## Monday, October 28, 2013

### MyCreate Project

In our first meeting together, I introduced the MyCreate application to my student and discussed the project that we would be working on over the next few weeks. She was very excited to use the application and had a lot of fun playing around with its features. We practiced taking pictures of items, moving them a little bit at a time, so that they would come together to appear as if the items were moving. We also practiced recording our voices over the images we took. When we finalize the project the student will have to move the LEGOs a little bit at a time and record their voice telling the story. This first meeting was a good introduction for what is to come.

The next meeting, my student and I read a few books and discussed the key features in the stories, such as characters, setting, and plot. For this project my student will be working with another students, who is in Kindergarten. This meeting was meaningful, because they were able to meet and work together to discuss the key parts of the story. This was the precursor to the collaboration they will be doing to create their story.

The following meetings, we began discussion about the story that she will be creating. We first established who the main character would be and where the story would take place. My student wanted to make a story about a cowgirl and her horse. After discussing some detail about her character and the setting, she drew a picture of the character and the setting. Since the character and the setting have been selected, the next step is to create the plot. Before my student began to write her plot, we took some time to discuss what goes into creating a plot. We read a few stories and picked out the beginning, middle, and end of the story. This helped to set up for next week when we will be creating the plot for her story.

At the rest of the meetings, we began to create our plot and develop the story. To start off the first meeting on creating our plot, we examined a picture and discussed what might be happening in the beginning middle and end. The picture was of three bears dancing around a tree. I had my student tell me a story of what she thought was happening and then when she was done we discussed what parts were the beginning, middle, and end; to reference the previous lesson. We then began to make a story involving the character of a cowgirl and her horse. We also added in a princess and her horse to the story to include the character that he Kindergarten student wanted. We discussed what would happen first in the story, and so on. As we discussed a problem that the characters would face and the solution, the story began to develop.

In the story, the cowgirl and princess were friends and decided to go ride their horses. When the were out riding the princess saw a snake and it gave her a fright. Then the cowgirl came to her rescue and they defeated the snake and the others that came along. At the end of the story, the cowgirl and princess returned home and had a dance party. My first grade student worked really hard to create her story and was really proud of her work. In the following meetings, we will be working on practicing filming drawings of the story.

Now that the story has been created it is time to work on planning what it might look like when we build with the LEGO StoryStarters kit. In this meeting, we took sheets of paper that had lines of the story printed on them and drew what we thought the scene might look like. This was to help us practice how we might build the scene with the LEGOs. This was a really fun day, and my student really enjoyed making the story come to life in her drawings. Next we took pictures of our drawings using the MyCreate application and began to turn our drawings in to moving pictures. My student got a little frustrated when taking pictures of the drawings, because she did not fully understand that you had to take multiple pictures of the drawings (moving them a little each time) to make it look like they were moving. When we went to do a voice over she realized that we needed more slides, because the story was longer than the amount of pictures we took. So to help with this we copied the pictures several times to help make the video stretch out to match the voice over of the story. When we were done making the video she thought it was really cool and made her really excited.

The next meeting was supposed to be at High Point University, where the students were coming to build their LEGO stories and film them using MyCreate. First graders were on a field trip that day and were unable to come to complete the final project. Since my student was not there and the Kindergartner that was working with us could not do the project alone, we joined another group. It was interesting to see what the other group was working on and I enjoyed being able to help in their group. However, because one of their students was in first grade also there were a lot of HPU students helping these students make their project. Therefore, I was mainly there for support and helped a little. I would have liked my student to have been there and able to participate, and sad that she worked so hard on the project and was unable to have the fun experience of coming to HPU. This was an interesting project and I was glad to be able to participate in working with the students on this activity. In the future, I suggest that this project be done with grades 3-5, because it was difficult to explain some of the aspects of this project to the younger students; and they did not quite understand what we were working on other than making a story.

References

[Untitled Photograph of MyCreate App]. (2013). Retrieved: October 28, 2013.

## Saturday, April 20, 2013

### Splash Math: Grade 3 Application

The iPad Application: Splash Math: Grade 3 is a great application to help students practice their math skills and the topics they are studying. From the start screen students can choose to practice their math facts, practice the topics, or play a series of questions evolving it all.

When students choose to use the math practice section of the application, they can select which skill they would like to practice: addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. Students can also choose more than one skill to practice, such as addition and multiplication; and it will give them practice problems involving both areas. The students can then select the number rage they would like to practice, such as practice multiplication facts 1-5. Then they can press start and begin to answer math problems that involve the range and area that they or the teacher selected.

Then next area that students can choose from is the practice mode, where students or teacher selects what topic to practice. The practice mode contains all the areas of the topics the students are learning in class. For example, under the fractions section students can practice their skills in parts of a whole, add/subtract fractions, equivalent fractions, compare fractions, and then a mixed review. When selecting the section you wish to practice, the student must answer a series of questions to help them practice their skills. Then when the student has practiced with the different topics they may “Play” and test their knowledge on what they have learned.

In a lesson, this could be used as a station for students to practice their skills at what they have learned over the course of a unit or topic. This could also be used as an engage or explore piece of a lesson, where the teacher can see where the students are at the beginning of the lesson and how specific they need to when teaching the rest of the lesson. This application would be something that would be used as a review or a gauge to see where students are or to give them addition support and practice. I would not suggest using this application as a main teaching tool in a lesson, because it is not designed for that purpose. However, for a station in a lesson this application would be perfect.

To evaluate the application in the classroom, the teacher could get student responses to see how they feel about the application and if they think it is helping them or not. There is also a place at the bottom of the application for parents to see how well the student is doing at answering the questions. In this summary, it will also mention the weak and strong skills, based on the questions answered and will track the growth at the bottom. If a teacher needs data on how well the students are doing, they can see this in this area within the application. This application helps cover all areas of third grade mathematics and helps give students additional practice with their skills.

References:

[Untitled Photograph of Splash Math App Icon]. (2013). Retrieved: April 20, 2013.

[Untitled Photograph of Splash Math App]. (2013). Retrieved: April 20, 2013.

## Tuesday, March 12, 2013

### Technology in the Science Classroom

With technology evolving in every aspect of our lives it has only become natural that technology would become an essential part of science education. There are many technology devices that can help students become more involved with the concepts they are learning and really feel that they are doing something important and worth their time, not just some silly worksheet on temperature. Students can actually use technology, such as probes, to measure the change in temperature, just like a real scientist. “Scientists seamlessly integrate technology into their work. Gathering and analyzing data and sharing findings with others can be accomplished more efficiently using technology” (“Reach Beyond…”, 2013). With the advances in technology, teachers can, like scientists, integrate technology for students to really experience all that science has to offer.

One of the ways that teachers can incorporate technology into the classroom is through the internet, which is not necessarily a new invention, but it unlocks a whole other world for students to experience. A teacher can find images and videos of almost anything and share that with their students. One cannot really take a class field trip to see a volcano eruption, but with the power of the internet the teacher can show students a video of a volcano erupting, and it can give them the experience of being right there. To connect with the power of the internet, a teacher can also use the document camera to “display almost anything (images, lab demonstrations, objects, student work, etc.) on the ‘big screen’ in front of everyone” (Cancellieri, 2013). The technology of “clickers” or Student Response Systems, have really opened the door and allowed for teachers to assess student understanding. Many teachers are using them as a pre-test, progress check, and review for final test; as a way to monitor student understanding without the added pressure of completing a test. Teachers can use this tool to check the understanding of students in the area of science, and this could be a useful tool for science in the fifth grade, as they are taking the science exam at the end of the year.

Pocket camcorders are also an interesting device for students to use in the science classroom, as “they can be used to create instructional videos, demonstrate lab activities, and even have students narrate nature walks” (Cancellieri, 2013). Students can create their own videos that relate to science and then the teacher can post them so the students can feel like they created something of value, like the videos that one can find of the internet. Another interesting activity for this technology device is bringing one along on “a field trip for students to record the exciting moments for those who cannot join them” (Cancellieri, 2013).

Probeware, as mentioned above, is a piece of technology that is finding its way into many science classrooms. “It is a tool for collecting data during class experiments; that can be used to measure temperature, light, pressure, electric current, and more” (Cancellieri, 2013). This device is really going to change aspects of the science classroom. There are many activities that students can complete using probeware to test different areas that can be measured and recorded. One type of probeware is Go!Temp, and it is just one of the many different types of probes out there. Having used one before, they are quite the miraculous devices and will come to be a treat in the classroom.

As a teacher, using technology is a useful tool in helping students become engaged. I would use the internet and the document camera at least once a day. Being that they have become such valuable resources to helping students experience the world. Although, there comes a point where the internet and document camera will only get you so far and the new advances in technology will really help students to have that firsthand experience. I would use probes in my classroom as a way for students to measure temperature, for example, and have them complete different activities that allow them to use these interesting devices. Using a probe is a very enjoyable experience and students would really enjoy using them as a technology tool in science. Unleashing the world of technology into science gives students a way to really connect with the material they are learning, and gives teachers a chance to really show students what science has to offer.

References

Cancellieri, P. (2013). 6 essential tech tools for science classrooms. Retrieved from http://www.teachhub.com/6-essential-tech-tools-science-classrooms

Reach beyond the science classroom with online tools. (2005). Retrieved from http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/subject/beyond.phtml

Image References

[Untitled Photograph of students using Go!Temp probeware]. (2013). Retrieved: March 12, 2013.

[Untitled Photograph of students and teacher at computer]. (2012). Retrieved: March 12, 2013.

[Untitled Photograph of female students using probeware]. (2013). Retrieved: March 12, 2013.

## Sunday, February 3, 2013

### Technology in Mathematics

In the world of education, mathematics is one of the more difficult subjects for students to grasp and they often find it to be very boring. For teachers, one of the important tasks that they need to accomplish is creating an engaging learning environment for students. With mathematics, students often get bored and there are not many “fun” activities associated with the concepts, such as an experiment in science. The new age of technology is bringing with it many new and exciting ways to learn, and it is helping student become more engaged with mathematical concepts.

Technology is placing its mark on classroom mathematics as students are gaining access to higher level calculators, computer programs/internet games, and interactive white boards/tablets. Teachers have to take extra time to learn how to use these devices, as they are in such high demand. Also with these devices teachers can really improve their instruction in a number of ways.

Calculators and computer programs have been in the classrooms for some time now and have been changing the way students approach math. As calculators can be seen as a debate for many teachers, if they are helping or hurting the students, they are becoming a crucial part of a math classroom. A Vanderbilt University article wrote that “calculators are useful tools in elementary mathematics classes, if students already have some basic skills” (2008). Calculators should only be used after students have learned how to generate a solution on their own; which makes this is a good tool for students to be able to check their own work. This technology resource is also a good tool for students in upper level math to help them with solving complicated mathematical problems. A Vanderbilt University professor also quoted in the same above article that “For students who did not know many multiplication facts, generating the answers on their own, without a calculator, was important and helped their performance on subsequent tests; but for students who already knew some multiplication facts, it didn't matter – using a calculator to practice neither helped nor harmed them” (2008). This is very much true. If children are given a tool such as this right from the start they will never learn how to solve such problems on their own, but with guidance of the teacher first and then the added support such a tool, the calculator could become a very powerful aid.

Computers have been developing over the years and so have their programs and the internet. With this resource teachers can open many doors for their students when working on mathematical projects. “There are a variety of software programs that can help students learn mathematics and also to present their findings and ideas in reports and presentations” (Willard 2005). Students can use computer programs such as geometry drawing programs, spreadsheets, word processing, presentation programs, and much more to help them explain their findings to the teacher as well as other classmates. Using these programs in math also helps strengthen student skills for using the programs for other subjects as well. The internet also opens the door to many possibilities for students to explore more about mathematical concepts. There are many websites that allow students to practice what they know through playing games or solving real world problems. Sites such as ABCya.com help elementary students practice the skills they are learning in a fun way that is appropriate for their grade. With the computer programs and the internet, teachers can open a whole new world into their math classroom and teaching, and it provides a quick and easy way for students to be engaged in their learning.

Technology’s newest creation is that of the interactive white boards and tablets, where they are getting students actively engaged in the process of their learning. These interactive pieces are allowing students to become more hands on with their learning, but still able to connect with the new age of technology. “At its best the iPad, with many great math apps, can be a wonderful way to explore mathematics in a more interactive way than can be done with images in textbooks” (Engelward 2013). With these technology resources, math class can be an exciting place to be and a way to get students really involved with the learning process. There are many apps in the Apple world that relate to helping students with their mathematical skills, and they are created in a way that gets students excited about learning math.

There are many ways to integrate technology into the classroom, and I choose the specific technology resources above because I feel that they were best at helping students to succeed in the classroom. I would use use calculators to help students to be able to check their own work. Giving students the calculator too early can have its drawbacks, so once the students have learned to solve the problem on their own then I would give them the calculator as a way to check their work. The computer is a valuable resource to help students explore the world and relate it back to their studies. With this resource, I would have students do a possible project were they would have to research a particular topic and then solve mathematical problems that go along with their data. In high school, I did a project that followed this idea and I had to look up data on hurricanes and then use statistics to solve different problems. I would also have students practice their mathematical skills on the computer through website games like ABCya, mentioned above. Then finally with the newest technology of interactive whiteboards and tablets, I would create lessons that would engaged the students and get them up and moving during the lesson. Creating SMART lessons are a lot of fun and I feel that the students really enjoy how they can interact with what is on the board, and it makes the lesson more engaging.

Technology is surrounding the world and it is now becoming a major part of our classrooms. There are so many new exciting technology pieces that have been created to help students, become more engaged in their learning process. Mathematics classes have been stereotyped as boring and un-able to be engaging, but with new technology advances that stereotype can now fade away.

Engleward, A. (2013). Technology in math education: the iPad a game-changer?. Retrieved February 1, 2013, from http://www.extension.harvard.edu/hub/blog/math-teaching/technology-math-education-ipad-game-changer

Willard, T. (2005). Integrating technology into the mathematics classroom. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/subject/int_tech_math.phtml

Vanderbilt University (2008, August 20). Calculators okay in math class, if students know the facts first, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080819160203.htm