The Perfect Classroom

After subscribing to medium.com/bright, I found many interesting articles and topics to explore. The article that stood out to me was The Perfect Classroom, According to Science by Sarika Bansal. As a future teacher, I was intrigued by the title and wanted to learn more. Since students spend most of their time in the classroom, it is not surprising that the physical classroom environment can impact how students learn. According to research from the article, physical infrastructure, including light and air quality play a significant role in the students overall concentration.

The study went above and beyond by creating a Platonic ideal classroom. Some of the main features in the classroom were light, noise, temperature, accessibility, layout, plants, and wall decorations. I found this article very interesting and useful for many teachers. One of the features that struck me by surprise was the impact of wall decorations. I did not realize that certain images on posters could either have a positive or negative affect on students. I definitely think it is important to display wall decorations that can be inviting to a variety of students

Overall, the ideas this article suggests to enhance the physical environment in the classroom are worth reading about, and I plan on keeping them in mind for my future classroom!

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Check out the article!

The Perfect Classroom, According to Science

The Digital Divide

The digital divide has become a hot topic in education. Access to Internet, communicating online, and having endless amount of information at your fingertips has now become a way of life. In a perfect world, every student would have endless opportunities to find information and use technology to gain knowledge, research, and communication skills. However, the ability to connect and communicate online is unfortunately not available to everyone. About 30% of students do not have access to the Internet and that imminently puts them at a disadvantage compared to their peers. This unequal divide is not only frustrating for the students but also creates many barriers and challenges for the teacher.

In the article, Free Computers Don’t close the Rich-Poor Education Gap, Gregory Ferenstein discusses a randomized computer give away experiment in California. Low-income students grades 6-10 were given computers to benefit their education. However, no evidence of an increase in educational outcomes, grades, or standardized tests was concluded after the experiment. I found this very interesting especially, when so much evidence shows that children with out Internet are at a severe disadvantage.

Internet is an essential tool in todays society, but it means nothing if students are not taught how to use it and apply it to benefit their education. This is where the direction from the teacher is critical. In Michael Mills, ISTE Ignite Speech, he defines ways to narrow the digital divide, which includes: providing students with access to technology, allowing students to bring their own device, and most importantly redefining academic productivity. I believe technology should be implemented in the classroom base70702c27c0c5d80a552f4fcf080b62e8d the specific needs the children have in the classroom. First, by providing students with technology or allowing them to bring personal items from home can help connect academics with reality. Students deserve the right to use all resources that can improve their knowledge and skill and schools and teachers should be able make theseitems available. I think the ultimate goal is the show students how to access and connect with the Internet so that they have the opportunity to build from the basics and create and design ways to maximize their learning.   Overall, I don’t think technology needs to be implemented in every lesson, but students should experience what the Internet offers, motivating them to pursue interests and expand on their academic abilities.

Digital Learning 24/7

Speak Up reports over the past few years have focused on connecting the digital dots for learning, mapping a personalized learning journey, and moving from chalkboards to tablets. I was not surprised by the information presented in this article. Kids love technology, because it makes learning fun and interesting. The article looks at students in four learning environments, all involving some sort of technology.   The groups that were provided technology at school believed that the device they were given was the best device for their academics, because they learned how to navigate it. But what if they could experience all technology!

I think every student should have an online learning experience, and according to the article so do many parents and administrators. Students that learned 100% online or virtual valued that unique learning experience and believed that other students should also benefit from learning online. Their experiences with technology must have impacted them in a way to want to encourage other students to learn with technology, especially when it is involving schoolwork.
Technology allows 24/7 connections and a fun easy way to communicate. I am so used to texting that I wouldn’t mind having my student’s text me asking me a question about their homework, or getting a notification on our class page about questions or discussion my students are having about their assignment. I think the connections we have through technology allows students to feel like they have a support group and someone to go to if they are struggling.

Overall, I thought this article was a great article to read. It is clear that technology is impacting and evolving education in magnificent ways. Most jobs today and universities require online classes and some form of technology. It is our job as teachers to prepare our students for their future, and like it or not, technology will be in their future.

The Future of Education

Is the education system outdated? Do we not need teachers anymore? How is present day schooling going to prepare students for future jobs? These questions really caught my attention as I was listening to Sugata Mitra’s TED talk video. Mitra conducted an experiment where he placed a computer in the wall in slums and villages all around the world. Children of these villages taught themselves how to browse the Internet and even learn English to learn how to use to computer.   Mitra tested these children, and after a couple of months they scored at a 30%, so they were retaining some of the information. When they explained the material to other children or older adults their scores went even higher.

Mitra suggests that knowing is obsolete. We just need teachers to drive the general questions and then students can figure the rest out on their own. His wish is to “build a school in the cloud” where there is an environment of self organized learning, and intellectual adventures where students are given questions and then work together to find the answer. I think this is an interesting idea and I think students should be able to explore on computers and learn ways to figure out knowledge on their own however, I think teachers are always needed in the classroom. Even if the teacher generates the question it is important that there is someone to guide children on the right track and model good behavior and ethics.

Yes I agree students should be able to explore creativity and knowledge but teachers and curriculum are also important in developing character skills, socialization skills, and holding children accountable for their own learning.

Podcasts for Professional Learning

I choose to listen to Tips for Giving Effective Feedback to Students from the BAM! Radio Podcast. This particular video explains that student feedback can be productive, counterproductive, or just useless. Ed Deci, a Professor of Psychology, Sue Brookhard, Ph.Dbam_radio in research for Advancing the Study of Teaching and Learning, and Nancy Blair, a middle school principal all generated discussion and provided comments about feedback to students.

The first topic was counterproductive feedback. This feedback consisted of comments that control students or give them feedback that pressures them to do certain things. For example, making students think in the way the teacher thinks is best, or taking responsibility for what students completed. Feedback should not be used to create competition but used to motivate students. Effective feedback according to Ed, Nancy, and Sue should be immediate and happen early in the learning cycle.

Positive feedback is also important. Even if it is general, like “good job” it needs to be specific and focus on the task the student just completed and not just the student. Overall, It is important to take moments to provide feedback, and not focus so much on grades. When feedback is given, teachers should build in an opportunity for the students to use the feedback while also making sure they are aware of how the feedback will benefit them.

I really enjoyed listening to this podcast and exploring all the other topics available on BAM! Radio. I will absolutely be using podcasts for profession learning in my future. As a teacher, I know I will always be learning and it is important to me to keep up with the changes and new strategies that occur throughout the years. Podcast is a great tool for me to use to stay up to date while also exploring other opinions and ideas.

I also think is it important to use to explore different resources or teaching strategies, especially if I am struggling with ideas to help a specific student or need new ideas to motivate my students. I found podcasts very useful and would encourage anyone to use this resource if they need new ideas or just want to learn more!

Take a look!

http://www.bamradionetwork.com/teachers-aid/

Visual Resources

There are so many different resources to go visual in your presentations.  Resources such as word clouds, infographics, and mind maps are just a few examples of ways to captivate your audience.  Images are perfect to help guide your presentation and tell your story! While exploring different visual resources I choose to experiment with Wordle.  Wordle is a tool that generates word clouds from the text that you provide.  You can change the layout, colors, and fonts to make it your own.  It is a great visual to use when presenting a new subject or showing word groups in the classroom.

In my future classroom I would use Wordle for classification concepts.  Students could group words together in a word cloud that share the same characteristics to help them understand the lesson better.  Wordle is also a great tool for students to use in their presentations in a variety of subjects.  For example, in a social studies lesson, students could use Wordle to present different titles or contributions that represented a famous person or an event in history in their word clouds.

There are so many tools out there that could be used to motivate and intrigue students, we just need to take the time to explore all of the different options.  Wordle allowed me to express words in a fun and creative way.  It allowed me to put words in a visual sequence with different color and sizes to really put emphasis on certain words.

I encourage you to explore and use this tool!

Below is my first Wordle design!wordle

Extracurricular Empowerment

“Get out of their way and let them be amazing”

– Scott McLeod

After watching this TED talk video I immediately subscribed to the TED Talks channel on YouTube. These videos are filled with insightful speakers that discuss fascinating subjects that really motivate me to want to learn and share ideas. In this particular video, Extracurricular Empowerment: Scott McLeod begins imageshis talk with negative headlines involving teens and technology. However, instead  of the typical article about the damaging affects of technology, McLeod takes a constructive approach. He tells a story about Martha, a nine-year girl from Scotland who wrote a blog about her school’s lunch. The lunch she was given everyday was not appealing to her so she decided to blog about each different lunch she was given. She would take a picture, judge the food on how healthy it was, added a food-o-meter, and even mentioned if she found a hair in her food….. EW! She gained many supporters and followers and even was invited to speak on Nick Nairn’s cooking show. She ended up raising 20,000 dollars for a charity that feeds poor school children and had her school lunch changed.

images-2So why did McLeod share this story? To show how technology has given kids access to have a voice, be creative, share knowledge, and invent the future. Martha is just one digital native that is implementing change and impacting the world. I think is crucial to know and use technology in almost all aspects, in moderation.   The truthe-broken-chain1-1024x768th is technology is here to stay and we cannot be afraid of it, especially if we want our students to use it in the classroom. Yes, it is important to monitor what our children and students are doing on the Internet, however we should be doing that with everything. The reality is kids are going experience inappropriate things in their lives with or with out technology, the goal as teachers and parents is to direct their attention else where so they can use their time in a positive and beneficial way. This means let go of the fear and control and unlock the gates that are preventing kids from creating a voice, gaining knowledge and implementing change.

Photoshop Skills !

Sleeping beauty

           Today I became Princess Anna !!

For this assignment I used a cite called Pixler to transform myself into a princess! By using Pixler I was able to combine two pictures using photoshop.  First, I chose a picture of myself, erased the background and cropped the pictures so I could just see my face. I then copied and pasted my face on the princess picture and just like that I created a completely new photo.   This is a perfect tool for students to express their creativity and enhance their presentations.  Teachers can also use this tool to combines students faces with different characters for a fun bulletin board activity.

Visitors and Residents: Credibility

As a teacher I think it is important to recognize the difference between a digital visitor and a digital resident. According to David White, a digital visitor is someone who uses the Internet to look up quick facts or communicate with friends briefly. On the other hand, a digital resident is a person who views the Internet as a digital identity where they can network and connect with people all over the world. Teachers need to recognize how students use social media and then implement their student’s technical abilities for educational purposes. My goal as a teacher is to always learn from my students and their interests. By using technology and computers in the classroom I can work with my students in finding fast ways to find information and fun ways to learn material. Technology can be viewed as positive or negative in the classroom, however, if teachers can embrace and choose to accept the power of social media, they may be able to reach students in ways they have never done before.

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Generation Like

The Frontline Documentary, Generation Like does a great job of portraying technology and how it has completely reconstructed communication. Kids today have become obsessed with Unknownsocial media and their online identities.  The goal of this generation is to receive as many likes, re-tweets, comments, and favorites in order to feel self empowered and liked by others. Seeking attention and validation is not a new concept for adolescents however, with new technology and social media teens now have the whole world at their fingertips. Simply posting a video can go viral in minutes giving us the opportunity to spread information or products like fire. In the video they used the term “catching fire” which is the title of one of the new Hunger Games movie. I like this term because it truly defines the “power of the like” and how media can truly spread all over the world in seconds.

Technology is not going away and can be used as a fascinating tool in understanding the audience you are trying to attract.   The video explains how companies have drastically altered their marketing strategies by simply employing the consumer. Understanding the audience and the consumer allows the product to become noticed, especially if the consumer is generating millions of likes and followers a day.

Unknown-1The concept of knowing your audience and how to sell a product is exactly how I believe instruction should be prepared and presented in the classroom.   By understanding how my students prefer to communicate and express their ideas can allow me to present material and activities in a way they can relate and understand. I plan to manipulate my instruction and assignments so my students can continue to use their creativity and “like” the lessons I plan to teach.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/