Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Social Networking in the Classroom

Staying connected with family and friends in your personal life may seem like no job at all. As educators though, it is our job to keep families in the loop on what is taking place within the classroom. Although it is important to take caution when using sites that can be accessed virtually by anyone in the world, teachers should be assured that there are safe and effective ways to utilize sites like Twitter, Facebook, and others within the classroom.

One great app that has become a wonderful way for teachers to stay connected is called Bloomz. This app allows teachers to manage the hectic task of communication with parents. Bloomz enables the teacher to send emails, post picture, make notifications of class updates, post reminders, and much more. Safety and privacy are always important factors to keep in mind while utilizing social media in the classroom. With the ability to invite only the parents you wish to communicate with, these factors are surely taken care of. Even better yet--it is FREE!

Some additional ways teachers can use social networking in the classroom:
1. Create Twitter polls for students to weigh in on a topic being discussed.
2. Students and teacher could create a class hashtag to foster healthy communication in and outside of school on Twitter.
3. Pinterest boards relating to different class subjects could be created for students to access for additional resources.

Link to Bloomz:
Link to helpful site on networking in the classroom:
Photo used with permission from:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Doceri Interactive Whiteboard

While browsing a website that talked about what the top apps educators should be using in their classroom, I came across an interesting interactive whiteboard app called Doceri. This app--described by iTunes--is centered around having all presentation and desktop control at the users fingertips. Doceri presents an opportunity for the teacher to not be bound to a computer while teaching a lesson. Rather, having all access to the tools needed, the Doceri app gives the teacher the ability to screen cast their presentations onto there iPad.

The benefit that this can create within the classroom is that the teacher is no longer stuck next to there computer or smart board, and can rather mingle with students throughout the classroom. Not only does Doceri work great with Keynote and Powerpoint, it can even be set up to control the AV system in a classroom. This means that with a touch of a button, the teacher can control the volume of a video being presented without having to run to the front of the classroom to mess with the speakers.

This interactive app is a great way to keep the flow of the classroom going. Minimizing interruptions due to technology error is a task that is not always easy to combat. Through the use of Doceri though, teachers have the ability to control aspects of their instruction essentially from anywhere in their classroom. Aside from the technological accessibility that it would provide, it also aids in the management of the classroom as well, benefitting both teacher and student.

Here is a website that offers additional great apps for the classroom: teachthought
iTunes description of this app: Doceri Interactive Whiteboard

Photo used with permission: flickingerbrad-Flickr

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Reflection of PLN-(Map)

From the beginning of the semester to present I feel that I have experienced quiet a bit of growth in regards to the expansion of my Personal Learning Network. When first asked to map out the resources and networks that I utilized in my personal and educational life, I was surprised at all of the sources that I readily used on a day to day basis. Previously, I had not thought about the number of connections and sources that I accessed.

This project challenged me to find other ways to connect and expand. The connection part seemed to be an easier task for me to combat. I realized that it is essential to reach out and listen to individuals who are already in the field. Building these resources now will help in aiding my professional career not only in the future but the present as well.

The expansion part of this project seemed to be a bit more challenging. I felt comfortable using sites like Pinterest and Twitter but from there I was lacking. Through help from Dr. Zeitz's and other classmates I found it quiet easy to expand and participate in networking that I had not formally taken part in. For example, I was able to interact on IA edchat, Symbaloo, and the Kappa Delta Pi online forum.

Overall, as you will see documented in the pictures below I feel that I experienced some great growth in expanding my network. It is my hope to continue to explore all of the varying ways to expand my network throughout the rest of my schooling as well as into my professional career as a teacher. The interactions that I took part in through this project, I feel, built an even stronger foundation for me to build off of in my future.

Initial PLN concept map:

Revised PLN concept map:

I decided to go with a different format for my revised concept map. The circle encompassing the topic of my PLN I feel represents how all of the networks that I utilize work together to make up the resources and connections I engage in. All of these resources create the foundation that feeds who I network with now and the relationships that I will continue to build in the future.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Expanding My Network (PLN-Part III)

Below are my the final few ways I decided to expand my Personal Learning Network. To learn about the other ways I expanded my network please visit my additional posts titled "Expanding My Network"--Parts I&II.

8. Watched a Lynda tutorial:
Time Management Tutorial
This was by far the most interesting experience I took part it. I have often used YouTube as a site to watch tutorials, but Lynda by far provides a very professional and in-depth option for tutorials. I searched for a tutorial to watch under the category of teaching. I came across a video that talked about time management and thought that I could benefit from spending some time watching this tutorial. As a busy college student, I easily become overwhelmed by the tasks I need to complete. I know for a fact that I will be utilizing this site throughout the rest of my education and into my career as a teacher to help me figure out how to use different things that I haven’t used before. These tutorials are clearly produced and very thought out. I’m very glad I looked into watching a video on this website.

9. Participated in a Zoom meeting:
Through the assignment of the Webquest, myself and my group members had the opportunity to engage in a Zoom meeting with Dr. Zeitz’s. This was a completely new experience for me and is something I could see myself using in the future. Zoom provides a great way in connect with group members and professors without actually having to be with them in person. It makes communication much more accessible. In my future classroom, Zoom could be a great tool that I could use to possibly connect with teachers in different states or countries. This would help my students create connections with other students in different areas while also utilizing technology in the classroom.

10. Participated in an online educational forum:
Link to forum
Due to my involvement in Kappa Delta Pi, the education honor society here at UNI, I have the opportunity to access an online forum hosted by Kappa Delta Pi International. This forum is a way for different educators and those involved in KDP to participate in discussions involving education. This forum is held once a week and is sent out through an email. Each week there is a question that the forum is revolved around. People then are able to send in responses to these questions and interact in a conversation with others. This experience was very new to me and upon becoming involved with KDP I was not aware I would have access to this. I hope to continue to utilize this forum to gain insight and ideas from others.

Expanding My Network (PLN-Part II)

Below are additional ways I have expanded my PLN! View "Expanding My Network- Part I" for my expansions of network #1-4.

5. Followed a educator on Instagram:
Having already used Instagram on a regular basis, I thought a good way to expand this resource would be to follow some inspirational and informative education/teaching accounts on Instagram. To access a few accounts that I could follow I searched “education” and then clicked on the tags option. After browsing through a couple people’s pages I came across one with the username ‘Teachers Follow Teachers.” This page is dedicated to helping educators collaborate and share innovative ideas. I have already found myself liking many of her posts and look forward to seeing what she posts in the future. I hope to readily use this account in my near future to gain new ideas and maybe even share some of my ideas on this page.

6. Followed (liked) an author on Facebook:
I have used Facebook for a long time to interact with friends and family but have recently decided to amp my usage up a bit and utilize it as a platform to build connections with significant individuals that I hope to be able to reference in my future career path. Jacqueline Woodson is an example of an individual who I felt would be a great person to follow on facebook. She is an author of numerous award winning multicultural books that I enjoyed throughout my childhood and into my studies as a literacy minor. I have found myself watching the videos she posted and have also visited many of the links she has posted too. I hope to be able to stay connected and up-to-date with what Jacqueline Woodson is involved with and use it as a resource in my future classroom.

7. Followed an education blogger:
In my past I have not taken part in looking at blogs of any sort. I felt though, that this was the perfect opportunity to look into some bloggers and see what is being talked about currently in educational technology. Through a website I found on google, I was able to access a blog titled: eLearnSpace which is dedicated to talking about talking about technology that can enhance knowledge. I have read through a few of their latest posts and am looking forward to reading future ones as well. It is my hope to utilize some of the great ideas established and incorporate them in my direction in my classroom some day.

Expanding My Network (PLN-Part I)

Below are a few of the ways that I have decided to expand my Personal Learning Network or (PLN). I will be dividing these posts into three parts for sake of keeping interest. 

1. Connected with an educational source on Twitter:
Using the hashtag #3rdchat I was able to locate all of the tweets that included this hashtag. I then began looking at the various different topics that were being discussed by different Twitter users and looked for one that stood out to me. Donna Boucher is a K-5 math interventionist whose content really caught my attention. By following her I hope to gain some innovative ways to incorporate math into my classroom. She also shares many links to different resources and activities that I have retweeted and favorited so that I can hopefully include into my lessons down the road.

2. Created a "Teaching" board on Pinterest:
After creating a board on my Pinterest dedicated to teaching, I began searching a few topics in education that interested me. Some of those searches were ‘third grade classrooms’ and ‘technology in the classroom.’ I also utilized the education tab that is provided by Pinterest. Through these searches I found various fun activities and ideas that I am hoping to refer to in my future classroom. In the future as well, I would consider possibly specifying this board even more, into categories by subject, just so that it is easier to find pins. I am an avid Pinterest user, so this interaction surely furthered my network of use on this site.
Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 4.31.45 PM.png

3. Interacted through Symbaloo:
Through various projects assigned throughout my Edtech and Design class, I had the ability to interact with Symbaloo. This bookmarking formatted website gave me the option to view various examples of ideas that I could incorporate into my WebQuest and digital video project. When assigned to further expand my own personal network, I decided to search for a Symbaloo based around literacy, my minor. To my surprise an easy google search took me to a great gallery that included numerous resources based around literacy. I plan to keep track of this link to utilize in my future classroom.

4. Participated on #IAedchat:
I was prompted to get engaged with the IA edchat through an announcement posted on eLearning by Dr. Zeitz, my Edtech and Design professor. I was very hesitant at first because I was not sure how involved I would have to be while participating in the chat. Once I was on the chat, I was surprised with how fast people were sending in tweets using the #iaedchat. It was easy to follow the prompts as to 'introduce myself' and as to when the moderator would begin asking questions. To my surprise there were so many interesting ideas being shared on the topic of the night--“parent-teacher conferences.”  It was very cool to see the connections people have made using this outlet and the outpour of sharing from everyone. Overall, this experience was something very new to me and an event that I hope to tune into in the future as well.
Screen Shot 2016-11-06 at 8.05.53 PM.png

Gamify It!

From the title of this blog you may have wondered if the word 'Gamify' was even a word. In fact though, it is. It is derived from a larger word--gamification--meaning to enhance a non-game context with some type of game design or mechanic. Within the 21st century it has become apparent that the generation of individuals currently in school is extremely involved and interested in technology. This involvement has created a shift in what types of activities grab the attention of students.

To try and combat the issue of keeping students actively engaged in the classroom, gamification has become of high interest to many educators. There are a variety of different ways one could bring these gaming aspects into the classroom, but below are a few ways it has effectively been incorporated.

1. A rewards system where students earn badges or points for showcasing examples of good behavior or completion of assignments. Khan Academy is an example of a website that rewards students with points for completing activities.

2. More simply allow students to work on skills in language arts or math by utilizing game-oriented websites like Razkids or MathIXL.

3. The use of competition based activities is also another way to enhance a classrooms learning environment and further engage students in the subject matter. Energy levels are increased and naturally, students become more interested in getting involved.

Meaningfully incorporating gaming aspects into the everyday classroom is another way technology is readily fostering the education of 21st century learners.

Photo used with permission from: Creative Commons-Wikipedia
A great source that talks about gamification in the classroom:

Sunday, November 6, 2016

De-coding QR Codes in the Classroom

For a few years now I have always recognized the small square bar code looking things located on various items that I had purchased. Things like receipts and logos are where I primarily would find these bar codes located. Not until being enrolled in a Ed Tech and Design class at UNI this fall was I able to make the connections of what these small square bar codes looking things were actually about.

To my surprise these bar codes actually had a name, QR codes. Aside from them being placed on the many things mentioned above, their use went far beyond what I had originally imagined. After completing an in-class activity, I become more interested in all the possibilities that QR codes could have not only in my personal life, but also my educational life/career.

A few quick facts about QR codes:

  • QR stands for "Quick Response," as once the code is scanned the information embedded is accessed quickly
  • They can hold much more information than a traditional barcode that you are used to seeing on products you may buy at the store
  • QR codes can contain a variety of things like links to a videos, text, and much more
You may be wondering by now why I am so interested in talking about QR codes. The key to this question though is the accessibility and innovative qualities it can provide within the classroom. As an aspiring teacher I have become more aware of the growing trend of effectively utilizing technology in the classroom. 

QR codes provide a perfect opportunity for students to engage in independent work using a technology based tool. Using new technology can be a scary thing for many, but QR codes are a perfect example of an easy way for students to dip their toes into working with something different and 21st century savvy.

A few examples of ways to incorporate QR codes into my future classroom:
  • Expanding on an activity I did in my Ed Tech class, I could create a QR code scavenger hunt around my classroom filled with different resources that would help the students complete a research assignment
  • I could create my own QR codes of different links to books being read aloud for students to access when checking out a book
Here is an additional resourceful blogger talking about QR codes that I found through browsing Pinterest: 

Photos used with permission from:
-Creative Commons-Wikipedia
-Wesley Fryer-Flickr