Posted by: swuharrison | August 4, 2011

Student Engaged Learning

Title of Article: “Differentiated Instruction: Getting Personal with Technology”

Author:  Grace Rubenstein


Summary:  At Forest Lake Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina there are many different learning tools being used at once.  This school incorporates technology into the classroom to challenge and help students reach their highest potential.  The students are engaged in learning by having freedom of choice. Some may be making a slide show, making comic strips, or making videos.  The teachers are able
to work with the students on a more one-on-one basis.  The teachers meet the need of the students by finding an activity to fill in the gap in the students’ knowledge.  The students are still learning the subject matter but expressing how they know it in different ways.  The teacher has become a facilitator.  Although the test scores for Forest Lake are below the district average, the test scores for individual students are slightly above the national norm.  The principal, Kappy Cannon, knows things are working because of what she has seen in the classroom and the individual assessments. Every child is challenged at their own level. The teachers use computer programs to assess a child and the computer checks the answers. This gives the teacher time to plan and grade other complex projects. The computer program can also identify a specific weakness of a child which helps the teacher design a lesson according to the needs of the individual student. The teachers at Forest Lake Elementary School work together to help make this kind of instruction a success.

New or Interesting Concept:  Most of the assessing tools were new concepts to me.  I use centers in my classroom but using so many technology centers is not something I am familiar with.  I liked the Comic Life software where the child was able to make a cartoon for his assessment.  Instead of teaching out of a textbook to the norm, the teacher is able to meet the individual needs of the student. Computer
programs are used to assess students and help the teacher know what weakness a child has in specific skill.

My Response:  This article was very interesting to me.  I am not familiar with many technological tools or program that can be used in a classroom.  I can see where each child would benefit from being in a classroom like the ones at Forest Lake Elementary School.  The students are completely engaged in what they are learning. I think this would be hard for the teachers, but according to the article they plan together and help each other through it. I would love to visit this school and see how it works first hand.

Posted by: swuharrison | July 28, 2011

Engage and Entertain

Title of Video:  Teaching in the 21st Century

Created by:  Kevin Roberts


Summary:  Teaching is not just to give the students information. They can get that on their own through technology.  The teacher is no longer the main source of knowledge for students, they are now the filter. The focus of the teacher is to show students the skills needed to get correct and accurate information.  Students can create new things using technology such as networking, blogging, a digital portfolio or posting.  They also need to be taught copyright laws.  The problem solving tools teachers use need to be evaluated and updated if necessary. Technology tools should be used to entertain and engage the students.

New or Interesting Concept:  Allowing the students to present their work using digital portfolios or blogs. Teachers no longer need to teach just the facts because students can find those on their own.  The teacher is now the filter of knowledge.

Response:  There were some great ideas and concepts presented. I can see where older students and especially high school students could greatly benefit from using some of the ideas presented.  It would be difficult for me to incorporate these into my preschool classroom.

Posted by: swuharrison | July 27, 2011

The Shift

Title: 21st Century Education in New Brunswick, Canada

Produced by: New Brunswick Department of Education


Summary:  This video shows how rapidly the world of technology is changing. Many skills that are taught in school will be obsolete by the time the students graduate. This century, technology will experience 20,000 years of growth.  Textbooks can now be loaded on a computer or a hand held device.  Education should be about adapting to this change.  In order to keep the students engaged we must stay relevant and keep up. Schools and classrooms should have an environment rich in technology. They should also interact digitally and involve the community.

 Interesting Concept: The rate at how fast technology is improving, 20,000 years of growth this century, surprised me. Students could put their textbooks on their computer and have them all in one place instead of carrying around so many different books.

My Response:  I think it is important to have an environment rich in technology.  I have never thought about the fact that a lot of things taught in school will be obsolete by graduation.  In order to prepare the students for their future they need to have some experience with technology and be taught the manners and skills associated with it. The future is accelerating and somehow we have to try and keep up.  There is a big shift from how the classroom looked when I attended school to how it looks now.

Posted by: swuharrison | July 27, 2011

Response to NETS-T Standard 5

Standard 5:  Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership

Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources. Teachers:

  1. Participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning.
  2. Exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others.
  3. Evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning.
  4.  Contribute to the effectiveness, vitality, and self-renewal of the teaching profession and of their school and community.

Summary:  Teachers should model use of technology and digital tools in the community and in the school.  Improvements should continue to be made to classrooms and teaching methods. There should be involvement with the community as well as teaching and helping the development of technology skills of others. Technology and practice should be current to help student learning be more effective.

The technology classes I have taken for recertification have helped me to be aware of some technological improvements. I know my strength in
technology awareness will improve after this class and I will bring more technology into the classroom and model these skills.  I am improving my professional practice by pursuing my Masters Degree.

Weaknesses:  I have not been involved with digital communities nor modeled technology skills to my students. I have not showed
leadership by modeling or using digital technology. I have never felt comfortable doing much with technology other than emails, searching the
internet, or working with Microsoft.

Posted by: swuharrison | July 26, 2011

Giving the Students Control

Title of Article: Giving Up Control

Author: J Bevacqua


Summary: In this blog Mr. Bevacqua tells about giving his high school students more control over their assignment. The students were given complete choice of a topic or research question that they wanted to know more about. The students were also given complete choice on how they were going to present their research. The only stipulation was that the presentation could not “bore” the audience. Instead of giving the students a letter grade, the teacher focused on finding the answer to their question. The outcome of the project was a success. The students chose some engaging topics and were interested in their work.  They did not worry about their final grade but were motivated because it was of interest to
them. The teacher felt as if had more “one on one” time with his students.

New or Interesting Concept:
An interesting concept for me was the teacher allowing the students to have complete control over their research project. Also the concept of not
giving the students grades for the project but just using it as a learning skill.

Response: I have learned that giving more control to the students is a good concept especially for higher level thinkers.  If it is something the student enjoys learning about then they will be more motivated in doing their work. My preschool students enjoy learning when we are discussing a topic someone has asked me about.

Posted by: swuharrison | July 25, 2011

Resonse to NETS-T Standard 4

Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

            Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices. Teachers:

a.     Advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources.

b.     Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources.

c.      Promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions to the use of technology and information.

d.     Develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital-age communication and collaboration tools.

Summary:  Teachers should model and teach the responsibilities of digital culture. This should include the legal laws, safety, and ethical behavior. Teachers should model cultural understanding by getting involved with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital resources. Have learning centers for diverse needs that provides access to digital tools and resources.

Strengths: I do not have much strength in this area.  If I share information with a colleague I will share where I found that information. I do not use information or pictures off the web that has a copyright attached.

Weaknesses: I do not model digital behavior for my students.  I have never used the computer with my preschool students, mostly because I do not have the resources. I have never corresponded with a colleague from other places, I have never even thought of that before. I do not have learning centers where there is access to digital tools.

Posted by: swuharrison | July 24, 2011

Unseen Nobility

Title of Article: Hey – I’m not messing up – I’m learning!

Author: Vicki Davis


Summary:  Vicki Davis reminds us that it is okay to make mistakes.  When we make a mistake we should not get upset or angry with ourselves, instead we should think about what we can learn from it.

She also states that teachers are noble.  Teachers spend their time in a worthy cause. We should set a good example and be admirable. We can improve our classrooms and move ahead. “We can’t do everything but we can do something.”

Interesting Concept: The idea of teachers being noble.  I would never have seen myself as a noble person.  I always do my best to set a good Christian example for my students, coworkers, and parent of my students, but I never saw that as being noble.

When a mistake is made, asking the question, “Now, what have we learned?” I usually do not take the time to think about what I could learn from my mistakes.

My Response to the article: This encouraged me about my position as a teacher. It encouraged me that I can change or improve things.  It may not change overnight but it can change within a period of time. It also reinforced the concept that it is okay to make mistakes.  I agree with Vicki Davis in that we should act noble and set forth a good example.

Posted by: swuharrison | July 15, 2011

Virtual Exchange Between Classes

Article: “I Heard Them Say, Love Is The Way”

Author: Miss Night


Summary: This blog is about a Kindergarten teacher in Canada whose class had a virtual exchange with a partner class in Indonesia.  Each class had an imaginary friend who attended the partner school. She used several technology resources to interact with the exchange class.   Miss Night used Twitter, videos, virtual field trips, and Prezi presentations.

The students built connections with other children their own age on the other side of the world. Miss Night gave a list of examples of things the children learned through this virtual interaction. The students were excited about learning.  They also showed concern and love for their friends in the partner class, even though the only correspondence between them was virtually.  They wanted to take care of the Indonesia friends when there was a threat to their safety. I like the following statements made by the kids: “They are our friends. We can take care of them. They will be safe with us. We have room.” These students not only learned facts about another place but also learned the value of friendship.

New Concept: The whole idea of partnering with a class around the world virtually was new to me.  I have had students write to children but never even though of connecting virtually. I loved this idea.  I also learned about a Prezi meeting and presentation.  The Prezi meeting is a way people can work on something at the same time from different locations.  The presentation is like a power point but looks like more fun and interesting to me.

My Response to the Article:  I enjoyed this article.  I love the idea and the examples of what the students learned.  I also like the idea of a virtual field trip.  It is not easy taking 4 year olds on a lot of field trips, but virtual field trips would be fun and exciting as well. I think this is a good article for teachers to read.  It shows how involved kids would get with an idea like this.  The lessons they learned, educational and  emotional, were very beneficial.

Posted by: swuharrison | July 15, 2011

Response to NETS-T Standard 3

Standard 3: Model Digital-Age Work and Learning

Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society. Teachers:

  1. demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations.
  2. collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation.
  3. communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats.
  4. model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning.


  • Teachers need to have professional knowledge about technology
  • Teachers should show their digital knowledge in a professional manner
  • Know how to use technology systems well and adapt to the changing systems
  • Use digital tools and resources to communicate with parents, students, and peers
  • Use digital resources to find information in order to support learning
  • Model how to find and use digital information resources

Strengths: I use the internet to find resources and ideas for my lessons. I do have some familiarity with computer systems and searching for things on the computer. I communicate with my parents and peers through email and some peers through Facebook. I try to be professional in my newsletters, emails, and lesson plans that are done on the computer. This coming school year we are adding a new system to our school that will allow me to communicate with parents in new way.

Weaknesses: I do not know much about the kinds of technology available to me. I am nervous about using a new system, and because of this I usually do not try new things pertaining to technology. I do not collaborate with others except through email. I am looking forward to, and a little nervous, about trying a new system when the school year starts back.  I wish I felt more comfortable with technology and digital tools.  I do not use many digital tools in my classroom because I thought there was little available to me as a preschool teacher. Through this class I have learned there are more available than I realized.

Posted by: swuharrison | July 11, 2011

Review of “Through my Students’ Eyes” by Cheryl Oakes

Title of article: “Through my Students’ Eyes”

Author: Cheryl Oakes

This article followed a student through his school years and gives examples of some ways to use technology in the classroom.  Through elementary and middle school some great ideas were used to integrate technology in the classroom.  The student was excited about the projects every year.  When high school arrived he seemed comfortable using technology and was using it to play and communicate with his friends during school.  The high school teachers did not integrate different types of learning. They told him they did not have time because the content needed to be covered. The student then lost excitement about school. 

 I liked the idea of using a flip or video device to film the students saying their name and something about themselves.  This could help the students get to know one another in a fun and different way. I also liked that you could keep recording throughout the year by adding things they have learned to their video.

 The ideas presented for each grade were wonderful.  I think it is common for teachers to focus more on covering the content than integrating different types of learning or technology.  There are so many standards that have to be covered in one school year it is easy to get caught up in just making sure they are covered.  For those of us who do not have much experience using technology, it can be a challenge to use it as a teaching tool in the classroom.

Older Posts »