Monday, August 13, 2012

Journal 9: First Graders with iPads?

Getting, S., & Swainey , K. (2012). First graders with iPads?. Learning and Leading with Technology ,40(1), 24-27. Retrieved from Retrieved from

Summary: In the article, “First Graders with iPads?” teachers in Minnesots decided to give their first grade students iPads. This big leap of faith immediately outweighed the risks. The iPad was used to increase the reading achievement with their two lowest reading groups. The teachers could really see that the iPads were increasing the students attentiveness. The iPad became a motivational tool for many students who were practicing good behavior. Data was also collect to statistics for the “time on task,” which concluded an increase of 20%. The iPad is a very influential tool it is amazing to see how much improvement occurred in the little amount of time.

Q1: As a prospective Special Education teacher, can I see myself implementing iPads into the classroom?

Answer 1: I can absolutely see this tool being used in Special Education classes. I feel that it would improve the learning immensely. Students can use this not only for reading intervention, but as a communication tool as well. I’m not sure that I will get to use them since they are a bit expensive, but I certainly hope I do one day.

Q2: Should iPads be mandatory in schools?

Answer 2: I truly believe that iPads should be mandatory. I have heard that they would be cheaper to have then the schools having to buy book. I don’t think schools will ever do away with textbooks, but I believe they need to make iPads a mandatory tool used in the classroom. Our world is changing and our schools need to as well. The iPads can be used as motivation for the students.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Journal 8: Adaptive Technology


Augmentative and Alternative Communication is communication for those with impairments or restrictions on the production or comprehension of a written or spoken language.

Some methods that can assist special needs students with AAC require no use of technology. Unaided strategies rely on the users body convey messages. The low technology strategies that can be used are gestures, body language and sign language. A low-tech strategy that could be used in the classroom is a choice board. A choice board has pictures, symbols and objects that can be used to communicate daily learning activities. The students’ can chose an answer from the choice board to complete a sentence started on another choice board.

A high-tech strategy that can be used in the classroom is the DynaVox Xpress., is a lightweight, durable and portable AAC device. It comes with wireless Internet, Bluetooth, and a built in camera. The pages can be modified and students can use it as a way to communicate in the classroom.


An Input Device for people with special needs is any device that aides mentally or physically handicapped people to input information into a technological device.

Hardware Option:
The Eyetech tm2 is a mouse replacement device that allows the user to place the mouse pointer anywhere on the screen just by looking at the desire location. This device could be a helpful took for people that have little to no hand function. Students could use this tool in class just by using their eye as the curser. It would really motivate students to be independent by giving them the opportunity to use these tools without having to use their hands.  

Software Option:
Click-n-type is an onscreen virtual keyboard designed to provide computer accessibility to anyone with a disability that is unable to type from a physical computer keyboard. Students who are able to hold and click a mouse can use this software keyboard.

Journal 7: My Personal Learning Network

Personal Learning Network
As a future teacher, it is important for me to continue being a lifelong learner and collaborate with others. With the use of a Personal Learning Network, I can find resources and people who can help me continue learning. A personal learning network (PLN) is a collection of people who you engage and exchange information with. My PLN continues to grow through the use of Twitter, Facebook, Symbaloo, Classroom 2.0 and Diigo. Through these sites, I am able to connect and exchange resources with people around the world. My PLN will help me continue my journey as a lifelong learner and keep me up-to-date on tools and resources that will help my students succeed.

Twitter is an extremely useful tool. It has taken some time for me to get used to, but I have been able to experience how useful it really is. Twitter has allowed to me to connect with other educators, students, and those who are involved in education. They have shared many strategies and websites that I will be able to use in the future. On August 1st, I joined the new teacher chat on twitter. The topic of discussion was “Design Thinking in Your Classroom.” The chat was very structured and fast paced. The chat consisted of questions and answers.  It was a very interesting discussion and I really enjoyed everyone thoughts and opinions. A lot of the educators that were taking part of the chat shared stories from their own personal experiences. The chat will be very beneficial upon becoming a new teacher.

Diigo is a social-book marking tool that allows users to access their website bookmarks from an computer. Diigo also lets you share your bookmarks with others. While using Diigo I am able to follow other educators and view what they are sharing. I am currently following students’ in the credential program. I also am following a couple of people whose interest connected with my tags from my bookmarks. This tool will be a great place to share and store resources that I find helpful.

I have also become a member of Classroom 2.0 which is a social network for educators who are interested in education.  While on Classroom 2.0 I explored and read through some of the discussion boards.  The discussion was about how grades are not motivating. Many of the educators that posted to the board discussed implementing video game strategies to increase motivation.  

Journal 6: "Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework (and Five Alternatives)"

Spencer, J. (2011, September 19). Ten reasons to get rid of homework (and five alternatives). Retrieved from

In the article “ Ten Reason to Get Rid of Home,” author John Spencer explains his reasoning’s for not giving his students homework.  He believes that homework kills the desire for students want to learn. Students need more time to play and relax. If they don’t learn anything during the six hours they are at school are they going to accomplish anything while working at home? Spencer believes that homework diminishes achievement. These ideas that Spencer has are very interesting and I always have had mixed feeling about homework. In high school and middle school, homework always seemed like busy work. All I can personally remember doing is worksheets. I don’t believe in not giving any homework at all. I think maybe a one or two assignments a week is good. I think that what is being assigned should be given with purpose and meaning.

5 alternatives to homework:
1.     Give students a project where they have to observe and explore outside.  Have them photograph or draw something from nature that they saw.
2.     Read a newspaper article and bring it to class to share with their classmates.
3.     Have students present an activity that they enjoy doing outside of class.  
4.     Have students do a volunteer project. They can either volunteer somewhere of their choice or do community service on their own. Have them write about it and how it made them feel.
5.     Always give students options for homework. Let them choose which assignment they would like to do.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Journal 4: "Join the Flock" and "Enhance your Twitter Experience"

NETS-T: 2,4, 5

Ferguson, H. (2010). Join the Flock!. Learning and leading with Technology , 37(8), 12-15. Retrieved from

Summary: In the article, “Join the Flock,” author Hadley Ferguson discusses how to build your PLN through the social media website Twitter. Twitter really has brought together her PLN.  Twitter can help make strangers become a community, “PLN is a community of individuals around the world who are learning together.” According to Ferguson, building a PLN community does take some time. She explains that with twitter you necessarily don’t have to make yourself visible. You can follow people and not say a word. When you are ready to make yourself visible you can simply start retweeting some of the people you are following tweets. This will help develop your PLN community and people will start following you.

Q1: Can I see myself developing a PLN using Twitter?
Answer: I have been a little resistant using twitter. I have had one for a couple of years now, but have never really been able to get into it. After reading this article, I have learned a lot how to slowly develop my PLN.  I believe for my future profession this is a great tool that I need to learn to use.  

McClintock, S. (2010). Enhance your twitter experience. Learning and Leading with Technology , 37(8), 14-17. Retrieved from
Summary: In the article, “Enhance your Twitter Experience,” author Shannon McClintock talks about tools and tips that once can use to enhance their twitter experiences. There are many different twitter organizers that can be used to organize your tweetstream. The tweet organizers such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, organize your tweets into separate columns. You can organize your tweets into columns like: all friends, direct messages, mentions, or any special list or searches that you’re following. This article also demonstrates the importance of using hash tags on twitter. It is a great way to share and connect and follow people who have the same interests as you. After reading this article, Twitter seems like a great tool to build your PLN and make relationships with others all over the world.

Q2: Will these tools really help enhance my twitter experience?
Answer: I think the reason why I haven't really been involved in the whole Twitter fad is because I really haven't been able to understand it. It has seemed a bit unorganized to me and chaotic. I think with these tools it will make it easier to use.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Journal 3: Flipping the Classroom!

NETS-T: 2,3

Fulton, K. (2012). Upside down and inside out: Flip your classroom to improve student learning. Learning & leading with technology, 39(8), 12-14. Retrieved from

A group of dedicated educators decided to use a new educational innovation in their classrooms. These teachers all teamed up to "flip" their classroom. They recorded math lessons at home for their students to watch, and then in class the students would do their homework. Students are then able to ask questions in class and get the help they need when their doing homework. Students math scores have gone up tremendously and many of the students are really enjoying this method of flipped classrooms.

The students seem to have a lot of freedom using this method. During each class, students start rearranging furniture. They are able to pick a place where they would like to sit and do their work. They can also work with a group of students or work on their own. Some students even review last nights lesson during this time. It gives the students the opportunity to work at their own pace. If a student is ahead they can move on to the next lesson. If the student is struggling they can get the help they need in class. This give the teachers more time to answer the students’ questions rather then just moving on to the next lecture.  

Q1. How could use a flipped classroom in a special education class?

This method really seems to work for math. I’m not sure I would incorporate this with other subjects. I think it would work if I recorded my lessons during class time and posted them online for the students to look over if they had any questions or needed to better clarify something that was taught in class. I would definitely use this method for math and science though!

Q2. How would students be able to use this method if they had no access to technology?

The article does talk about giving the students a CD for those who do not have internet, but what if the student didn’t have a computer at all. I would give students the option of coming into class early or after school if they needed to watch the recordings.

Journal 2: School 2.0 Reflection Tool

After taking the reflection 2.0 teacher assessment, I decide to investigate NETS-T1, “Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity.” I believe it is really important to enable students to use technology to demonstrate critical thinking and construct knowledge. I wish that my teachers had used more technology. I feel that my classes growing up used just standard power point and mostly just lecturing. I really don’t remember doing any assignments or research with the Internet. I think that if I grew up with more of these tools that it would of brought out a more creative side in me.

Teachers today, now more then ever need to use technology. Most of the students today in the K-12 system have been brought up using computers, iPhones, and other technical devices. Teachers really need to keep their students engaged. Technology really advances the students’ learning.  Virtual environments keep the students connected and informed. Technology really helps inspire the students more then I would of ever thought. It is really interesting to see how much technology affects the students learning in todays day and age, because I feel that I had little technology in my learning process. Students can solve real world issues and problems with digital tools and resources. They become more independent solving things by themselves.  It is all very interesting!

Nets for teachers. (n.d.). Retrieved from