Using Science Technology in the Classroom

There are many science resources available for teachers to use in the classroom. One being ExploreLearning. I think that ExploreLearning is a great resource that has a wide-range of subjects. It is also a great resource to get students engaged in learning. The gizmos may have the student think they are playing a game, when really they are learning. I think it is has the most advantages due to its large selection of different topics and grade levels. It also is very aesthetically pleasing and easy to use.

I also love Edheads. Edheads is a web-based application that motivates students to work harder in school by helping teachers connect their math and science lessons to real careers. It is a paid membership program. However, there are free games available on their site. The application includes games and activities that promote critical thinking. You can become a surgeon and perform virtual knee surgery. Or, you can become a geneticist and help a family determine if they carry a genetic mutation. After looking around on the website and playing around on the games, I believe that this application is fantastic. It is engaging and really gets your mind thinking. It also allows students to connect what they are learning to careers they can have in the real world. When students can make these connections, it can lead to a deeper and greater understanding of the content. It also can set the student up for success after school. It can expose them to STEM careers they may have not knew about before.

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Using Math Technology in the Classroom

I believe that incorporating technology into mathematics curriculum can reduce the stigma that mathematics is too hard. By implementing simple technology, such as a calculator, time can be taken away from tedious and monotonous work, like basic math facts, and focus attention more on critical thinking skills. Technology, such as applications and manipulative software, could also make mathematics more engaging and interesting to learn.

I’ve used some great mathematics technology resources within the classroom. One that stuck out with me is Geogebra. Geogebra is a mathematics software for all levels of education that allows users to create and manipulate data in regards to geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics and calculus. I loved using Geogebra because it presented the information in a visual manner, which made it easier for me to understand. It is a free program that you can access through the website.

ICT & Early Math (Weekly Reading Reflection Week 11)

Merilyn Buchanan, author of Classroom technologies as tools not toys: A teacher’s perspective on making it work in the classroom, describes how teachers should be implementing technology into mathematics classes. Sometimes, we don’t usually think of implementing technology into mathematics classes, especially those of younger aged students. When we think of technology in math, we think of graphing programs. However, there are some great resources our there for early childhood aged students that can really improve their math skills and math learning more meaningful. I also agree with Bachanan’s three phases of implementing the technology. I think it’s important that the technology being used is not just being added for show, but that it actually supplements the curriculum and adds to learning.

Bratitsis and Amanatidou, authors of Counting sounds: An ICT musical approach for teaching the concept of the angle in kindergarten, describes how using music can help young students learn geometry. This article was very interesting to read. It makes sense. If you go into any pre-k or kindergarten class, they have songs for EVERYTHING. It helps students learn by memorization which is essential at that age.

 

Using ELA Technology in the Classroom

I’ve used some great ELA technology resources within the classroom. One that stuck out with me is eSpark. eSpark is an application that allows students to increase their ELA skills based on their individual needs. This software can be used on an iPad for younger grades. It is a “quest-like” application. Students must go on “quests” in order to progress. These quests require students to read short texts, watch movies, play skill-based games, answer comprehension questions, or create their own movie responses. Each student’s eSpark is set to their own reading level and skill set. There is also a web-based digital projects for students in grades 3-8. It allows teachers to monitor student progress. It has the ability to email you when one of your students reaches a new standard or needs additional support.

ICT & Early Literacy (Weekly Reading Reflection Week 10)

Amelia K. Moody, author of Using Electronic Books in the Classroom to Enhance Emergent Literacy Skills in Young Children, discusses the use of E-books within a classroom. I have personal experience with this as a guided reading teacher. This year, my school purchased a new E-Book software called Reading A-Z Kids (or RAZ Kids for short). RAZ Kids is an extension of the program Reading A-Z. It provides a library of differentiated books at 29 levels of difficulty students use to practice reading in school, at home, or on the go. A great thing about RAZ kids is it allows students to read on their own level, practice close reading skills, practice reading and writing connections, use interactive tools, and answer constructed response quiz questions. I have seen how RAZ Kids makes young readers more confident, which in turn will help boost their reading levels. 

 

Interaction Technology (iPads & Smartbord) and Learning (Weekly Reading Reflection Week 9)

Carly Shuler, author of iLearn’II An Analysis of the Education Category of Apple’s App Store, describes the usage of iPads in the classroom. I am pro iPad use in the classroom. I have seem how much it has improved the learning of young students. It allows them to access a vast amount of information. It also allows students to learn through multiple modalities, which can result in more meaningful learning. It also allows teachers to better differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all students, not just the average ones. This article makes me excited to see what’s to come from not only Apple, but all different types of technologies used in the classroom.

Interactive whiteboards are great for all students. For example, Promethean’s Activboard Touch can be used with any student, regardless of age or gender. The Activboard Touch can be used by students with many different disabilities. Students who may be on the Autism Spectrum, have learning impairments, fine motor skill impairments can benefit from the interactive whiteboards like these. Boards like this or the Smartboard shown in the video allows users to fully customize how information is presented across all three modalities of learning. This ensures that students are provided with multiple options of perception.

Assistive Technology Within the Classroom (Weekly Reading Reflection Week 5)

Assistive technology can be defined as any object or system that increases or maintains the capabilities of people with disabilities. The guide Assistive Technology for Children with Learning Difficulties, by Marshall Raskind and the YouTube videoAssistive Technology: Powerful Solutions for Success Preview, describes what AT is and some examples of AT we can find in classrooms.  Most importantly, AT helps students become more independent. Student who may not have gone to school before, can now go and participate with everyday life with the use of AT. For example, a student who has mobility impairments can still go to school with the use of a specialized wheelchair.

As a special education teacher, I’ve seen AT used up close and I’ve seen the tremendous benefits it beings to both the student, the teacher, and peers. For example, I have many students who are non-verbal and use AAC devices (augmented and alternative communication) to communicate. These students, who before could not communicate, can now interact with their peers and teachers. AT also be as simple as a slant board or a pencil grip. With that being said, AT devices are not just for students with disabilities. Many students, whether they have disabilities or not, can be more successful when AT is implemented.