Wednesday, March 31, 2010

TPACK Planning Activity

I have completed the assignment for planning three different lesson plans. They are here for your viewing pleasure.

Science Lesson Plan

Social Studies Lesson Plan

Language Arts Lesson Plan

PLE Week 13

I know that every classroom is different and you never know what you might end up with, but every teacher does have the opportunity to "spice" it up a little bit with whatever they have. Personally, I would have a good laptop that can connect to the internet, because that in and of itself is a huge asset. It allows for so many different programs to play a part in teaching a lesson. If possible, a projector that hooks up to the computer would be ideal. That's probably too much to ask for in a general education classroom right now, but hopefully in the future. In a classroom there are never enough computers. So, even if there are some available, I wish there was a way to have each student with a computer (but only at times desired by the teacher) at their desk. It's not real feasible but it is still possible. A way to get something in to your room when it's not readily available is by networking. Talk to as many people as you can and maybe you will find a hookup to what you need. Writing a formal note to the principal is always a good idea as well.

PLE Week 11

When I see what TPACK actually stands for it tends to just go right over my head. There are some pretty big words in there. If it were me, I would sum it up by saying that TPACK is a way to be an effective teacher.

Pedagogical Knowledge is knowing how to teach something.
Content Knowledge is being familiar with the area that is being taught.
Technological Knowledge is knowing about different technologies and how to integrate them.

The thing I learned most about TPACK is how equal it all needs to be. Just because you know everything about a subject does not mean that it will be a good lesson. Each area is as important as the next in this framework of teaching effectively. In the MTC I had a teacher who knew French like the back of his hand, but didn't seem to realize that we were starting out at level ZERO. His methods of teaching (PK) were not effective for us and although he was quite well-versed in the smallest parts of the French language he couldn't quite help us to get even the basic principles of it.

There are many different representations that a technology can have, namely technological, visual, auditory, dynamic, and multimodal. My favorite ones are the dynamic ones because they really seem to interact with the student. Google Earth and Stellarium are a blast for students because it is a dynamic learning experience, those are definitely the ones I enjoy the most.

Internet Safety Reflection (PLE Week 14)

I chose to read the article about Provident Living Guidelines to Internet Safety. It was a good and brief list of things to do to keep your home safe and free of inappropriate things. I watched the video in class that comprised many little segments and the statistics I heard were shocking. I'm sure they've only escalated since then because that was five years old. What I really took away from the video was that kids need to ask themselves a few simple questions before going onto the internet. They undoubtedly won't be completely honest with random people on the internet, so why should they be under the assumption that someone else will. The internet is a dangerous place and it should be treated with caution just like any other place with potential hazards.

I chose to talk to my wife about what I had learned while watching the movie, and she like myself was appalled at some of the numbers. It led us into a great discussion about what kind of rules we will have as parents for our children. Naturally things will change by then, but we realize that it's not worth it to just not talk about things with your kids. We want to sit them down and give them an orientation before they use I chose to talk to my wife about what I had learned while watching the movie, and she like myself was appalled at some of the numbers. It led us into a great discussion about what kind of rules we will have as parents for our children. Naturally things will change by then, but we realize that it's not worth it to just not talk about things with your kids. We want to sit them down and give them an orientation before they use Facebook or other internet sites. If a child iknowledgeable about something it is likely that he or she will not abuse it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Week 10 PLE

The first technology that I have used outside of class is Prezi. This is such a fun tool for presentations because it is a different way to look at it other than with Powerpoint. It can be downloaded for free at and is very effective in showing a presentation with many ideas, particularly when they stem from one source. The second technology I enjoy using is Stellarium, which can be downloaded for free at It is such a dynamic program that takes Google Earth to a whole new level. You can see stars, constellations, and much more with this fun program. The third and last technology I have used outside of class is called Hot Potatoes. It is available at and it helps teachers create small quizzes, with multiple choice, matching, crosswords, puzzles, etc. It is a fun way to create a more interesting quiz for a child than to just give them short answer questions.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Science Project Challenge

Thermometers vary in shape and size. We have selected to use digital thermometers to test water temperatures and the speed at which they become “room temperature.” Our objective was to help the students become more familiar with how thermometers are used and temperatures of objects around them.

The activity we chose to do with our students was to use two cups full of water at different temperatures while measuring how easily the thermometer changed when switching it back and forth.

We would transfer it between the two cups and had the goal of creating designs with the recorded data.

The cold cup obviously made the line fall, while the hot water made the line rise. This was very fun for the students to try such things like writing their name with the temperature gauge.

Using digital thermometers as opposed to standard thermometers is an effective choice because as we all know students love computers. This creates a fun environment because they can be moving around and interacting with the results, and manipulating them in a way that generates fun activity. It also stimulates the brain in a different way so that the students can think of temperature in a visual format, instead of just numbers written on a scale. They were able to create images and designs based solely off of the results they garnered while performing this particular science project. These types of learning would have been missed if the activity had involved simple thermometers.

If the student is under the impression that an activity will be ‘fun’ they are far more likely to be more engaged and give it the full attention the activity deserves.

The use of digital thermometers enhanced the quality of learning for the students because it is a visual description of the results they would obtain with a regular thermometer. Another great thing was that the results were very precise, which made graphing and other calculations much easier.

Week 9 PLE

I can often tell if I have been successful in integrating technology into my teaching when the activities are more dynamic and the technology doesn't detract at all from the learning experience. There is not much more frustrating than spending more time to use the technology and having it either not work or distract the students from learning the desired outcome. Technology needs to enhance a lesson, and create more opportunities for a student to learn in order to be effective. Feedback is always a great indicator if what you have chosen was smart, and usually the students will respond positively or negatively with each technology.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Virtual Field Trip

PLE Week 8

This was an interesting article, and as Keith said, very dense.
The biggest problem I see (aside from the fact that it takes a fair amount of time just to learn and become familiar with it) is that it's tough to know how to incorporate it into the classroom. Even when you know how to use it, it takes some creativity to put it into action.
This article stressed the importance of activities being organized into smaller groups that correspond.
The main idea of the article from my point of view is that TPACK can really benefit the students. It insists that it helps teachers to use technology in the class in a way that will relate to the subject.
This process of TPACK can help students learn in a variety of ways that will help them succeed.
This article is important to me as a teacher because it effectively describes the need for technology in the classroom and it gives clear ideas as how to I can help the students.

Monday, February 22, 2010

PLE Week 7

The role of technology is to enhance the learning experience. It needs to bring in some sort of element that couldn't be had without technology. Assignments should be more interesting and more dynamic with new tools. For example, the virtual tour gives a different perspective on the Earth and where things are located, that are different than just looking at a map. It is a given that with the good comes the bad. Students are so good with new technologies that it is possible they will become distracted by them. Texting is a huge problem in schools, and while on the computers, it is hard for students not to become sidetracked on meaningless sites while trying to complete assignments. I have seen multiple technologies used effectively in classes. The first is a simple camcorder. It always creates for a fun environment while the students get to show what they know about a subject. The second is an interactive movie that has the teacher stop every so often and have discussions about what was shown. A third technology that I have seen used is a smart board. I have only seen it once, but what a fun thing! It makes dynamic learning so much easier. Getting students moving around is always a good way to keep them alert and awake.

PLE Week 6 Post

Among the many sensory elements that would enhance a virtual tour, smell is at the top of my list. When one is at the zoo, the smells really come alive, however while watching a movie, or a computer screen, that is an important sense that is missed. Naturally, taste would be another experience that could ameliorate a tour. Food is one thing that can be so distinctly different one place to another. The other element I can think of is the element of touch. Maybe if the instructor could get a hold of some sort of example of what they will be studying, the students could each get to feel it.

I enjoyed the field trips I previewed, especially the one on volcanoes. It was quite solid, teaching many good lessons, while being very fun. Another one I watched was about the Civil War. Although it wasn't as direct and easy to orient I really enjoyed seeing the places they visited. The third tour I watched was on the Eiffel Tower. I specially enjoyed the fact that they asked the students a question and provided them with articles to use to find the answer.

There are many ups and downs of a virtual tour, and from a student perspective I think they are mainly positive. For no cost, the students can observe and experience to a degree an entirely different part of the world. On the other hand, certain sensory experiences as mentioned above are impossible to replicate with technology.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Digital Storytelling Project Finally Finished!

Watch it on YouTube here

Monday, February 8, 2010

Week 5 PLE Post

So, the coolest thing about Google Earth is that I can just zoom right in on the area where I served my mission and actually see specific buildings! That is incredible! Another nifty gadget on this program is the option to measure the distance between any two points with just a couple of clicks. You can be taken instantly to any specific landmark or city in the world by just typing it in. Then you can observe the place from a myriad of angles. It's really a fascinating technology and as we have already discussed in class, it is perfect for making a virtual field-trip for the students. It could also be used to show students fun places you have traveled.

Pros and Cons of Digital Storyboarding

Seeing as how I'm not actually finished with the digital storyboard, I definitely have some cons to talk about with this technology. My main concern is that it just takes too much time to make it interesting. We hand-drew our pictures, and we have nobody to blame for that decision, although it did help us avoid any copyright issues. Other than that, I don't have any large concerns, the technology is rather straight forward and unique. A pro for this technology is that it mixes up the dynamic in class and can add a fun new element of teaching. It's always fun for students to learn through a new medium, and who doesn't love a home-made movie? Overall I think it's a great thing to do for the classroom, and after doing a few of them I'm sure I will be much quicker with the whole process.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Storyboards of my peers

I reviewed the storyboards of my peers and I am quite excited to see how they all turned out. I commented on five people's blogs, including; Morgan Thorup, Sheila Reynolds, Sarah Ure, Aubrey Barker, and Haley VandeMerwe. I'm sure the movies will turn out to be lots of fun.

When I think about making storyboards and movies for a classroom setting I definitely see the positive outcome of having the students learn from a different type of teaching style. I do however think it will be difficult to spend the time in making one that is long enough to take the place of just teaching. It seems like quite a bit of work for just a five minute video, and that isn't very much class time that is used for teaching a principle.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Week 4 PLE Post

So, per request of our instructor I have chosen somebody I love to talk to about what I'm learning. I have chosen my wife, since I see her more than anybody else and she actually knows loads more than I do about what we are learning. I have started feeling more comfortable about what we are doing by teaching it to my wife, and then she has been teaching me even more about it, which is helping me to learn beyond the grade. I have really enjoyed learning even more in detail about these technologies. Although the letters 'html' scare me, she was able to teach me how to edit it, and realize that it isn't all that scary. It's been nice having someone to talk to outside of class to enhance my learning experience.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Digital Storyboard

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Does the average teacher break copyright laws?...Probably (Week 3 PLE post)

So, who would have thought that showing a movie to your students just for fun is against the copyright laws? I definitely had no idea, and thought it would be totally fine. I was way off. After seeing how detailed the copyright laws really are, our group has chosen to draw pictures for our slides. This is a way to avoid having to cite an image that we found on the internet. I guess someone in our group could copyright the picture they drew and then we'd have problems, but I think we'll take the risk. Teachers really need to be aware of these copyright laws for multiple reasons. 1. They don't want to risk the possibility of getting in trouble, even though the majority of things go unchecked. 2. They need to set an example to the students of obedience, and if somehow a student's parent is in-the-know about copyright laws there could be trouble.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Week 2 PLE Post

After taking a look at tokbox I think it could have a few different purposes for a teacher. I imagine they could make a brief summary of an assignment if there are many of students who don't understand, and the students could refer to the video at home. It is a fun and dynamic tool that could be used for many things I'm sure. Learning about the different styles of teaching was my favorite thing we talked about in class. The teacher has a large impact in whether or not the students really get involved and engaged. The professor we saw on video was a great example of teaching the same old things with a fun perspective.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The beauty of Utah

There I was, 13,528 feet above sea level. I was higher than any other person in the state of Utah. As I gazed out across my beautiful state I couldn't help but think about how lucky I am to live in such a blessed land. We are so lucky to have the freedoms and rights that we do.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Week 1 PLE Post

I have a rather basic knowledge of technology and how it is used. I enjoy it when I am interested, for example; when I wanted to thrash on my brothers in fantasy baseball I figured out all the little intricacies to give me the edge. I blew them out of the water because I spent so much time on the site. My wife has a job that deals with all the terms we have discussed in class and I have eavesdropped many times and am familiar with many tools and terms used in social media. I also love using camera software and software to create blueprints for home-building.