Tuesday, November 22, 2011

*8 ways Technology is improving Education

I recently read an article online about 8 ways technology is improving education. The article was written by Sarah Kessler on November 22 2010 The article speaks about how essential technology is throughout education Don Knezek compares education without technology is like medical profession without technology. He feels very strongly about the effects technology can have throughout education. I feel Education has taken some big steps since I have been in school. When I was in school, there were new whiteboards but there were no smart boards, Elmo’s and even to this day those are getting to be even more obsolete. The new gadgets in classrooms are growing to clickers, microphones and smart slates. Many schools in the U.S. are still figuring how or if it is worth making the transitions to technology within the classrooms.
Implementing technology in the classroom has made student understanding increase. For example, computer technology can create better simulations and computer models. Say you wanted to do a lesson on Growing a vegetable garden. Students can create a virtual garden and grow their own plants. The computer can generate the plants to as many times the student log on and water the plants and the students can see the plants progress.

Here is the list of the 8 ways technology is improving education.
1. Better Simulations and Models              5. More Efficient Assessment
2.  Global Learning                                   6. Storytelling and Multimedia
3. Virtual Manipulates                               7. E-books
4. Probes and Sensors                              8. Epistemic Games

If you would like to read the article; 8 ways Technology is improving Education 
Image from GradMemory's Blog

Awesome Teachers overlooked?

Teachers, by definition are persons who provide education for pupils (children) and students (adults). A Teacher is a person who teaches or instructs, especially as a profession; instructor. Those were the online definitions for what a teacher really is defined by online. Teachers Appreciation day is on May 8th this upcoming year of 2012 it is the one day a year we say Thank You to our Teachers. One day out of the many years we owe our teachers for giving us the knowledge to pursue our dreams further. I think we need to express our Thank you's to our teachers more than once a year.I think Teachers in the U.S. are under-appreciated and underpaid for all they do I think we need to pay more attention to education and the people who decide to take up the role of being Teachers. Many countries outside the U.S. understand how essential Education is and is focusing its money on the education of their children because those are same children that will one day be in charge of their country. I think this is one of the major issues the U.S. has overlooked. Teachers in the US are the lowest paid position in the U.S. Doctors and Lawyers are known as the highest paid positions but where would any of those people be without their Teachers? I think the US should step back and show a little more appreciation to the Teachers and more importantly the schools. In Finland, Teaching is a prestigious career in Finland. Teachers are highly valued and paid as well or maybe even better than Doctors and Lawyers. Education in Finland is amazing. Currently, Finland has the highest test scores worldwide. Many people wonder what their secret is. In Finland, the school system is set up a little differently. The kids are in the classrooms less, the kids are also set in the same school all the way up to High School, so there is no transition to the middle level of schooling.
The Finnish philosophy with education is that everyone has something to contribute and those who struggle in certain subjects should not be left behind. There are specific teacher assigned to help struggling students but they also give many opportunities to the gifted students as a perfect balance in schooling. Why can’t the U.S. get their act together and start schooling the children of today for the future of tomorrow. The only way we can do this is focusing all our efforts on Education. For our children to get a good education, we depend on the Teachers, so why not show our appreciation for the people who make the world of a difference and pay teachers better! I am not saying this because one day I will be a teacher and I think I should get more money but I am saying this for all the teachers I have had in past that have touched my life even more so than what I learned in the classroom but all the lessons you taught me within my time at school. So this is a thank you to Mrs. Morman, to Mr. Snider, to Mr. Johnson, to. Mrs. McHugh & Mr. Dawson and all the other teachers that deserve so much more, I hope this ramble reaches you and pays you back for all you did for me. I hope I become like you what you were for me, an Awesome Teacher!

                                                     Finland's education success

Image from Graphic Hunt

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Apps for Autism" Ipads are the new learning tools

Steve Jobs and the Ipad  

So I watched this segment from the show 60 minutes called "Apps for Autism" It was Amazing! I thought it was incredible, it was just another miracle Steve Jobs invented and the best part is he didn't even know how much it would change everything. Ipads are the newest gadget from Apple, for those of you who live in the dark, an ipad is the same as a laptop just in tablet form. Ipads and ipods are usually devices used for leisure but now it is being used as a teaching tool for autistic children.
Ipads can also be used as a communication device because of new apps available such as the Language translator which can be used to translate English to Spanish, French German and so on but this time it is being used to communicate in the simplest way.
The smallest things like how they feel or what they would like to eat for children, teens and adults with autism this is difficult to express however now it it made easy. I also saw how ipads are used for teaching purposes, I saw the cutest little girl and her teacher trying to do a simple writing test with a pad of paper and pencil, the little girl fidgeted and destroyed the paper but when the ipad was placed in front of her, she was fully engaged and sort of memorized by the device.

Image from 60 Minutes
Another story which really tugged at my heart strings was this little boy who thought to have the level of intelligence of a toddler but when he was given a quiz on the ipad his teachers found out he REALLY did know things and he was also able to express himself and we learned he likes opera and will act out being a conductor. Imagine what this will bring? Schools are already integrating technology within their classroom so why not ipads and apps. Steve Jobs you will always shine in the light.  
Here is the video to watch
Apps for Autism on 60 Minutes

  Images from 60 Minutes and from Examiner.com

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gaming is the new Learning

Gaming and Learning
So Technology is always updating itself, something new last month is so old right now because we are always trying to improve what we already have. Why not look back and remember the old interactive games? The same games I grew up on, those were the best. I played all those JumpStart Interactive Games and found them challenging and got me ready for my next year of school. I remember playing Math Blaster and JumpStart all the way up until 5th grade. All those games prepared kids for what they would encounter next year at school, plus they engaged kids with a mission and had fun learning at the same time.

My all time favorite game back then was "Read Blaster" This game helped with my Reading Skills, Grammar Skills and Analogies. I still remember the storyline, Rave lives in Monster Ville or something and the Evil Dr. Dapple invited all the Town Council Member to dinner and they disappeared so it was up to me and Rave to save the day or night because it was always night time. (Which made it way creepier!) I would still play this game to this day, but like I mentioned earlier "We" (the Computer People) are constantly updating computers and Reading Blaster only operates on Windows 1998 and the year is 2011 so the game is too old for my computer today to read the disc.
What if we were to bring these Games back into the Classroom?
Certain games can go along with certain curriculum's, whichever the Teacher wants to emphasize, for example My friend is creating a thematic unit on Communities. If she wanted the kids to create their own community she could have the kids play "Sims Town". That way the kids can design and create their own communities and each of them would have to learn what certain communities need to have like schools, police stations, post offices and so on. For history,  Amazon trail so the kids can learn about the variety of animals living in the Amazon, they can learn about the people and tribes within the Amazon, how to navigate a map and river systems and the Teacher could also cover who the Inca People were in History.
I think using Learning Interactive Games like Reader Blaster, Amazon Trail  and the old JumpStart games in the classroom can engage the kids and keep them learning while trying to beat the game. I am sure those same Computer People have created new computer games for the newest generation of kids to continue learning from, all I am saying is; "Hey why not update the old games so the kids today can enjoy the same educational games their Teachers grew up on too."
Images from Wikipedia

                                                      Math Blaster scene

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Ripples

One of my favorite quotes from a wise willow tree once said:

"The Ripples, so small at first but then look how they grow, but Someone has to start them."

I think I am going to start making some ripples, Something as small as saying hello to a stranger. 
This is something I have been told I do too many times. My Mom, my Sister and sometimes my Friends tell me I talk to people too easily. Truthfully I am sometimes too friendly and I do enjoy talking to others. But this small ripple I want to start is due to something I personally have noticed since coming to UNI. I was surprised to notice that many if not all of the students avoid direct eye contact with other students while walking to or from place to place.

What if this is my first ripple?

So Starting today I will be keeping my chin up, walk straight and tall and just say "Hello!" to everyone I meet while passing on the street. I will encourage my friends to take part and maybe this will change. My Dad told me in his college years, attending Texas A&M it was customary to say "Howdee" to everyone you passed on campus. I don't know if I will be able to start a cool word like "Howdee" but Hello is simply enough and that's all I really want is a little "Hello!".    

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

See me @ UNI 
I am a student who dares to become a teacher.
I will be rambling about anything and everything and anyone who know me, know I like to talk more so than ramble. :)
My first post... Hello!!!!