Saturday, March 26, 2011

CED 525 - Week 3

This week we needed to read The use of advance organizers in the learning and retention of meaningful verbal material

I thought that this article used too much scientific jargon. It was too wordy and I lost sight of the main point of the article when I was reading it. I needed to go back and read it several times to really understand the results of the author's research. The main points that I drew from the article were that advanced organizers help students by providing them with the proper anchorage of their vocabulary words and concepts. They also help student recognize and use the relationships between their their vocabulary and concepts. I do agree with these concepts and I currently use advanced organizers in my classroom. I hope to incorporate more advanced organizers into my lessons and I plan on using some of the advanced organizer resources that we learned about this week.

We also needed to view the Maps Alive! podcast.

The third assignment was to compare and contrast three of the following advanced organizer resources:
I reviewed, Webspiration, and MindMeister.
I thought that this was the most basic of the three advanced organizers tools that I reviewed. It was very easy to use and you can create an organizer without an account. The bubbles in your organizer can be modified. You can change the color, text, location, and connections to other bubbles.

Webspiration offers all of the same features as and a majority of the features from MindMesiter. The bubbles in your organizer can be modified. You can change the color, text, location, and connections to other bubbles. You can also add comments/notes, hyperlinks, and images. It also offered a couple of additional features that aide with the creation of the organizer such as: outline view (a flow chart view of your organizer), rapid fire (an auto-run button that creates new bubbles and links when you hit enter), and arrange (a button that automatically reorganizes bubbles). Webspiration also allows you to share and collaborate much like MindMeister. Another additional features is an option that allows you to choose the type of organizer you can make (diagrams, outlines, or starter docs).

MindMesiter offered all of the same features as and most of the features of Webspiration. The bubbles in your organizer can be modified. You can change the color, text, location, and connections to other bubbles. You can also add editor notes, hyperlinks, icons/images, and attachments. My favorite feature is that the bubbles are expandable. This meaning that you can show or hide additional information. MindMeister also allows you to share and collaborate.

The last thing we needed to do was post a personal reflection regarding the main topics from this week (Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers; Nonlinguistic Representation; Summarizing and Notetaking).

Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers 
I can think of a time that I asked students to use graphic organizers and I was not pleased with the results. Why did it not go well?

I use a graphic organizer every time I teach about matter. We discuss pure substances, elements, compounds, mixtures, suspensions, heterogenous mixtures, solutions, homogenous mixtures, and colloids. We discuss their relationships and we use linking words to connect the terms. The students seem to get it when we fill it out, but they always have trouble explaining the relationships when it they have to answer questions on the test. They are not connecting how the graphic organizer can be used to answer other questions.

Nonlinguistic Representation 
What kinds of technologies can I use to help students experience a nonlinguistic representation of the classroom material?

As a science teacher, I use Nonlinguistic Representation all the time. The labs that we do allow the students to expereince concepts through visual imagery, kinesthetic or whole-body modes, and auditory experiences. In the future I hope to use technology to also provide Nonlinguistic Representation. Lab simulations from sites like would be a great example.

Summarizing and Note Taking
What is the purpose of asking students to learn proper note taking?

I think that it is important to talk about taking proper notes and demonstrate an effective method at the beginning of a class. This will help students know what you expect from them and it will help guide their learning. It also makes for a more efficient classroom.

I had a student that used a basic version of the Cornell note taking style. After he completed the course I kept his notebook and I now use his notes to help my low-level learners. This works quite well because the Cornell note taking style separates the vocabulary words on one side and their definition on another. It allows the students to see things in a clear and organized fashion. It is also great for studying because the students can fold the paper in half and quiz themselves on the vocabulary terms and their definitions. We are now encourage all of our students in my team taught class to use the Cornell note taking style. It has really caught on and the students seem to like it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

CED 525 - Week 2 - Reflection on Setting Objectives, Providing Feedback, and Providing Recognition

This week we were also asked to post a reflection to your blog for each of the strategies that we studied this week: Setting Objectives, Providing Feedback, Providing Recognition. We were given some guiding questions to use.

Setting objectives

What is the purpose of asking students to set objectives?

Setting objectives is an area that I need to improve upon. When I first started teaching, I use to create detailed lesson plans that incorporated student and teacher objectives for each lesson. This objectives were also tied to the state standards. I use to write the student objectives on the board so that students were aware of their goals for the day. Even though I still use a lot of the same lessons, I have gotten away from this approach because of it was very time consuming. I have focused more or my energy on incorporating new labs, tools, and resources into the curriculum instead. These tools are interactive and effective but, students are not aware of what they should be achieving. It would be more effective if I convey the objectives to the students so that they can determine if they have gained what they need to succeed. Our school is starting to use a service called Build Your Own Curriculum. This resource will provide me with another opportunity to start creating and sharing learning objectives. I also hope to gain student feedback and start to have the students create their own objectives prior to the start of a unit. This will allow them to become more invested into their own learning.

Providing Feedback

What kinds of technologies can I use to help students provide feedback?

I am a science teacher and one of the major objectives that we want our students to learn about is the ability to write a proper lab write up. One of the thoughts that I have had is utilizing rubrics and peer editing to improve their scientific writing. I think that using technology like Rubistar and google docs would improve this process. Rubistar would provide clear and detailed criteria. Google docs would be a great way for student to share and collaborate outside of the classroom.

Providing Recognition

What kinds of technologies can I use to provide student recognition?

I currently use edmodo for our classroom website. This is my first time using this tool and I have experimented with how I use it. I envision eventually having it become more of a social experience for my students. I would like to have the students post comment to each other and myself. Student posts can be done publicly or privately. I would like the students to discuss what we learned and how we can apply this. We can also talk about areas that we may struggle and how we can overcome these issues. This would allow me to provide recognition to the students and it would also allow the students to recognize each other. This would create a very friendly learning environment.

CED 525 - Week 2 - Feedback and Objectives

This week we focused on setting objectives, providing feedback, and providing recognition. We needed to read Feedback that fits and examine RubiStar, Rubrix, Quia, QuizStar, and another tool that our school or district uses for providing feedback. I choose to examine the SMART Response PE interactive response system that I use in my classroom.

Feedback that fits Summary and Analysis

Students need effective feedback in order to succeed. We need to provided clear detailed feedback that is individualized and student specific. Each student needs to know what areas he/she needs to improve upon. This will help each individual students understand his/her strengths and weaknesses. Even though feedback needs to be student specific, teachers need to focus primarily on the content and not the student. The student should can not feel like the feedback is a negative reflection of his/her abilities. Feedback needs to help the student understand where he/she can improve. The feedback needs to portrayed in a positive manner that guides a student towards a better understanding of what the teacher wants. This type of feedback can motivate a student and encourage him/her to continue to work towards the proper learning goal.

Feedback needs to be provided at different intervals throughout the learning process based on the type of content that is being taught. Feedback can be given instantaneously for basic fact driven content, and progressively for complex conceptual content. This helps the student control and monitor their progress.

Feedback can be delivered in a variety of methods. I still like personal oral feedback, but technology allows us to provide feedback more efficiently. Tools like the smart response system (clickers) allow students to receive instantaneous feedback. Other tools like google docs, may be used to do peer edits or collaboration. Technology allows us to provided feedback outside of the classroom which I think is a beneficial bonus.

After reading this article I have become more cognizant of the feedback that I provide. The first concept that I realized was that I need to provide more feedback. The second concept I realized was that I need to make the feedback that I provide more personalized and use it to help my student understand their abilities. The last concept I realized was that I need to keep my feedback positive and relate more towards our class learning goals. This will help motivate students and it will allow them to succeed.

Rubistar, Quia, and Smart Response System

RubiStar is anonline and interactive rubric tool. Rubrics are a scoring tool that lists the criteria for a piece of work and specifies the level of performance expected for several levels of quality. Rubrics help the student figure out how their project will be evaluated. This tool would help teachers convey their objectives, expectations, and it can be used as a feedback tool. A teacher may use one final rubric or multiple rubrics throughout the learning process when using rubrics as an evaluating tool.

Quia is online learning site that provides a wide variety of tools, including:
- Learning activities such as: flashcards, word search, battleship, challenge board, and cloze exercises
- Complete online testing tools
- Classroom management system
- A class Web page creator
- Online surveys for gathering student and teacher feedback.

Quia sounds like resource that can provide the extra tools necessary for students to succeed. It creates an online learning environment that can provide extra study tools for students. It is also a great way for teachers to provide feedback for students outside of the classroom. I like using interactive web games and reviews and I often post games from studystack to our class web page on edmodo. I do like all the features that Quia offers but I do not think that I would pay the $49/year.

The SMART Response PE interactive response system combines handheld wireless remotes (or clickers), a receiver, and powerful assessment software that allows you to create tests and manage, track and evaluate the results. SMART Response PE integrates seamlessly with SMART Notebook collaborative learning software, giving you all the tools you need to design engaging and interactive test material. I have been using the smart response system for the last two years. I really like using the remotes during lecture because it keeps the students engaged and it allows me to evaluate their comprehension. It provides the students and the teacher with instant feed back. This allows me to evaluate and determine if I need to spend more time on a topic or not. It also allows me to see if specific students are not understanding a specific concept. This allows me to meet the needs of each individual student.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Week 1 of CED 525

This week we needed to read Principles of Teaching and Learning and
A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of teaching and learning
and post our reaction to our blog. Here is a summary of what I read.

I really found the principles of teaching and learning article to be motivating. This article really helped me realize where I need to focus my time and energy as an educator. It addressed the roles of both the educator and the student. I found the teaching principles to be quite revealing. This is my fourth year of teaching and I have started to become a little complacent with my curriculum. This article really revealed the steps that I need to take to become a good educator.

I had some trouble really gaining value from the article A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of teaching and learning. It has been awhile since I have read a scientific study and I felt like the message of the article was somewhat lost within the calculations of medians, control groups, and standard deviations. I points listed below were the ideas that I believed to be important:

- Small group learning had more positive effects than individual learning

- Computer-based simulation had a negative effect on student attitudes.

- Technology can change teachers’ pedagogic practices from a teacher-centered or teacher-directed model to a more student-centered classroom

- Computer-based instruction increases students’ time-on-task

- Teaching and learning with technology has a small, positive, significant effect on student outcomes when compared to traditional instruction

I was surprised to see that computer based learning had only a small impact on student outcomes and a negative effect on student attitudes. My assumption is that the results reveal the idea that the use technology does not guarantee an increase in student achievement. The use of technology needs to be integrated into the curriculum in a fashion that allows for student success. The curriculum needs to remain the focus and technology should be used to enhance the learning process. Technology can be used to validate the student learning and allow students to create connections to the material they are learning.