can interact with technology at advanced levels.  I love how the teacher made this project so academic and yet fun at the same time.  This is something I could easily incorporate into my own classroom when we study continents, maps, and globes!  I think it’s great the students kept a journal and even math was integrated into this project through the activity of graphing the weather.  What a fabulous idea!

 My response:

I am already thinking of ways to use this idea in my own classroom.  Students really do learn from each other.  What this kindergarten class gained from this project they never would have from a normal textbook.  Learning became real to them when they were able to interact with students in a different county.  I think it’s wonderful that technology has brought us to this place where we can connect with people from around the world.  I want my students to think globally and foster an curiosity and concern for their peers in other countries.  I can’t wait to research how I can do this in my own classroom!

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Response to NETS-T Standard 3

17 Jul

 NETS-T Standard 3: Model Digital-Age Work and Learning

Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.

Teachers

a. demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations.
b. collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation.
c. communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats.
d. model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging: digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning.

 Summary:

This standard requires teachers to be comfortable and fluent when using different technology systems.  They should be able to use their current technology skills to enable them to acquire newer and more updated technology proficiencies in the future.  The teacher should have the ability to collaborate with their students, student’s parents, colleagues, and members in the community using digital tools as well as a variety of  other digital and media formats.  Communication should be relevant information with ideas that help students, parents, and peers.  This communication should use a variety of digital media and formats.  Finally, the teacher should model and facilitate the newest digital tools when analyzing, evaluating, and using informational resources to support research and learning. 

 My strengths in this area:

I use my current knowledge of technology to build on as I learn new forms of technology.  For example, my ability to use a digital camera helped me when I installed my own Webcam in the classroom.  My previous knowledge of using a Promethean Board enabled me to begin experimenting with creating my own flipcharts.  My students got excited when I brought new technology into the classroom and enjoyed watching me model how to use it.  I also communicate with parents, peers, and colleagues through the use of email and my Greenville County School website.  During our animal research unit, I enjoyed introducing and modeling to my students all of the research tools that are online for their individual projects.

 My weaknesses in this area:

I am still uncomfortable with many forms of technology that are available simply because I have not been introduced to them myself.  I would love to build upon what I already know with more advanced tools such as Prezis, interactive flipcharts, and virtual tours.  That is why I am excited to be in this class!  I am also weak in the area of multiple means of communication.  Although I use email constantly during the day to communicate, I really haven’t used anything else.  I’m looking forward to implementing Google Docs this school year!

Technology Native: Today’s Student

11 Jul

 The article entitled Through my Student’s Eyes, was written by Cheryl Oakes.  It can be found at: http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2009/07/10/through-my-students-eyes/

 This article is written from a student’s viewpoint chronicling his educational experience from kindergarten through the twelfth grade.  The student mainly focuses on school experiences that center around technology.  Beginning with the use of a flip video camera, progressing to VoiceThread, blogging, and then finally ending with the social networking phenomena of Facebook, it is evident that technology plays a tremendous role in education.  The student was called a “digital native” by his teachers which caused him question what that statement implied as well as what that made his teachers.  While at first the view on technology that the student takes is positive, toward the end of the article a desire is voiced to go back to kindergarten where more learning takes place and things are simpler. 

 The interesting concept that stood out to me in this article was the amount if technology that is available in today’s classroom.  I do not believe that every classroom in America is as tech-savvy as the classroom alluded to in this article.  I work with many teachers at my own school who do not even use the expensive Promethean Boards that have been provided in their classrooms.  It’s sad because technology advances just as our student’s developmental and cognitive ability does.  From kindergarten to twelfth grade there are various types of technology available for the enhancement of student learning when implemented properly.   The problem is that as teachers we work in a world where, while we are citizens in the field of education, we are immigrants to the field of technology.  Our students are the natives, and unless we embrace technology and use it for meaningful and engaging instruction, we will soon be obsolete. 

 My response is two-fold.  Part of me gets excited about all of the technology options that are available for classroom use.  My mind is boggled when I think of how students are able to connect with their peers in foreign countries.  I love that technology can do that.  I think it’s wonderful that we teachers can do more than just teach our students academics and life skills, but also digital citizenship and technology abilities that will assist them throughout this digital life.  However, the other part of me wonders if with all this emphasis on posting, blogging, and networking do we lose the quality of what we are communicating and learning?  Is too much value placed on the sharing and publishing rather than on the instructional time that goes into creating what is going online?  Is technology robbing our technology natives of the true learning experiences that we immigrants experienced “back in the days?”

Response to NETS-T Standard 2

11 Jul

NETS‐T Response Standard Two 

2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessments incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the NETS•S.

 Teachers:

a. design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity

b. develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress.

c. customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources.

d. provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards and use resulting data to inform learning and teaching.

 Summary:

This standard requires the teacher to create or use digital tools and resources to enhance student learning.  These tools and experiences will make learning more applicable and meaningful for today’s student.  It will also make for a more interesting and stimulating instructional time.  The teacher should design a technology-rich learning environment where all students are free to be able to explore and research their own individual interests.  Students should be able to find answers to their own questions and curiosities.  This will result in the student’s ability to take responsibility of their own learning.  Students will be able to set goals for their learning and then pace themselves accordingly.  They will also be able to receive various forms of assessment during the process.  Teachers should make learning activities distinct, individualized, and special per each student’s needs and interests.  These activities should match the learning style of the student and target the specific strategy they need help with.  Digital tools should be used to accomplish this.  Finally, teachers should implement various forms of assessment that are aligned with academic and technology standards.  The data from these tests should then be used to guide further lesson pacing as well as instructional planning.

 Strengths:

As a teacher, the technology form I use the most would be my Promethean Board and flipcharts to enhance student learning.  The flipcharts are often embedded with websites, videos, songs, and activities.  My students love learning because they are never bored with my flipcharts.  My classroom is somewhat designed for technology use.  The students are able to get on the three computers on the day they are assigned or when they are working on a project.  My students use Compass Learning as well as Accelerated Reader and other educational websites.  We often will record projects and presentations on the Flip Camera or the class will use the VideoCam.  I use ActiVotes for immediate assessment.

 Weaknesses:

My greatest weakness in this area would be the ability for students to guide and pace their own learning.  I have not been able to truly customize learning activities.  I would love to bring more forms of technology into my classroom to create a better learning environment.  I am not completely confident when making flipcharts or Prezis and would like to be.

Response to NETS-T Standard 1

11 Jul

NETS-T Standard 1

Standard:

1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments.

 Teachers:

a. promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness

b. engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources

c. promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes

d. model collaborative knowledge construction by engaging in learning with students, colleagues, and others in face-to-face and virtual environments

 Summary:

Taking the time to read and really think about what this first NETS-T standard means was an eye opening experience for me.  It is the teacher’s responsibility to encourage students to think outside the box and to creatively express what they are learning through various forms of technology.  Teachers should use various forms of media to help students explore current events as well as to enable them to solve real-world problems.  It is the teacher’s responsibility to allow their students use technology to reflect on learning, publish projects, and share what they learned.  Teachers should use technology to gain immediate assessment of their students learning.  The teacher is also to be a role model to the class in the area of communication and collaboration with others.  This communication can be face to face or virtually. 

 My strengths in this area:

My main strength is that I do have a desire to learn more about technology and I am very aware of its importance in education.  I feel fairly comfortable with using my Promethean Board and flipcharts.  The use of flipcharts during instructional time has really enhanced my lessons and student learning.  I also encourage my students to think outside the box and have introduced them to PowerPoint to publish their writing projects.  My students use the Graphing Club software to create various graphs, and they are excellent internet researchers.  My students have benefitted from virtual tours, as well as other academic websites that have activities.  I use United Streaming videos during my lessons as well to further convey a concept.  I invited a technology professional from Furman University to bring in his video microscope during a science unit for the class to explore.  We also use our Flip camera and WebCam to record book reports, educational skits, and dramatic projects.

 My weaknesses in this area:

Now that I have spent some time reflecting on this standard, I feel more of aware of the weaknesses I have in this area. I do not have a strong technology-rich classroom.  I think that my students are inhibited because I am not pro viding them with creative means to publish their writing, connect with others, and explore learning through more technologically advanced media.  My students do not communicate with those outside the classroom.  This is my fault because I have not taught them how to blog since I myself am not comfortable with blogging.  I am embarrassed by the simplicity of my Greenville county school website.  It is not an accurate reflection of me as a teacher because it is boring and not a good method of communication.  I am also week in the area of using technology to immediately assess student learning.   I know I have much to learn, but I am excited for the challenge!