Saturday, November 26, 2011

Journal 10: End the Math Wars

End the Math Wars

Kuhn, Matt, and Kathleen Demsey. "End the Math Wars." Learning & Leading With Technology. 39.3 (2011): 18-20. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. <;.

The article discussed the benefits of expanding the mathematics curriculum to online sources. First, it talks about the two components of math, the step by step work with numbers and the skills of algebra and geometry to accomplish mathematical fluency, but there is another component of the real world mathematical disciplines such as problem solving and learning from trial and error. It then states that a virtual mathematic lesson could combine these two concepts to make math even more understandable and enjoyable. By implementing a virtual math program to the curriculum, it says that it will be able to make the math lessons more relevent to real life situations, which will make students more engaged with the lesson. For example, instead of a long, confusing word problem in a text book, programs like and would be able to recreate the problem into a game using similar scenarios and achievements. Also, programs like the Carnegie Learning's Bridge to Algebra Readiness series are able to give students assessments that determine their mathematical background and produces a custom made activity to help them work through the skills that they scored a lower score in. As the student works through the custom made activity, it changes to accomodate the student's needs. This type of technology can greatly improve each and every students' math skills and also makes it interactive and fun for them. Also, since the updates are immediate, the software can catch students' mistakes early and help them to veer away from the incorrect steps. These programs also offer an annonymous feedback system that allows the students to ask questions or give feedback to math lessons when they are confused. This is beneficial for students that are shy or embarassed to speak up in front of their peers, but it is also beneficial for the teacher because it allows them to see where each student is having problems. This technology seems to be beneficial for everyone, for students because it is more relevant to real life situations which engages them and makes math more fun. It is also beneficial for teachers because they are able to automatically see where each student lies mathematically and what the lessons need to focus on more for the students to fully understand the material.

Question 1: How will these programs change current math teaching methods?
I think the teacher's teaching methods for the step-by-step solving will remain the same, but I think the teacher will be able to allow the program to teach how to make sense of word problems. So, the teacher will still be using similar teaching methods, however, might not need to be so in depth with dissecting math word problems.

Question 2: By integrating these programs to the curriculum, how will the students change as a result?
I think the students will be more likely to enjoy math time in school. Also, because they will be more interested in math, they will be getting more practice. And, because these programs give real life examples, they will be able to relate their knowledge to real life situations.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Journal 9

Reading Redefined for a Transmedia Universe

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and Leading With Technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved from

In the article by Annette Lamb, she talks about the ways that technology has affected reading. She first introduces ebooks which are similar to average books but are electronic and hold several books on the one device. But, unlike regular paper books, ebooks have extra tools such as highlighting for dictionary use, note taking, and bookmarking. Also, since it is an electronic device, the text size, text color,  and word search engine, are all controlled by the reader. She then goes into explaining interactive storybooks, which are devices that read aloud while the corresponding words of the text is highlighted. It also provides definition tools. This device is especially beneficial for beginner readers and could also be helpful for students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia that may find reading more difficult. She describes reference databases as records to information through search tools, indexes, or subjects. Examples of reference databases would be Google, Bing, Wikipedia, etc. They can show not only information, but also photos, video, maps, and audio. She then introduced hypertext and interactive fiction which are various links or online hotspots. Readers are attracted by them because of varitey of options but can also be distracting for some because they can get lost in the material. Lastly, she explains transmedia storytelling, which is text with connected resources such as videos, links, games, activities, etc. Some examples of transmedia storytelling are social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.  Her article was inteded to point out these new technologies that are affecting reading and presenting the possible benefits of the evolution of reading. She stated that one third of young people in a study would read more books for fun if they had access to ebooks and could affect students' learning if incorporated into the classrooms.

Question 1: How will these new technology change the way children learning to read think of reading?
I think these electronic devices will make it much easier for children to learn to read. Since they all provide extra tools, such as aloud reading (for correct pronounciation), dictionary access (for instant word definitions), and word search engines (for easy tracking of text), they make reading much more efficient and easy to comprehend. Also, the fact that these devices are so new, students will most likely be more interested in reading.

Question 2: How will the curriculum change with these new additions?
I think the curriculum will be able to be much more inclusive for all student learning styles. Because these new devices give so much more assistance in various ways, students will be less focused on the reading and more willing to participate in related projects. So, instead of writing a paragraph on the meaning of a story, children will be able to go further with the assignment and identify themes and other discoveries.

NETS T Mind Mapping

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jounal 8: Adaptive Technology

Augmentive and Alternative Communicataion (AAC) includes all types of communication excluding oral communication that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. (

An example of a low tech tool is using gestures within the classroom. In order for this system to be successful, the teacher and all of the students would have to clearly act out and show rather than tell information so that all students would understand, the special needs child would understand the teacher and classmates and vice/versa. This system, if succesful, will be able to eliminate the communication barrier.

An example of a low tech software tool would be the Click-N-Type virtual keyboard. This software is designed for students that may not have the ability to type and a computer keyboard but can use a pointing device or a computer mouse. It is a virtual keyboard that appears on the computer screen and works with any Microsoft Windows from 1995 to Windows 7. This will allow students that may not be able to type to still be able to search the internet and communicate electronically.

An example of a high tech hardware tool would be an iPad. There are several programs on the iPad that are extremely beneficial for classroom use such as Mathboard and Flashcards Deluxe. Mathboard has sources to help students with their math such as a mulitplication table and other visual math tools to help students learn. Also, flashcards deluxe helps students learn their vocabulary in a fun, innovative way. It also pronounces the words so there is no confusion.

An example of a high tech software would be Verbose, a text to speech converter that can read text aloud or save spoken text to mp3 files. This would be a great software for students with vision or reading disabilities. It also works great for students that are audio learners rather than visual learners. There many adjustable options such as pitch, tone, volume, and speed so it can help a large range of students.

Input device is any machine that feeds data into a computer. So, an input device for special needs users could be a trackball instead of a mouse. It is an input device that is especially helpful for students that have limited fine motor skills, such as the ability to hold a pencil and write or dragging and picking up the mouse.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Journal 6

Google+: The Complete Guide
Parr, B. (2011, July 16). Google+: The complete guide. Retrieved from

Brogan, Chris. (2011, September 30). Educators- Google Plus is For You. Retrieved from

The blog post, "Google + The Complete Guide" describes Google+ and informs the reader of its features and functions and also rates its difficulty of use. It says that Google+ was intended to compete with Facebook as a social network. Google+ seems to have extra features that Facebook doesn't offer such as video chats (hangouts) and group texting (huddle). But, it also offers circles (friend management) and photos, similar to Facebook. It was supposed to be an extension to Google's website and act as a profile showing notifications, like Facebook, once a Google+ member goes to the Google website. The blog states that it is admittedly more difficult to use than other social networks, but it also took members' comments and they seem to like how everything goes up into the cloud, meaning you can access documents and everything on any computer with internet access.  Google+ has some restrictions to the users it attracts. You have to be sent an invitation to be a part of the network, and also must have a gmail email account. In the blog post, he uploaded videos to show a video of how Google+ works. It describes the benefits of the "circles" feature and how you can talk to specific groups of people only, so people outside the circle that you would not want to view, can't. This is a more organized friend management device than Facebook. Also, you can have multiple person webchats through the "hanging out" application. Google+ also has applications to connect to your mobile phone, which is where "huddling" comes in. You can group text from your phone and have it connect to your Google+ profile. Google+ has more applications than other social networks, but because of that it also may be more difficult to use.

Question: Since Google+ is similar to Facebook, but has extra applications, do you think you would start to use it even though it is known to be more difficult than other social networks? If you decide to use Google+ in addition to other social networks, what aspects separated it from Facebook and other social networks that made you want to use it?

Answer: I think I would definitely use Google+ in addition to other social networks. The video that I watched in the blog that teaches a person how to use Google+ was sufficient enough for me to know the basics of Google+ so the fact that it is a little more difficult to use than other social networks wouldn't be a problem. The features that made me interested in Google+ was the circles, huddling, and hanging out applications. On Facebook, you can not block certain things from people to see, so the circles feature seems effective. The huddling is cool because it seems like it is a chatroom, being able to talk to many people at once while texting. That could be very useful. The hanging out feature is also cool because of the fact that you can webchat multiple people at once. I have Skype but you have to pay to be able to skype more than one person so Google+ is great. It is nice to have all features in one spot like Google+.

 In another blog, Chris Brogan posted "Educators-Google Plus is For You", which he first explains the benefits of the circles feature, that you can share information with a specific group of people. It gives an example of creating a circle of the members of the class you teach, including the students and their parents. This way, you can share lesson plans and the specific members will be the only ones that are able to view them, being private to the outside world. The blog post also discusses the benefit of comments and the ability to answer students' questions and interact with them virtually through hangouts. You can join hangouts with students as well as asking a special guest to join. The article concludes with various links to step-by-step directions about getting started with Google+ and its different features.

Question: The blog post seemed to share many benefits for teachers to use Google+, but it did not specifically identify the benefits for students to be involved with it. What could be the main benefits for students to use Google+?

Answer: Google+ is a great source for students to not only locate homework and worksheets, but also to ask the teacher questions and participate in a hangout if there is extra assistance needed on an assignment. Also, it would be helpful for students to interact with their classmates as well to form study groups, ask questions, do homework together, etc. This tool might also help the classroom unity become stronger because students are more engaged and are building a community with each other. I think by having students interact outside of school through Google+ will definitely improve their desire and interest to learn, their social skills and relationships with the teacher and classmates, as well as their academics by getting extra help and studying with their peers and teacher.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Journal 7: My Personal Learning Network

A Personal Learning Network (PLN) is a way for a person to gain and spread knowledge through a form of interaction such as sharing resources and ideas for future professional growth. Studying to become an elementary school teacher, there is a lot that I can learn from more experienced teachers. Creating my own Personal Learning Network, I have been able to use connect with other educators and learn through their experiences and ideas. My PLN consists of Twitter, an online social networking service which enables members to follow, communicate and share ideas with others; Diigo, a social bookmarking website which organizes specific websites through tagging and grouping; and Educator's PLN, a personal learning network for educators.

Using Twitter, I am able to communicate with other future educators, current educators, and education groups. I follow all of my classmates as well as other educators such as CATeachersassoc, flourishingkids, teachingwthsoul, teachersnet, and Weareteachers. You can also follow specific hashtags which allows you to participate in chats of the specific topic. I was able to participate in a chat with #urbaned on October 30th at 6:00 PM to discuss the relationship with standardized testing. Most of the people involved in the chat were saying that they thought education needed to be more about passion in learning instead of pressure to learn. Many also said that they were happy their schools were "data informed rather than data driven". I understood that as being aware of the standards and requirements of teachers to cover specific material for testing, but they were not teaching solely to do well on those tests, but to teach their students to have passion for learning and motivate them to participate because they want to, not because they have to. The chat was very informational and it also gave me a good insight on how to veer away from teaching for testing, especially because teachers now have an increased workload from budget cuts. It gave me good ideas such as assigning the students to write two sentences after each lesson about how they can use the information they just learned in real life. This way, the students are recognizing the information is useful, and not only taught to be tested on. It seems to be a good reminder for everyone when the pressure to do well on tests is overwhelming. The chat was very beneficial and gave me good ideas for my future teaching profession.

Diigo is a very accessible resource for organizing certain websites to refer back to it in the future. It is done by simply downloading the Diigo toolbar and bookmarking websites! You also can give the website certain tags for an even easier way to locate specific websites. And, Diigo also allows you to follow other users and have access to search their bookmarks as well. In that way, it acts as an excellent PLN resource to collaborate with others in your field and share information. I currently follow 7 people including Vicki Davis, Shelly Terrell, and many others. I chose to follow these people because they are educators and bookmark interesting information that could benefit me and other educators. In my Diigo library, I have tagged 3 bookmarks as PLN. The first is an educational blogger who titled his blog "". His blog discussed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and talked about the pressures it gives the students as well as the teachers to perform well due to testing. Another bookmark that I tagged under PLN was entitled "School Matters". It talked about educational news, specifically Tennessee's charter schools testing and how most charters schools do not have accurate data. The last bookmark that I tagged was from an educational blogger named Joanne Jacobs. Her blog post was entitled "A Tale of Two Teacher Evaluations" and discussed a teacher, Marilyn Rhames, and her experience at a school with an inexperienced principal and the importance of having an effective principal to manage a school and its staff.
By tagging all three of my sources under "PLN", they will be accessible to other Diigo user educators that search for resources under PLN. I also can search for PLN tags and come across others' posts for my own knowledge, so it truly acts as a great connecting network.

In addition to Twitter and Diigo, I also use a personal learning network called Educator's PLN. It displays educational forums, blogs, and videos for members to watch to learn about educational news and resources. I watched a video called "Ipads in Classrooms on Long Island" because it interested me. The video discussed the benefits of using Ipads in classrooms, the educational benefits rather than the focusing on the popularity of the device. It said that the Ipads have more applications that can be very useful to students. For example, it showed the Ipad's ability to highlight text and add a note to that specific portion to refer back to. About the issue of costs to provide all classrooms with Ipads, they said it is less expensive than one would think because it takes away from other expenses such as photo copying, printing, and textbooks. It was interesting to see how useful and user-friendly the Ipad was, especially for students in a classroom. I wonder if this idea of using Ipads in class will spread throughout the world!