Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blogging in my Future Classroom

The Video entitled Why Let Our Students Blog? by Rachel Boyd ( offers the following reasons why students should blog. These are the benefits that she see in letting students blog.

Critical Thinking
Extended the walls of the classroom
Give students a voice
Give students an audience
Give students a learning environment
Skills useful for their digital future

            I feel that all of these reasons are very valid, proving blogging to be a invaluable tool for student learning.
            In my future classroom I will strive to find applications were blogging fits the class objectives because I see it as a powerful tool. However, at this time I feel the applications for blogginf in an elementary math classroom are limited. If the computer technology is availale for the students to access easily, I may use a student developed blog in place of the often used “Math Journals’. I think that this could give student s great experience in using technology. My only snag at this idea, after having the access to enough computers for my class, is that sometimes math journals contain pictures and numerical based inquiry. I’m not sure there currently exists and easy and nonlimiting way to translate these things to a digital blog. Being that most blogs are primarily text based and mine would need to be numerical and picture based, I am hoping that new software is developed that allows for these things to be easily documented.

Specific Technologies for my Future Classroom

Blog Reflection #5 - Topic: What specific technologies did you learn about this semester that you think will be valuable to use in your future classroom? Why will these technologies be valuable?

This semester I got the opportunity to rub shoulders with a veritable buffet of technology that can be utilized in my future classroom. At times I found myself almost overwhelmed by the variety, and the possibility, that was laid before me.  I am sure however with a little more time and experimentation I will into a tech savvy educator who can engage a classroom full of children with my technological marvels.
As a future Mathematics teacher I am excited when I engage in working with technology that I can envision using to teach math concepts. For this reason I think that both spreadsheets and databases will prove invaluable tools in my future classroom. I have included images of both spreadsheet and database activities/assignments that I have created.

Figure 1: Created Using a Database
Figure 2: Created Using Spreadsheet

I feel that both of these are great examples of using technology in a productive and engaging way.
            I also look forward to trying to use GPS hardware mapping tools and lessons with my math students to help them further develop their spacial and geographical awareness/sense. Students can uses these tools to learn math concepts in a fun and truly unique way.
            Nonlinear PowerPoints and SmartBoard Lessons will also have a solid place in my future classroom because of their unique ability to dynamically alter and adapt lessons to meet the needs of the students in real time.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The impact of multitasking on teaching and learning and thinking.

As I sit down to think about multitasking, I am struck by the gravity of my surroundings. I come here with the best of intentions, but if I allow myself to truly take a look around I begin to question that. I have 6 word documents open on my computer screen, my internet browser has 11 tabs open, and as I sit here, I am literally surrounded by stacks of paper and lists of things ‘to do’. All of this, in addition to my smart phone that is NEVER out of arms reach and the radio, which is playing through the queue of news stories that I have selected for the day. “What am I doing?!”, I think to myself, overwhelmed and almost forgetting what I am here to do. That thought comes to me a lot these days, “What am I doing?”

Multitasking has become a way of life for many of us, a constant state of being. The question isn’t whether we are multitasking – because we are, we have to be. The real question here is what that means for us in terms of thinking, learning, and teaching. Frontline recently produced two specials, one called “Growing up Online” and the follow-up entitled “Digital_Nation”, both looking at how dependant our society has become on technology, and how the mere speed with which we live our lives today can leave our heads spinning. 

 How can we reach children, how can we teach children, when we have so many obstacles blocking our way? 

In Digital_Nation, Doug Rushkoff, a technology journalist and narrator of part of the film, talks about what he thinks has changed as the Internet has evolved over the past 20 years. He says,“The net has changed from a thing one does to the way one lives, connected all the time”… “and it appears more kids then I would of thought, are overwhelmed”. 

Is it possible to find a medium between finding a high enough level of activity to keep children engaged and limiting the amount of stimulus so that learning can occur? Many of the data presented states that the ‘new’ generation is so fast paced, with such a short attention span they are no longer able to perform basic skills, i.e. reading a book. Multitasking has changed the way many students think and write; one researcher said that people no longer write essays, they write paragraphs, then take a break to facebook or to check their email, etc. and then they come back to it. People are no longer able to focus on a task until completion; we have short bursts of attention punctuated by a multitude of other tasks. I know this is how I function, but how will my classroom environment cater to this quality in my students? Should I stop mid-lesson, or mid-sentence, to and in little snipits to keep children engaged? Or should I allow for breaks every 5-10 minutes allowing for short attention spans to function?

I don’t know the answers, but I will do my best to accommodate students while pushing them to develop life skills that with aid them in their futures. I don't want to find myself standing in front of a classroom of students asking themselves, "What are we doing?".

The Frontline special: Digital_Nation can be found at