Web Inquiry Lesson

For the creation of this Web Inquiry lesson, I worked collaboratively with my friend and colleague Gisela. We designed this lesson thinking of our 8th grade students and how we could assist them to be aware of the influence of Hispanic culture in The United States as well as the relevance of culture to learning Spanish as a foreign language.

This Web Inquiry contains 10 topics, which students will explore in groups of three or four. Each topic includes directions and the corresponding links to Websites for students to carry out the activity.  For example, one of the topics that the students will research about is the borrowed words (loanwords) in the English language. This helps them to realize they already know some words in Spanish such as fiesta, aficionado, poncho or some place-names in the United States. Once each group has collected the required information, they will create a presentation that might involve activities such as writing a script, dancing, or creating a slide show depending on the topic they researched.

I am quite excited about this project. I can see how this Web Inquiry provides an opportunity to my students to finding the answers by themselves, using higher-order thinking skills, working collaboratively, reporting on their findings, and being actively involved in their own learning. Therefore, my role would just be as a guide and facilitator. However, that doesn’t mean that my work is simple. Creating a Web Inquiry requires a considerable amount of time for planning and preparation.

This Web Inquiry is a comprehensive project, which involves general aspects of the Hispanic Heritage in the United States and it is intended for 8th grade students and above. However, an Inquiry-based project can work with any age group as long as it is age-appropriate and delivers suitable learning opportunities. For example, projecting a future Web Inquiry in my Spanish class I might focus on just one relevant and interesting question where the whole 5th grade would be involved in finding the answers. Then, I would provide the opportunity to share their findings.

New Technologies

Dr. Coffman provided different sites related to virtual worlds: NASA, Brainnook, Mynian Land, River City, and 3D Virtual School for Homeschooling. In order to adopt Virtual World in my classroom it is necessary that I make an educated decision on which browser to use and how it can best facilitated. Thinking of my ELLs, Brainnook or Mynian Land would work well with my younger students since they have fun, engaging games. However, I could not find a virtual site in Spanish to use for my Spanish class. In addition to the already mentioned sites, she provided three more browsers: Edusim, Active Worlds Education, and Second Life.  Our assignment was to select one for downloading and exploring more deeply. I was divided between Edusim (it works with Activeboard) and Second Life but I selected the last one since it was more widely used and more recommended.

Once I downloaded Second Life, I started to learn how to use it and how to manage my avatar. You can totally adapt it and equip it with the features that best represent your personal traits. One of the issues that I found in this browser was the sexual content. However, that can be easily fixed by using Second Life version for teens where adults are not allowed unless they are educators and have been approved to participate in the site. Another possible problem encountered is that Second Life can slow the speed of Internet.  Considering a classroom with 20 students, all using Second Life at the same time might be problematic. Then, I searched for The Day of the Dead and visited a town at night and a Smithsonian Exhibition at a placita. After exploring Second Life, I started thinking of the possible uses in my classroom. Second Life allows integrating text and audio that would be excellent for my students to practice their language skills in contextual and meaningful ways. For example, I could have my students explore different Hispanic cultures, attend festivals, go on virtual field trips to different Hispanic countries and interact with native Spanish speakers.

Dembo (2008) stated: “Until we are able in some systemic way to re-envision teaching and schooling to embrace the potentials of anytime, anywhere learning, we’re going to have a very difficult time understanding how to leverage the possibilities.” This statement made me think about my position regarding virtual reality and the use of technology in my classroom. I do want to embrace it. That is the main reason for taking this class to begin with. Virtual world is a hands on approach which allows students to have active rather than passive experiences and fits with the current students who are much more knowledgeable about technology and an important part of their lifestyle revolves around technology. However, I like using different approaches as opposed to just one. So I think that I would use virtual reality and mix it with other tools and forms of learning. In this way, I would be able to address the different learning styles and meet all my student needs.

References:

Dembo, S. (2008). Virtual Worlds for Educators: Second Life creates a new dimension for K12 learning and collaboration. Retrieved from http://www.districtadministration.com/article/virtual-worlds-educators

 

Mini Projects: Google Trek

Working on mini projects for my INDT501 class has demonstrated once again that the possibilities of utilizing technology in the classroom are broad and never-ending. All the tools that Dr. Coffman offered this week are amazing: Scratch, Google Earth and Google Trek. Since Gisela and I are working collaboratively, we selected Google Maps to create a Google Trek for Hispanic Heritage in the United States. Before we started working on our project, we used Google advanced image search to gather pictures, we collected links to videos, created the references list and got familiar on how to creating a Google Trek. Then we started to pinpoint the places on our map by using the placemarker tool. Then, we added lines to show the route. With Google Maps you also have the option to share your map Aside from being time consuming, I still enjoyed working with this tool. I think that once shown examples of how using Google Trek, students could be able to work on different projects. For example, the could create Google Treks about varied topics such as how Christmas is celebrated around the world or recreate Christopher Columbus’s expeditions to America or ELLs could create a Google Trek of their homeland or directions to their house. By using Google Maps they would be able to create an interactive tour around their topic including text, directions, pictures, links to web pages, etc.

Mini Projects

For this week’s assignment I worked collaboratively with my best friend and colleague, Gisela De La Rivera. Since we had worked with Voki (http://voki.com) last year and created some avatars for description, this time we decided to learn how to use a new tool: we chose to create a digital story with multimedia. First, we created the outline of the story, which was a mix between a personal and fictional tale. In order to find Creative Commons licensed media for our storytelling we used Google advanced image search. However, most of the pictures that we used were our own pictures. Then, we selected One True Media (www.onetruemedia.com/) to build the story. This tool possesses templates and some music to add to the story, it allows uploading images, up to three songs or audio for the story track, and adding text. Furthermore, it is possible to embed the story in blogs or post to sites such as YouTube or Facebook.  The idea of this storytelling was to make it different to Animoto (http://animoto.com), which is an amazing tool for creating videos. Therefore, we decided to include a narrative voice. The problem was that this site did not possess an online voice recorder. Due to this, we had to record the voice on Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/about/) and then upload it to One True Media.

 

Even though it was really time consuming working on this project, I actually enjoyed it. Working collaboratively, allowed us, as teachers, to be creative, edit, add, and learn together. This digital story would get our students engaged and be focused on what is being taught. For further uses I could introduce topics, model projects, or review content. In addition to this, I can see how my students could benefit by using this tool. They could create their own digital stories, be creative, express their ideas, and select topics of their interest while they are using technology.  By utilizing this tool, students would be able to use higher thinking skills such as analyzing information, writing skills when creating texts or writing a script, and/or using the language verbally.

 

References:

Animoto. (2013). Create videos for Home or Business. Retrieved from http://animoto.com

Audacity. (2013). Retrieved from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/about/

One True Media. (2013). Simply Powerful Video Creation. Retrieved from http://www.onetruemedia.com

Voki. (2013). Create Speaking Avatars and Use them as an Effective Learning Tool. Retrieved from http://voki.com

Shared Sticky Notes

Padlet is an online tool that facilitates working collaboratively. The program allows me to create a wall which can hold attachments: video, notes, projects, Etc. Then, I can have students go to the wall and carry out tasks like searching for things I have posted, using my posts to learn.

I think that the idea of using Padlet in the classroom is a very innovative way to engage my students in a collaborative activity. I enjoy the simplicity of using this tool and all the possibilities that it provides me. This tool allows me to collect and organize resources like videos, document files, and images on a wall. However, those are just some of the ways I can use Padlet. I can use it collaboratively and share web links, have discussions, and post questions. Furthermore, Padlet allows me to use it as a formative assessment tool to evaluate student understanding.

Due to the easy access and since students don’t need an account to create a wall or post on one, this tool enable students to share ideas, post comments, provide feedback, and interact with their classmates and teacher inside and outside of the classroom by texting on a wall.  For example, I can assign a project where students design a wall and write about what they like including pictures, links, and/or videos, Etc. They can also use the wall for grammar and vocabulary.  Padlet allows me to post a picture of something and have the students find that picture and describe it. An example of this is that I may use the wall to have students search and find a Hispanic artist during Hispanic Heritage month. By the way, tomorrow is Columbus Day and many schools are closed. Do you know why only some States celebrate Columbus Day? Please, visit the wall on the following link http://padlet.com/wall/cpbomkmsyq

Flipped Classroom

Reflecting on my own experience with Instructional Technologies class, the flipped classroom method that Dr. Coffman is implementing has implied time for me to get adjusted. I had to flip my traditional way of learning and start watching the modules and learning independently at home. Then, back in the classroom she would answer questions and provide time for us to practice what I have already explored. I like this method since it provides plenty of time for practicing and, thinking of my students, that is exactly what they need the most: opportunities to practice and use the language. Personally, I like to use a variety of approaches and I think that the flipped classroom method is another methodology that I could use when I see it is the right tool or the best, over other techniques, to teach a specific topic.

I can see the benefits of the flipped classroom model could bring for my students. Once created and delivered the video of the lesson that I want my students take, they would be able to work on their own pace, review the video as many times as they need it, have more time to write down notes, and decide when to watch it before the next class. Then, in the classroom my students would be working in groups, interacting with me, and their classmates, and working on project based activities. I would also be able to identify and group those students who need extra explanation and work with them while the rest is focused applying what they already learned. As Bennett, Kern, Gudenrath and McIntosh (2012) suggest, the flipped classroom approach is a method that in summary provides more time for learning.

However, I am not sure yet about using the flipped classroom method as the only technique to deliver instruction. Some of the obstacles that I see is that not all the students would watch the lecture. I don’t give too much homework for the simple reason: not all students do it. They usually have different extra curricular activities after school. Are they attentive, rested and with a positive attitude to watch a lecture after all of that? This methodology requires dedicating time to review the material, to be disciplined, and create a routine at home. By using the flipped classroom model I would also miss the instant interaction with my students. I like to share stories regarding the topic that I am teaching or when learning culture, students comment and/or share their own knowledge and experiences.

As a lifelong learner, I am open to try new research based strategies and methodologies that enhance my students learning. Nevertheless, embracing a new methodology for the only reason that is the current trend is not desirable. As Miller (2012) advices, before using the flipped classroom model, we teachers, should have in consideration certain aspects such as designing engaging and meaningful videos, who is aimed to watch them, technology availability, duration time of the videos, etc.

 

References:

Bennett, B., Kern, j.,  Gudenrath, A., & McIntosh, P. (2012). The Flipped Class Revealed. Retrieved from http://www.thedailyriff.com/articles/the-flipped-class-what-does-a-good-one-look-like-692.php

Miller, A. (2012). Five Best Practices for the Flipped Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/flipped-classroom-best-practices-andrew-miller

Creating a Video

The Internet can be overwhelming with vast amount of sites, information, and tools. I think that the main idea in utilizing the Internet for my teaching is to explore and make an educated decision about what I, as a teacher, could integrate in my class in benefit of my students. There are examples: I had created a Twitter account in 2008 but never used it. Regarding Linkedin, I group it with Facebook and I really don’t see the advantage in using them.  I stopped using Facebook and started using Whatsapp. My reason for the replacement is due to Whatsapp being more private and allowing for a reduced number of contacts. Since, I personally don’t see the benefit of using Linkedin, I would not use this tool with my students.

 In exploring RSS Feeds, there are some strong points and equally negative ones. I do like the way you can keep blogs in just one place. Also, I can read and keep up with news and trends about the chosen topic of interest. However, it was not very simple to add a link or URL. For that reason I did not find Feedly advantageous.  I prefer Delicious. I am a Youtube user and I am used to saving the video URLs in a word document or bookmark useful webpages so I am more than satisfied with this tool. I am planning to start adding links to my bookmarks and making use of this wonderful tool.

 Since I usually utilize videos from Youtube as a strategy to keep my students interest, I could integrate Animoto as an effort to try and enhance my students’ learning experience, as well as, permit them to create imaginative and original videos. Animoto is a very engaging tool and it possesses various advantages. It is based on constructivist approach and therefore, promotes creativity, allows students to design their own personal experiences, and according to Fryer (2008) it permits students to use higher order thinking skills, particularly if Bloom’s Taxonomy is incorporated into their projects. In addition to this, the Animoto tool supports learning for different topics where students can integrate sound, images, and text. However, if I wanted to use this tool as a project with my students it would be difficult, or rather impossible, due to their limited access to computers in our school. Another roadblock would be the student ages since most of my students are under 13 therefore it would be difficult to set up an account for them in the education version.

 References:

Fryer, W. (2008).  Animoto for Education – Use it for thoughtful media creations. Retrieved from http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2008/08/07/animoto-for-education-use-it-for-thoughtful-media-creations/

Information Literacy and Creativity

I love what I do and I am constantly researching new teaching strategies, getting informed about new trends in education and/or topics of interest for my students, etc.  However, as a part-time teacher, teaching both ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and Spanish for two different school systems, my schedule is really tight.  As a result, learning about advanced Google search and how to create a Custom Search Engine this week has re-connected me with my objective for taking this class: To learn how to use technology in a way that facilitates my job, as a teacher, and help my students to use it in a friendly and safe manner. In addition to this I found that I could take advantage of Google operators since they are quite beneficial to filter and limit the information to the specific desired terms. In this way, I can avoid both undesired Web sites and maximize my limited, precious time. Regarding Custom Search Engine, I never thought that there existed something like that. As a Pinterest user, I should have predicted that it was possible. I can see all the benefits it will offer me when I am searching the web. Creating a Custom Search Engine will enable me to identify, classify, and store reliable Web sites for a specific topic. For example, I have already created a search engine for quizzes and vocabulary. Further, I am planning to share it with my students in order to provide them with extra practice outside of the classroom. Regarding the benefits the use of this tool will bring to my students, they will be able to access only the web sites that I have already searched for them and these sites adequately cover the information being studied.

Currently, the access to information and the way our society is bombarded with it can be overwhelming. How can I discern if the web-based information is reliable and accurate? How can I help my students to judge and select the appropriate information? To understand the concept of information literacy is essential. According to the American Library Association (2013) information literacy: “allows us to cope by giving us the skills to know when we need information and where to locate it effectively and efficiently”. There exist different criteria to determine if the information contained on a web site is reliable.  Warlick (1998) offers some questions that should be answered in order to evaluate the web-based information. Some of those questions are related to identify the author of the information provided, the purpose of the Web site, and the reliability of the information in relation to other Web sites (Warlick 1998). Therefore, my objective is to teach my students to compare the information with other Web sites, check if the data is current and credible, evaluate if information serves to their information search, and make an informed selection of information.

 

References

American Library Association. (2013). Introduction to information literacy. http://www.ala.org/acrl/issues/infolit/overview/intro

Warlick, D. (1998) Evaluating internet-based information: A goals based approach. Retrieved from: http://ncsu.edu/meridian/jun98/feat2-6/feat2-6.html

Digital Literacy

Kimura, Yumi (2009). So Happy Smiling cat.

Digital Literacy

 In order to accomplish the assignment for my class this week I decided to look for an amusing cat image so that I can use it when I teach the unit about pets: Hence, I used three different Creative Commons licensed search engines: Flickr, Google advanced image search, and Pics4Learning. After exploring the three of them, I found out that Pics4Learning is the easiest to use regarding copyright licenses and being able to locate the apposite information for citation and references. The Pics4Learning website displays a table with the name of the author, the date, and even the citation is readily available which is quite helpful. Unfortunately, I was not able to find the ideal image that I was looking for due to the fact that this site does not have a great quantity and variety of pictures. The website where I found the appropriate image that I was in search of was Google advanced image search. I liked this search engine because it provides a broad variety of images, it is easy to download or copy the material, and it can link to Flickr images.  In addition to this, it allowed me to filter and narrow my options to find the image within the boundaries of copyright licenses. I was able to locate and use and appropriate image since it is licensed under the Creative Commons Attributions, which allows me to share and modify it. However, I need to attribute the work to the author.

As a teacher, I know the value of an image to capture my students’ attention. I usually download pictures from the Internet and I use them for educational purposes. To reflect what concepts such as Creative Commons, Public Domain, and copyrights mean to me, as an educator, has led me to get informed about the topic. Downloading images from the Internet, under the premise if they are available online, and thus must be free to use is not accurate. There is a difference between an image being available on the Internet and another being in the public domain. Works that enter the public domain is because their intellectual copyrights have expired, the creator has donated the work to the public domain or is not protected by the copyright law. However, most of the works available on the Internet are copyrighted since copyright attaches to a work automatically (Creative Commons, 2013).

Therefore, I need to lead by example of what it means to be able to create an own original product and acknowledge that there exist limitations for using other people’s ideas. I need to help my students to develop awareness about their rights and their accountability as both consumers and creators of their own products. Teaching students about Creative Commons and the importance of respecting intellectual property can help them reuse, change, and add their own creativity remaining into the legal boundaries (Learn NC, 2010).

References:

Kimura, Yumi (2009).  So Happy Smiling Cat. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:So_happy_smiling_cat.jpg

Creative Commons. (2013). About CC0-“No Rights Reserved”. Retrieved from http://creativecommons.org/about/cc

Ferriter, Bill (2010). Teaching students about the Creative Commons. Retrieved from http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/6443

 

 

The Technology Integration Matrix

 

Superkimbo, 2008. http://www.flickr.com/photos/superkimbo/3122642792/

Superkimbo, 2008. Flat Classroom Skype.

 

I found the levels of The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) and the description of the learning environment quite beneficial. This is a wonderful tool that will guide me in how to organize and integrate technology in my classes in order to enrich my students learning. In addition, the Technology Integration Matrix provides the literature for using technology in the classroom.

 One of the examples that I found especially compelling was the Collaborative-Adoption level. Based on the description of this level, students would be able to work collaboratively, it would prevent the recurrent issue of lost worksheets and/or the necessary materials for the class, and it would save paper. Another benefit would be the possibility of addressing students with special needs. The example that I consider difficult to carry out, especially in my classroom, is Collaborative-Infusion level. I consider it more time consuming and more appropriate for high school students.

 One example of technology that I have seen is where students have worked independently, visited different web sites, practiced a rhyme, and then recorded it in the active board. That example would fall in the cell Active-Adaptation. This cell of the matrix describes the role of the teacher as a guide or facilitator whereas students begin to explore and work more independently.

References:

Superkimbo (2008). Flat Classroom Skype. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/superkimbo/3122642792/