The main things that we covered this week in CED 515 were Software Evaluation, Google Sites and
Technology Learning plans. All of these things can have an impact in my classroom.
Our group was required to review 3 Software Evaluation Forms. We review froms from Sun Prairie, Children's Technology Review, and Kathy Schrock. We felt that Sun Prairie's Software Evaluation form/process was the best for purchasing new software. This form was somewhat simliar to the form that I was required to fill out for my district when I received grant money. It required the user to connect the software to their content, standards, and benchmarks. The user also needed to describe the features and other uses (productivity, motivational, interactive, feedback, etc.). We also liked that the user was asked if there was another tool that could accomplish the same learning competencies or what he/she would do if the software was not purchased. Lastly, we liked that the evaluation process required feedback/recommendations from multiple people. We felt like this form/process was easy to use and it covered all of the important features required to make an informed decision. Software evaluation forms are an important way to make sure that teachers/districts spend their money on tools that will actually make an impact on student achievement.
I was really glad that we got to make a Google Site because I have always wanted to create a website for my High School Science students. I have worked with wikis and moodle in the past but I have always stopped mid-production due to time constraints. Another problem that I had was that the moodle interface was pretty complicated. So far, Google sites seems like a pretty easy way to put together a functional website. I have enjoyed putting together the multiple pages of my website and embedding my work. I can really see myself using Google sites to put together a website for my students. The site would contain uploaded notes, labs, homework, discussions, links, and videos related to our content. It would be a great way for the students to obtain and interact with what they are learning in class.
The last thing that we looked at was creating a Technology Learning Plan. I used the Learning with Technology Profile Tool to evaluate my own learning profile. After completing this I realized that I would really like to make some more changes to my curriculum. I currently teach physical science and chemistry and we do a lot of lab work. I have been trying to incorporate more inquiry based learning opportunities but my curriculum is still primarily teacher guided. I hope to eventually do more project based learning that requires the students to ask their own questions and decide their own outcomes. Technology may or may not be incorporated into this based on the individual student needs. This will take me a while to plan and implement but I know that it will be an effective way of learning. My favorite part about Project Based Learning is that it focuses on the process and creativity instead of just the content. I believe that this is an important lesson that our students will need to succeed in whatever they chose to do.