Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The tool that I chose to review was Voki.  Take a peek at it on the right and click the play button.  I think that this could be a great tool to use with students.  You could use this as your morning routine and have the avatar tell students what they need to be doing while you are doing other things like lunch count or taking attendance.  This could definitely be used with a variety of diverse learners.  It could be used as a great tool to help kids with sounding things out and how to pronounce things properly.

 One of the main reasons why I signed up for Voki is because they have a section dedicated to lesson plans.  You can do a lesson plan search by grade or skill and there will be premade lessons that you can use.  Not only do you have the option of getting premade lesson you can also upload your own lessons to the website.  Here is a link to their lesson plan page so anyone can check out all of the different lesson plans.
One thing that I saw that I really liked was that some people used their Voki's when working with poetry.  They did this with one of my favorite Dr. Suess books, Oh the Places You'll Go.  If you like that story too check out Voki's blog where you can see a bear reading the poem.  I think Voki is a great tool that students will love.  I think students would love using Voki when they have to give reports or oral presentations.  They had a whole section of famous people that you could chose as your Voki.  I think a great assignment would be to assign students some of the famous people that they use on Voki and them have them give a report using that Voki.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Twitter Chat
This week I participated in the #teachchat.  I really liked the overall set up of this chat.  The moderator would ask questions and give us time to respond and then we would talk a little about the responses.  Everyone was very friendly and welcoming which made it even better.  I found this chat by looking on the website  I clicked on Wednesday on the website after realizing I missed one that I was going to do tonight by an hour.  I felt like everyone gave great feedback to the questions asked and gave me great ideas and feedback to use with my students.  I did not follow anyone from the twitter chat but now I am currently following some of the people I met in the chat.  I think the biggest thing that I found challenging was to remember to type in the hashtag.  I set up a specific column in tweetdeck with the #teachchat hashtag.  After doing this I didn't realize you still had to type in the hashtag everytime.  Even after I got situated I always felt like I forgot to type in the hashtag when I was finished with my tweet.  I think the only thing that could have been done would be on tweetdecks end.  I think there should be a way you so you don't have to type in the hashtag everytime.  Also I can't ever paste anything that I've copied into my tweets when using tweetdeck.  When I use twitter to paste a link or something I have no problems.  Overall I felt that this was a great experience and plan on doing this again especially with the #teachchat.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Social Networking
After reading the chapter in our web 2.0 book I liked reading about some of the different ways to use social networking in the classroom.  My favorite part was the section where the talked a student that wrote an essay on a Jane Austen book.  After the student located a fan fiction resource she posted her essay and within 24 hours had 5 people peer review her article.  That right there shows me how useful a social network could be.  I signed up for pinterest a little while ago after my wife showed me all of the educational resources that you could use on it.  They have so many different things that you can use.  One of the first websites I found on pinterest was about the top 200 apps for special education. (  I always love using apps with my students when I get  a chance.  Unfortunately our schools don't have Ipads so most of the time I have to let my students use my iPhone.  Pinterest had links to apps on social skills that you can use with your students have trouble in that area.  This would be something great to have when your working in a larger group and some of your students lack social skills.  There are just so many resources available to use.  My favorite thing is that if you come up with something that works you can share it with everyone else.
I already have a facebook account.  I found this website that had lots of resources for special education.  Within this facebook page was another website that has a list of resources for a wide range of ages and abilities of students with special needs.  All of the resources they have on the page could be used when working with students with special needs.  Again another benefit of the facebook page is being able to bounce different ideas with other teachers who work with students with special needs.  By joining this social network it gives me the opportunity to talk with other teachers who will understand what I am going through and what I deal with on a typical day.
I have also signed up the elementary tech teachers ning but I am awaiting approval to the site.  I look forward to using this one as it will help give me ideas on how to integrate all kinds of different technology with my students.  I now see the great benefits of using social networking.  I used to think they were just used to keep up with friends that live far away.  But now I see that it can be used to get perspectives of a large number of colleagues that go through the same things you do on a daily basis.  You can get great ideas from these people and bounce ideas off of them.  Using as many resources as possible and getting input from others in your area is what makes an exceptional teacher in my opinion.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Networked Classrooms

What are the advantages or disadvantages of a networked classroom?

 I think some of the biggest advantages are how connected the students are to school by being networked.  You definitely get a lot of collaboration with your students when you have a networked classroom so that is another great advantage.  You almost always stay connected to not only your students but their parents as well when your class is networked.  I think the biggest benefits of a networked classroom are the collaboration and level of communication that you get.  I also agree with Richardson and Mancabelli that network classrooms are “transparent, learning centered, accessible, supportive of problem and driven by authentic assessment.” I do not think there are many disadvantages of a networked classroom, but I think the biggest one is getting all of your students to go along with this.  Also I think for it to be the most successful students need to have access to many forms of technology and internet.  Depending on your school you could have many students who do not have technology or internet at home and a networked classroom would be virtually impossible.  The following website was a good website that gave some advantages and disadvantages of using social networking in your classroom that I thought was interesting.

How can you slowly transition your classroom to become a networked classroom?
I think the biggest way to transition your classroom to become a networked classroom is by getting your students and parents involved as much as possible.  I feel that getting your students and parents informed as much as possible as to a networked classroom and seeing the benefits that it can have to their children is the biggest step.  After getting both the students and parents on board then you would need to familiarize them with some of the technology you would be using with their children.  After getting them familiarized with everything then the last step would be implementing everything.

How could a networked classroom address the diverse needs of all learners (sped, gifted, ESOL, etc.)?

Having a networked classroom helps meets the diversity of all learners because you can use this classroom to teach towards each students strengths.  Using a networked classroom can be beneficial to special education because you can post videos on your teaching so they can review concepts when they get home.  You can have chat rooms so you can help them with their homework when they get home.  You can have step by step directions for their homework.  You could even do Skype chats with them.  As far as gifted students you could have them help setup the networked classroom.  You could have them design a class website and be moderators.  The things are endless on how you can meet the diverse learning styles of your students and that is why I absolutely love technology.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tweet Tweet

To start please follow me on twitter @esum24.  I was always curious about twitter before I took this class.  A few of my friends had it and always tried to get me to sign up.  I never did because I was never really new what twitter was or did.  So I signed up for it.  Now that I've signed up for it and use it I understand while people like it so much.  It makes finding information on things that interest you extremely quick.  You can also get peoples input on things that you may tweet quickly as well. 

I'm so glad that I started using twitter.  By following other special education teachers, education websites and journals I am now able to get ideas for school all the time.  I've already found a website that heatherie73 tweeted earlier in the week.  It was the do nothing for 2 minutes website.  I really liked this and will be using it within the next few weeks.  I think this is an extremely useful website for any teacher who has students that are getting ready to start MAP testing.  Those students get extremely stressed at all the testing things that we throw at them daily.  I think something like that website can help get our students to be less stressed.

The book gave me lots of good ideas on how to integrate twitter in the classroom.  I like how Solomon and Schrum say how we can use twitter as a tool to help remind students about homework, and field trips.  One advantage of doing this is that students or teachers do not have to supply their phone numbers.  I am so happy that I have read more about twitter and am now using it.  I never saw how twitter could be used as such a good teaching and informative tool.  I look forward on continuing my tweeting! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chapter 1-3 Reflection

After reading Chapter 1 in the Personal Learning Network book I feel, like the authors, that technology plays such a vital role to us.  There are so many things you can do with technology that can help aid in teaching.  Richardson and Mancabeli state that Google is trying to scan and digitize every book in the universe (Richardson and Mancaabeli 16).  This would be awesome if this happens.  As of now we have an almost endless supply of information at our fingertips.  If this comes true there are so many sources and books that we can easily pull up from the internet to share with our students.  I also believe that because of the importance of technology we as teachers do need to rethink how our students learn like Richardson and Mancabeli state.  The only thing that scares me is when they say that if we have” access to the internet we have over 2 billion potential teachers” (pg 18).  The only reason that I say this is because it almost makes it sound like most teachers will teach from the internet.  But I believe they meant with the internet we have so much more people that can help us.
I liked reading Chapter 2.  I knew a little bit about networks before reading this book.  But after reading it gave me a lot more information.  The things that I have used for networking have been facebook and discussion boards.  After reading about twitter I am thinking about signing up for a twitter account.  I never did it before because most of the people I know use it to share mundane details about their everyday lives that have no relevance to me.  After reading about twitter I would like to use twitter to connect with other teachers to help share ideas with one another.  The following website is a website I found that you can use to help connect with other teachers via twitter ( I like how Richardson and Mancabeli say that once you start having lots of networking they start to seep into each other.  Having a few of them I can definitely see how they interact with each other.  I use links that I have saved in my delicious account all the time on my facebook page and vice versa.  The bottom line is the effectiveness of these networks depends on how you use them.

I have always believed that computers are a huge part of our lives and are important to our students as well.  With networking we can impact and aid our students learning.  I feel that one of the most important parts of networking a classroom is the feeling of collaboration you can get.  By using this in your classroom you can take collaboration far beyond the classroom.  I always just assumed students could collaborate at home.  I never thought about continuing it into the summer time like Richardson and Mancabelli.  I can’t wait to use things like Skype in my classroom to network with my students and to use it to have them network with others. I have already found a good resource to use with Skype located at I really enjoyed this chapter because it gave me all kinds of ideas to use in my classroom when I get the chance.  I think the most powerful thing that Richardson and Mancabelli said came in chapter 3 when they said, “It starts with you (pg 81).  The  bottom line is that it is one thing to talk and say how good these things are and it is one thing to actually implement these things and that is why the bottom line is that it comes down to us as teachers.