Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tool #9: Incorporating Classroom-Based Devices as Tools for Learning

1.  Technology must be tied to the objective for several reasons. One reason is that everything that students do in the classroom must be tied to the objective and TEKS. Students must understand how what they are doing ties to the curriculum and that technology is not "play-time." The second reason is that it makes technology more applicable to the students' preparation for life after your classroom. Many students now use technology for social reasons only (texting, Facebook, etc.) but do not use it to learn and analyze concepts or for sharing their understanding with others. In the world of "I have a job" our students will be using technology for sharing technology and business ideas and not just socializing. We are preparing our students for their future and that future means technology as a tool to explore and exchange ideas.

2.  Students must be held accountable so that they stay focused on the task. It is so easy to get off track when the window to the world is open. If unsupervised and not held accountable, students tend to go into the "play and socialize" mode of operation. If held accountable and supervised, students will stay on task and explore and exchange ideas according to the rubric or guidelines for the work-station.This improves their productivity.

3.  The two interactive web pages that I found to be the most useful are pHET and Thinkfinity. Both sites have quality instruction and interactive web labs that can be used to supplement the hands-on labs done in the science classroom. These sites can be used as a work station so that students can practice what they have learned in a fun and game-like atmosphere. The visual nature of the sites will help to cement the concepts because students see their mastery based on the results of their efforts. For each work station, I can hold students accountable through reflection, a rubric, taking screen shots of their final success and/or questions answered on a  Google doc.

4.  The aps that I liked for I-Pad 2 include the Vernier ap and the Flash Card ap. The Vernier ap has opportunities for students to collect data and analyze the data using graphs. The Flash Card ap gives students a way to cement their understanding of the concepts by creating visual products to help them review. The station would have the I-Pad 2 along with the directions and the students (alone or in a team) would work using the ap. The accountability piece could include opportunities for self-reflection, the chance to ask or answer questions on Google doc, filling out a rubric to self-grade, recording a video of a team discussion of what they learned, and taking a screen shot of the final product.

5.  Other ways to use the I-Pad 2 as a station could include Skype where they are communicating with an expert and also use it to view a video from Discovery to round out their understanding of the TEK.Another idea could include an evaluation with questions that students answer at the end of the unit to evaluate how much they mastered the concepts and how the lessons matched their needs.

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