INDT 501 Web Inquiry Final Blog

As a prospective social studies teacher, most activities that don’t involve writing papers or reading textbooks in the classroom don’t travel far from looking for sources that explain history. In hindsight my activity copied the BBC production Dr. Who fairly well, but that was not my intention. My activity is called “Diary of a Time Traveler”. In a nutshell, my activity asks students to write four diary entries from various perspective as they travel to four different time periods. The diary entries are posted on a student-created website.

Hook – My hook was to have students reflect on what it would be like for people living at different places in time to experience events that have shaped world history. I appealed to students’ interests by giving them a choice for a person they would like to be for each major time period in the World History II SOL.

Focus – I wanted the students who complete my activity to ask questions like what it might be like to live in the court of Elizabeth I or be a soldier under the command of Douglas Macarthur. Then, I wanted them to ask questions like “How would I find that out?” and “Where would I look”? These questions would lead the students into researching.

Methodology – The procedures to answer these questions are addressed by myself as the teacher. Students will assume a “perspective” and research primary and secondary sources to understand what life would have been like as each perspective. Then, they will write as if they were the perspective they were searching about and document their research. They will post these written works as an online diary entry on a self-created Google site to share with the world. Before they are finished, students will have a chance to discuss their findings with their peers and have the teacher check to see that they are following the  procedures.

Resources – Gathering data is scaffolded for the students in this activity. A custom Google search engine is provided to model what credible websites look like and where to find primary sources. Some topics are intentionally left out of the search so students pursue those topics on their own using the examples from the custom search engine. This encourages them to explore and investigate the Internet.

Tools – Students will analyze their findings and synthesize secondary and primary sources to create an original diary entry that reflects the perspective they chose to represent. They will use various resources provided on the activity’s  homepage to find and cite their reserach. Also, they will use Google sites to format their diary entries and make them available to the public.

Defend – This aspect of the inquiry activity is the final product of the activity. Each diary entry is a representation of the students being able to report their findings and manipulate into original prose and understand what is might have been like to live under different circumstances. Well written entries will demonstrate these aspects.

How is this all supportive of student learning??

Technology – The use of Google sites allows students to have a different platform other than writing on paper to present their work. Students have the opportunity to change font, make text bold and change its colors, and add pictures to their sites. Students who have difficulty presenting their work in front of their peers may feel less being able to complete their assignments in this format. Understanding how to use the Internet to create sites is a tool that will come in use in the future and makes the student accountable for the information they put on their site based off of what they learned through their research.

Internet Research – Understanding what is credible and what is not credible on the Internet is not only a valuable skill to have, but it is a SOL standard. This activity promotes this skill by asking students to research from examples given to them and then use those models to look for resources of their own.

Research – As students research, they need to understand what they are looking at. By focusing the assignment on primary sources, students will understand that history is written based on primary sources

Writing – Students will have to analyze and evaluate their research to understand bias (cultural and political), emotion, and historical context. When reading a primary source a student may question why the person believes certain things. That question can be answered by understanding historical context. Students will then have to replicate this style of writing in their own which encourages the development of writing skills

Overall – Students will gain a well-rounded understanding of different historical time periods beyond facts and figures presented in textbooks. The activity humanizes history.

 

I really enjoyed this activity and liked that I was able to be creative. Hopefully, I will be able to use this project in my own classroom soon.

Posted in INDT 501 | Tagged , , | Comments Off on INDT 501 Web Inquiry Final Blog

Web Inquiry Reflection

As a prospective social studies teacher, most activities that don’t involve writing papers or reading textbooks in the classroom don’t travel far from looking for sources that explain history. In hindsight my activity copied the BBC production Dr. Who fairly well, but that was not my intention. My activity is called “Diary of a Time Traveler”. In a nutshell, my activity asks students to write four diary entries from various perspective as they travel to four different time periods. The diary entries are posted on a student-created website.

Hook – My hook was to have students reflect on what it would be like for people living at different places in time to experience events that have shaped world history. I appealed to students’ interests by giving them a choice for a person they would like to be for each major time period in the World History II SOL.

Focus – I wanted the students who complete my activity to ask questions like what it might be like to live in the court of Elizabeth I or be a soldier under the command of Douglas Macarthur. Then, I wanted them to ask questions like “How would I find that out?” and “Where would I look”? These questions would lead the students into researching.

Methodology – The procedures to answer these questions are addressed by myself as the teacher. Students will assume a “perspective” and research primary and secondary sources to understand what life would have been like as each perspective. Then, they will write as if they were the perspective they were searching about and document their research. They will post these written works as an online diary entry on a self-created Google site to share with the world. Before they are finished, students will have a chance to discuss their findings with their peers and have the teacher check to see that they are following the  procedures.

Resources – Gathering data is scaffolded for the students in this activity. A custom Google search engine is provided to model what credible websites look like and where to find primary sources. Some topics are intentionally left out of the search so students pursue those topics on their own using the examples from the custom search engine. This encourages them to explore and investigate the Internet.

Tools – Students will analyze their findings and synthesize secondary and primary sources to create an original diary entry that reflects the perspective they chose to represent. They will use various resources provided on the activity’s  homepage to find and cite their reserach. Also, they will use Google sites to format their diary entries and make them available to the public.

Defend – This aspect of the inquiry activity is the final product of the activity. Each diary entry is a representation of the students being able to report their findings and manipulate into original prose and understand what is might have been like to live under different circumstances. Well written entries will demonstrate these aspects.

How is this all supportive of student learning??

Technology – The use of Google sites allows students to have a different platform other than writing on paper to present their work. Students have the opportunity to change font, make text bold and change its colors, and add pictures to their sites. Students who have difficulty presenting their work in front of their peers may feel less being able to complete their assignments in this format. Understanding how to use the Internet to create sites is a tool that will come in use in the future and makes the student accountable for the information they put on their site based off of what they learned through their research.

Internet Research – Understanding what is credible and what is not credible on the Internet is not only a valuable skill to have, but it is a SOL standard. This activity promotes this skill by asking students to research from examples given to them and then use those models to look for resources of their own.

Research – As students research, they need to understand what they are looking at. By focusing the assignment on primary sources, students will understand that history is written based on primary sources

Writing – Students will have to analyze and evaluate their research to understand bias (cultural and political), emotion, and historical context. When reading a primary source a student may question why the person believes certain things. That question can be answered by understanding historical context. Students will then have to replicate this style of writing in their own which encourages the development of writing skills

Overall – Students will gain a well-rounded understanding of different historical time periods beyond facts and figures presented in textbooks. The activity humanizes history.

 

I really enjoyed this activity and liked that I was able to be creative. Hopefully, I will be able to use this project in my own classroom soon.

Posted in INDT 501 | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Web Inquiry Reflection

INDT 501 – Week 11 Technology Tools

“Digital natives have a significant degree of visual literacy” (Brumberger, 2011, p. 19). It goes without saying that our society is driven by technology. If the new iPad comes out, everyone has got to have it. Kids don’t read books in their rooms any more. If they read at all, it will be on a tablet or a computer. If they aren’t reading, they are playing video games or using some other form of technology. One this is certain about all the technological devices out there. They rely on visual literacy for success. Even as I type this blog, I look at the top of the screen and I need to know what certain symbols mean in order to create an effective composition. With technology, often something is moving on the screen, which induces those who use technology to be more visually literate.

So why is visual literacy important?

The article, “Visual Literacy and the Digital Native: AN Examination of the Millennial Learner,” published in April 2011, explains that the students in college during its publication were considered digital natives. I disagree with this statement. In 2011, I was an undergraduate who would fit the authors category. I do not see myself as a digital native. I was not born with technology in my home. I remember that I was seven years old when my family purchased our first desktop computer. I think the generation that most of us will be teaching if you are teaching high school is the generation that has never not known technology.

Every aspect of techonlogy pertains to visual literacy. The mouse moving across the screen, the symbols for various programs or functions, and the use of sight to understand what is being done on a screen are all aspects of visual literacy. It is important to understand that technology is what students are exposed to for most of their time outside of your classroom. If we excuse technology out of our classroom, we are missing out on a vital tool for learning that students are already familiar with.

How Could I Use Teachnology in My Classroom?

The possibilities are essentially endless. I will list some of the teachnology tools I have experienced in this classroom and elaborate on how I would use them.

Timelines

– I would love to make timelines a collaborative tool. I think it would be a good way to have students review for the SOL. For instance, I would put students into small groups and have them outline specific units of study. Then, they would present it to the class. I would devise a way to print out each timeline as well so the students could have a paper copy to study from.

Jeopardy

– Online jeopardy games are another great way to review for the SOL. In the weeks preceeding the test date, I would create  jeopardy game for each unit and use it as a closing/review activity for the end of class. Jeopardy could also be made into a group project for remembering what a class presented about. For instance, a group was asked to study famous African Americans and then present about five to the class. The group could then have a jeopardy game where they quiz their classmates to see what they remember.

Google Maps

– I love Google Maps for a geography class. As a teacher, I would create a map for most regions we would study. I think the maps allows for a great chance to connect the importance of culture with geography by marking important cultural sites. Google Maps is also an easy collaborative tool as long as the map is public for edit. I would have students create maps for certain areas of study. For instance, if we were study the geography of europe, one group could study important rivers and stories that pertain to the rivers. They could mark the rivers and write about the stories with the placemarkers.

Comic Life

– Comic Life is a great tool for students to create their own historical comic books. I would have students pick a specific event that happened during the Civil War and make a short comic book about it to present to the class. I would organize all the submissions in chronological order and then present it as one, large collaborative comic.

Sticky Notes

– I like the idea of the sticky notes page. I think the page could function very well as a place for feedback on a lesson or topic. I could also ask my students for suggestions on how to teach the next lesson or unit. The sticky notes page would allow students to have a personal stake in their learning. For instance, they could post articles, youtube videos, or websites they find relevant to what we are learning and essentially develop lesson plans alongside the teacher.

Blogging

– I would love for my students to blog. I would prefer them to write short, concise blogs a couple times a week. With the blogs, I would give them a prompt to respond to that would encourage them to develop critical thinking skills. I wouldn’t want them writing long blogs because I don’t want them to hate blogging. I think blogging is a good alternative to writing because students will forget their homework or they don’t have printer ink or paper, the excuses could be endless.

Wikipages

– I like the idea of Wikipages for collaborative projects. Ultimately, there wouldn’t be time for such an involved project until after the SOL’s, but I like the idea of the students doing something productive instead of watching videos until school is out.

Microblogs

– I like twitter because I feel that people and students are more apt to respond to a short 140 character statement rather then a long blog. I think the conversation on twitter can be useful as long as it is guided in the right direction. In my classroom, I would use twitter for my students to keep up with what is happening in class and posting assignments. Twitter could also provide a way to connect to professionals that could help with collaborative assignments such as a group creating a Wikipage about the Spoils system during the Jacksonian Era.

Digital Storytelling

– Some students have difficulty presenting in front of their classmates. I like digital storytelling for this aspect. I would have students work in small groups to tell stories connected to the Cold War era. Many of their parents would have been alive and we could compare stories from older generations to younger generations about how each viewed the Russians. By doing so, the students can learn about the emotional tensions during the Cold War and not only repeat the facts about the time period.

 

Useful sites

Digital Storytelling

Blogging

 

Collaborative Projects

 

References

Brumberger, E. (2011). Visual Literacy and the Digital Native: An Examination of the Millennial Learner. Journal Of Visual Literacy, 30(1), 19-47.

 

Posted in INDT 501 | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

INDT 501 – Mini Projects II

This week I explored two technology tools I thought would be extremely useful in the area of social studies (my content area).

First I explored creating a timeline.

I centered my timeline around Henry VIII and the break with the Catholic Church. Henry VIII was the first monarch to break with the Catholic Church and create his own church. His actions, with the help of ANne Boleyn started a chain reaction of limiting the power of the Catholic Church.

I tried using Capzles, but I found it a little too advanced for my technological capacity. I had much more success with Timetoast and I liked it because it fit the typical idea of a timeline. I found its formatting very easy to use and I didn’t need a tutorial to get me started. The only aspect I don’t like is that the points sometimes look a little too close together and it makes it hard to see what event happened before another.

For future social studies lessons there are endless possibilities for this activity. I think it is simplistic enough to have students use the tool on their own for a class project and I see its value as a review tool for broader historical events. Also, it would be easy for a teacher to use a timeline as an introduction into a unit or as a detailed chain of events that are difficult to keep chronological. History classes would benefit most from it. I could see the timeline tool used in geography classes, but to a lesser extent. I think it could have ample use in a government classroom.

My timeline:

England Turns Protestant

 

 

Second I explored creating a Google Trek.

I am still not entirely sure how it is supposed to be a “trek”. I have created similar maps for my other history classes. The “trek” implies some sort of link between place markers, but I didn’t see that in the tutorial. I am assuming it is basically creating a custom map.

I decided to change it up a bit and use a geography SOL standard to base my activity on. In geography, I would want my students to know some cultural history of the areas they study so I created a map that demonstrates geography and culture. My map looks at historic sites in Russia as well as some geographical sites. For instance, one place marker is on Mt. Elbrus and another on the State Hermitage Museum. I always say variety is key :-).

Google maps is a very easy tool to use. If Google ever becomes extinct, I will cry. The possibilities for using this tool for instruction are endless. The teacher can use it to present lessons in geography, provide visuals in history, or demonstrate politics in government. For geography, a teacher could literally teach off of Google Maps. For history, a teacher could show where battles were, the location of important cities, or demonstrate trade patterns. Gone are the days of the paper map and thank goodness because we can do so much more with Google. I think this would be an easy tool for students to use as well. A few simple tutorials and a student would know how to create a place marker, type up a snippet about it, post a picture, and link to significant websites. My technologically challenged-self learned from a tutorial so what have they got to lose?

My Map:

Russia

 

Overall, I liked the mini projects from this week much better than last because I felt that I could apply them more easily in the classroom, they are saved online so I can never lose them, and they are more adpated to the everyday user.

Now for a funny story:

Tutor – Me: If you have eight slices of pizza and your friend takes two, how many do you have left.

Tutoree – Eight slices of pizza and one less friend

You have to love sixth graders

Posted in INDT 501, Uncategorized | Comments Off on INDT 501 – Mini Projects II

INDT 501 – Week 9 – Mini Projects 1

This week we were asked to work on two mini-projects that use technology tools that could be applied in the classroom. I chose to use Comic Life 2 and Voki

Comic Life 2 allowed me to create a comic book without the guest work. I really enjoyed using the application and it was not hard for a first-time user. The application lays everything out in steps so nothing is confusing. There is still a lot of room for creativity as well, which can be hard with an application like this. I chose to make a comic book based on the Yalta Conference. In the beginning, I address the “why” and “who” of the Yalta Conference. Towards the end, I addressed why the Yalta Conference was important. As a prospective social studies teacher, I thought this application was great and that I could use it many ways in the classroom. I think its best use is as an introductory tool to a large group of topics. To have this application cover an entire topic would be a lengthy process, but the application certainly provides a way to differentiate instruction. The comic book approach is great for students who think reading is boring.

 

yalta 1 yalta 2 yalta 3

 

Next, I worked with the Voki application. To be honest, I was not thrilled by it. There are some teachers who don’t like talking and I get that, but the amount of work required to create the Voki is equivalent to talking. For my Voki, I made Professor Strawberry Vin Wind Top because those were the adjectives I thought of the describe the funny looking pink guy. I used the Professor to relate an assignmment to students. I could see how this application might be useful for auditory students or if people have missed a couple of days of class and they viewed to Voki on a website. The way I set up my Voki was on a separate google site that I made into a makeshift class web page. The Voki is under “Homework Assignments”. I also provided links to help with the assignment on the page. I am probably not so fond of Voki because it cannot be used intensely because students would get bored with listening to a computer generated voice. Also, I could not get the Voki to embed into the webpage, so I had to provide a link. The link makes the Voki less impacting on a webpage. It’s digital accessibility is lowered because no one wants to click on multiple things and places to get to where they need to be. However, I think the Voki does a great job of embellishing a web page.

voki

 

Voki Link: http://www.voki.com/pickup.php?scid=7750313&height=267&width=200

Posted in INDT 501, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

I just made a new Voki. See it here:

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on I just made a new Voki. See it here:

INDT 501 – Sticky Notes Week 7

My sticky note wall

I like the idea of the online sticky notes. I am a person who writes a lot of ideas down in non-organized manners. Sometimes it is all over a sheet of notebook paper or it is on multiple note-cards. I especially use note-cards for research papers. As a student, I could use this tool to organize my thoughts in one place and access them anywhere that has Internet. This is a lot easier then carrying around fifty note-cards with the potential of losig all your thesis work. Also, when I write a research paper, I usually write the citation down on the note-card or create a separate Word document to save all the citations. Now, I can simply copy and paste and keep all my research together. The sticky note wall that I created for this assignment pertains to James Bond. I love James Bond movies. I am amazed at how the actors keep changing, but the films have tremendous success. Last semester, I learned in my International Relations class that Ian Fleming (the writer of the James Bond books) was a spy for Great Britain. Needless to say, my mind was blown. I hoped by making my wall public that people could share their ideas about James Bond and any knowledge they have about the phenomenon that is James Bond.

As a teacher, I think I would use this resource often in the classroom. Teachers may write ideas on a board as part of an activity. Now, we could put those ideas on a wall, make it public, put it on the class website for parents and students to see, and have students continue to contribute to it throughout the course.

For projects, this would be great for collaborative purposes. Students could form their own walls and post research, thoughts, and ideas. This would make working outside of class much easier and responding to other students ideas more succinct. The same goes for an entire class project.

My lesson if I were a teacher:

The assignment:

Research primary sources (documents, oral histories, and images) about Holocaust victims.  Use your research to create a presentation about one aspect of the Holocaust (death camps, experiments, Nazi ideology). Post your research on a sticky notes wall with your group members. Group members are expected to collaborate and comment on group mates research. Throughout the process of researching, you are required to comment on two other groups walls about their research. Comments should be constructive (new idea they should look at, issue with research, another place they could look for sources).

This is a rough outline, but I think it would work well provided that I could use laptops in the classroom for students to work together with.

I looked at the geometry link on the assignment page for this blog. I thought the way the teacher used sticky notes was okay. I did not like the way he organized it because it was overwhelming when I first viewed the page. Also, I did not really see any order to what was presented, which could be confusing if a student is looking for a specific “note” or topic. I think it would be beneficial for any teacher using this tool in the same way as the geometry teacher to organize the notes as a concept web. The tool allows you to use it as an interactive concept map. I think using it this way is more effective then a smattering of information on a a page even if it is arranged by date.

Posted in INDT 501 | Tagged , , | Comments Off on INDT 501 – Sticky Notes Week 7

Flip the What? INDT 501 Week 6

A teacher introducing flipping to fourth grade parents.

Flipping a classroom is a unique idea that doesn’t stray far from logical thought. Many teachers in secondary and higher education have practiced this method of instruction for many years. However, they haven’t practiced it correctly. In high school, teachers may ask students to read the textbook for homework and, depending on the level of the class, will ask the students to complete worksheets and other like assignments in class. In college, this is almost explicitly the way instruction is carried minus the assignments. Students are expected to learn the content on their own and come to class ready to discuss.

This is not the way flipping a classroom should happen and it is not effective.

Flipping a classroom entails much more than reading a chapter for homework. Teachers who practice flipping their classrooms use technology to create a form of lecture for the student to view at home and hold them accountable for learning content. During class, the experience should differ greatly from what was mentioned above. Instructional time should be used for collaboration, performance – based tasks, and complex classroom activites. All of these should help evolve critical thinking skills.

The example given in this week’s blog assignment is a classroom where the teacher has students view videos of lecture at home and complete worksheets and writing assignments in class. This example is a start to a flipped classroom, but it is not a flipped classroom. The homework portion of instruction should be video recordings of lecture because that is boring and students can be easily distracted. They could turn on the television, do other homework at the same time and it is not engaging. The homework portion can be videos from multiple sites with multiple ways of explaining a concept. A teacher could even organize these videos for different learning styles. Since the existence of interactive online textbooks is growing, a video or content-driven assignments with interactivity could be easily integrated. The class time in a flipped classroom should be much different then the example. Worksheets and writing assignments do not teach students or help build critical thinkings skills. Collaorative activities, multi-faceted projects, and real-world tasks that align with curriculum standards are the activities that should be happening in a flipped classroom. Teachers complain about not having enough time for these activities, but the flipped classroom allows time for it so why not take advantage of it.

Since I want to be a high school social studies teacher, I think a flipped classroom would be beneficial. For the class activities, I would love for students to develop websites like nings and wikisites where my students synthesize research and use the Internet to connect with experts. Of course, I would have to have access to laptops or the computer quite frequently, but that doesn’t that I couldn’t ask for parent permission for students to bring in their laptops. Also, I could arrange such activities in a way that only some students would need computers on some days, while the rest of the class works on a different aspect of the collaborative activity. As for the at home portion of instruction, I would most likely have my students view a variety of sources a week such as short videos, interactive sites, and mini-assignments to help students retain information.

References

Pocketlodge. (2012, January 6). “Flipping the Classroom 4th grade STEM.” . Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KWqw_7Ib1o on 2013, February 23.

Posted in INDT 501 | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

INDT 501 – Week 5 Music Video and PLN

I have to admit and reitierate how much I dislike the world of technology. I believe there are some very good uses for it in the classroom, but I hardly have time as a graduate student to keep up with technology so I wonder if I will be able to do it as a teacher. I think some people are more geared to immersing themselves in the technological world. However, I am not one of those people. If I don’t have to turn on my computer for a day, I get extremely excited.

The Professional Learning Network

For the reasons I have stated above, I am struggling to keep up with all the aspects of our professional learning networks. For instance, I dis-dis-dis-dislike Twitter very much. I think it is useful for this class because we can post questions, comments, and concerns and have them answered rapidly. The reason I don’t like Twitter is the hashtag aspect of it. I always feel like if I don’t have the specific hashtag that I am going to get crazy results or none at all. For instance, when I tag my blog posts I tag them five different ways based on ways I think people might type in this course’s name. In the classroom, I think Twitter could be useful, but it would have to be in a controlled setting. I don’t think it would work like has it does in this class because students can be immature. On the other hand, if a teacher used to Twitter as a resource page to stay in contact with experts and made a class project out of it, then it would be beneficial. For the purposes of teacher-to-teacher, I think Twitter is a good place for a sounding board once you obtain the right followers and follow the right people.

The Google RSS Feed is something I am familiar with because I was required to set one up as a undergraduate for a class on digital history. Unfortuantely, I was consumed with my senior thesis, so I did not get to play with it very much. I like this technology because it makes my life easier. For instance, I think in my pervious ppost I mentioned that I did not always have the time to check up on blogs. The Google RSS feed fixes this by putting all current posts of multiple websites in one place. Thank you Google for helping my brain not explode. I think student use might be limited and not completely worth the instruction time it would take for students to learn how to use it. As a teacher, I think it is a great tool to synthesize multiple sources of information and to help keep teachers relevant. Some other aspects of Google I like are the documents functions where a teacher could easily create a group document, share it with the class, and have a collaborative space. It is awesome and would aid inquiry teaching and learning greatly. You can also add an anomyity aspect to it, so students who are less inclined to talk in class may participate online.

The professional learning network I signed up for is a little strange. So far, I have received two emails from people on the site that tell me that have important information they would like to share with me, but they can only share it with me if I email them first….. They also have odd names and the one had a not-so porfessional picture.

I have started making my curricular video this week as well as expanding the aspects of my professional learning network. I picked a standard that pertains to the Japanese internment camps during World War. I did not realize how hard it would to find pictures from the World War II era that are free to use. I wanted to use the infamous picture on the woman showing her muscles with the bandana and the jumpsuit. She is also known as “Roise the Riveter”. It was impossible. Most of pictures I found, I could not verify thay they were acutally scenes of World War II and that time period. I can at least say that this will be an interesting experience.

Image courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cambodia4kidsorg/5306784047/in/photostream/

and yes, it is free to use : )

 

Cambodia4kidsorg. (2010). Using Social Media for Professional Media [photograph]. Retrieved February 15, 2013, from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cambodia4kidsorg/5306784047/in/photostream/

Posted in INDT 501, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Using Scratch and other things Week four – INDT 501

First off, let me say, nothing against MIT, but I am not a fan of Scratch. I think the software is a bit complicated and to create anything with substance requires multiple hours of tinkering. I don’t think the program is as straight-forward as it could be, especially when trying to do things like change the background, which I still did not figure out. I don’t see how a teacher could implement this program in his/her classroom without having extensive knowledge of the program first and dedicating a lot of time to creating an animation about the water cycle or scientific process. Teachers are already strapped for time in and outside the classroom, so while Scratch is a cool program, I don’t think it should be a on-the-fly lesson tool or a main-way of presenting lessons. Teachers can easily find all sorts of videos on Youtube or Teachertube that can serve, if not better serve the same purpose as Scratch as an instruction tool. Also, if teachers were to ask students to create a Scratch program, I think they would run into a lot of problems like lots library time to create the Scratch, having to navigate students step-by-step through the process (it is not a software where students can simply “have-at-it”), and if students were to work on their programs at home, do they have Internet ability and do they have space on their computer for the program? These are just some of my thoughts about the software’s application in the classroom.

When I was creating my Scratch, I had some issues understanding how the sprites moved. It took me a while to realize that “go to x:   y:   ” was different from “glide for    secs to x:   y:    ” and that they had different appearances in the program I created. Another problem I had was that I could not figure out how to change to background. Also, I tried to change the color of my Sprites, but you could only change their color based on a number and I did not see a chart for colors to match up to numbers. Thus, my program is in black and white. When I designed the program, I really didn’t know what kind of possibilities I had. I think trying to draw detailed pictures could be an issue because you are limited to a simplistic paint program, but if I could get to a point where I could make game like the fruit store example loaded in the program, it would be pretty cool. So, when I first started designing, I was becoming aquainted with the software. I learned what I needed to build my program after trial and error. For instance, I added caption bubbles, but they all came out at once. I had to fix the problem by adding in pauses that lasted a specific amount of time.

I did not do any research for my program because I feel that if a software requires research and extensive tutorials, then it is probably not worth the hassle to use it. My computer was acting slow from all the software I have had to download for this class, so  I opted to read through a PDF tutorial from the Scratch website. I thought the tutorial was helpful and it gave me the tools I needed to get started, but nothing advanced.

My take-away from this assignment is that it can be useful in the classroom, but would require time and effort from students and teachers alike. Depending on the class, this kind of software would not be used for student projects if the class was a semester based SOL class because there is too much content to get through and not enough time. This software could be used for projects in year-long classes with proper support. As a teacher, I would use this software to differentiate learning in some instances for instruction. If I were teaching a year-long class,  I would try to use as a project for a particular unit that does not have much information available for it on the Internet.

Without further adieu, here is my Scratch program:

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/ctrumbetic/3089930

Also, I learned about a ton of other stuff this week that I could use in the classroom. I really liked the custome search engine. With aspirations to become a high social studies teacher, I think the search engine could help with certain projects that need credible information or very specific information, especially if the assignment is looking for original research. I’m not a huge technology person and the last thing I like to do when I have free time is surf the web so I am not sure if I would make use of the Technorati.com website, but I can see it’s advantages for keeping up with the times. I thought the website provided for editing images was phenomenal and I would gladly share it with my students. They could  possibly use it for an assignment that asks them to make a collage or distort a dictator’s image to show what he looked like on the “inside” or add characteristics of an event on a picture of the event. I’m still not sure how my PLN is supposed to work because I have not been officially accepted, I only registered. This week has been very enlightening learning about the different tools on the Internet that can enhance instruction.

Posted in INDT 501 | Tagged , , | 2 Comments