Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bringing Social Studies Into the Technology World

Advantages to Technology

There are many advantages to intergrating and using technology in the classroom. From a Social Studies view, technology allows the concepts to be brought to life. It has the potential to transform a learners experiences and actively engage them in learning the concepts. Teachers who are constantly integrating tech into their lessons are allowing students to become more familiar with the tech and more involved in not only the lesson, but with other classmates. Using tech in the classroom can range from using a time line generator software to using the iPad or mobile device to allow for research on topics. The technology does not have to be a high-level of technology, it can be as simple as opening GoogleEarth and searching for something. The video below shows how a 9th grade Social Studies teacher uses YouTube in his classroom. 

Disadvantages to Technology 

One of the many problems that teachers have when teching social studies is covering all of the material in a short amount of time. There are 10 different themes that teachers must cover or hint at in social studies. Intergrating technology into these themes can be hard. Since, in the past, the teacher has been the main or primary source of information , many teachers feel that intergrating technology will take away from the teacher- student relationship. When information is given to students by the teacher, we know and assume that it is reliable and truthful, but when students use the internet to search for materials, they are not always obtaining reliable and vaild information. One of the more voiced problems with intergrating tech into the classrooms, is the cost. To supple 30 students with a time line generator software costs around $1,000 dollars. This is just not relisitic to every classroom and school system. The video below details a couple of disadvatnages of using and intergrating technoogy in the classroom. 

Activites and Programs

While it is still not a definite good or bad idea to intergrate technology in the area of social studies, I have complied a list of specific programs and activites that teachers can use to begin to intergrate technology into thier lessons.
  • GoogleEarth
  • Google Maps
  • Geospacial Technologies
  • YouTube
  • Geocaching
  • Google Docs
  • TimeLiner
Some other great resources are digital storytelling, virtual field trips, adventure learning, concept mapping, and even creating news articles. The possibilites for using technology in the social studies classroom is really unlimited. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The World of Promethean

An interactive white board is one of the best resources a teacher can have in their room due to the endless possibilities available. Promethean Planet is a great website that has endless resources to use with a Promethean Board. I found a great flipchart that involves counting coins. It is called Counting U.S. Coins. It has some great technology aspects that will get the students involved and engaged in their learning. To download the flipchart you have to have the correct software on your computer. Promethean boards use a software called ActivInspire. It is free to download, and you do not have to have a Promethean board to use the software. If you want to use it in your classroom and get the greatest efficiency out of it, you will need the Promethean hardware. This includes the actual Promethean board, Promethean pens, projector, and a computer with the software downloaded and ready to go.

This flipchart has a great example of using technology to solve problems. It uses problems that allow the student to not just answer the question, but to show on the board how they reached the answer to the problem. The flipchart allows for great integration in the classroom. You can use it solely for the individual activities for morning work or use it as a whole to help enhance a lesson. The possibilities are endless due to the relaxed and flexibility of a flipchart itself. While some of you may be new to using the ActivInspire software, there is software support. Promethean Planet offers support on how to use the ActivInspire program, troubleshooting, and even resource packs to enhance your flipcharts.

Overall interactive white boards, and Promethean boards in particular, offer great resources for students and teachers. It allows for the classroom to come alive and interactive.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Wiki Wonders

I have found a great math wiki (the name is the link) Haultain-Math. It is made mainly for middle school students who want to learn more or practice their math skills. This wiki has listed links to teacher approved websites that will help students with their math skills. I think it is great that the teacher complied a list of these websites, considering math is one of the subjects that students, especially DHH, may have trouble with.

I found a GREAT widget that is not something you see everyday. Voki allows you to create a visual person who tells a recorded message. You can change pretty much every aspect of this widget to your liking. I would use this on my classroom website to enhance it and with students who have a hearing loss but are more orally based so they learn to pay attention. I would also use it to help students with directions on homework at home.

How Many People?
This widget is from Wolfam Alpha which has a ton of educational widgets to choose from! This particular widget can calculate how many people are in a certain country or place. This would be great for a geography lesson to have a safe and secure way for students to look up data.

WebQuest is a great website that you can use pre-existing or create your own quests. A webquest is an activity based lesson completed completely by using the internet. It is great for group projects, classroom races, and many more options. It allows for students to complete activity at their own pace and is fun! (The name is a link to page)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Web Based Learning Activities


URLs give tons of information to the students right off the bat. The domain designator can give a preview of the type of information that can be found on the website. Some of the main domain designators we see are .com, .edu, and .org. If a website ends in .com, it is designated as a commercial site, and this is the most commonly seen domain designator. While it is the most common, it is also the most easy to obtain so the information on the site is not always the best. The .edu and .org designators are more reliable since they are websites that are for education institutions and  non-commercial organizations.

Search Engines 

The use of search engines allows anyone who has access to the internet, the ability to search and find an abundance of information in an organized manner. Students should be knowledgeable on the proper ways to use a search engine. There are many ways to narrow a search to only show accredited information, information that is relevant to your topic, and to find items that are legally allowed to be reused (such as pictures).

Favorite Websites 
The websites name is a link to the actual website!

ASL Pro is a great website for additional practice with sign language. I particularity love this website because it lists the mission of the website, and a brief bio on all of the interpreters and makers of the videos provided.

KidsHealth is another great website, not only for kids, but for parents and teens. It provides a point of view on varying health topics and on the body in a way children can understand. I really enjoy this website because it is easy to navigate and is constantly being updated with new information.

Website Evaluation Video

This video is a great example to show students in class about what a bad website looks like and what a great website looks like and how to tell the differences.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hypermedia Tools for the 21st Century Teacher

Speech with Milo: Interactive Storybook
Hypermedia has become a fast growing part of technology in the 21st century. One of the many different types of commercial hypermedia out there is interactive storybooks. These storybooks allow children to be fully engaged with the story rather than just listening. Children can interact with the characters, make choices about what will happen next in the story, and even explore the setting of the story. Most recently interactive storybooks have appeared in app stores. Speech with Milo: Interactive Storybook is a great app that allows children and teachers to become fully engaged in the story (if you click on the app name, it will take you to the app store to preview the app!). I would love to have this app for my classroom. It is a great resource to have for times students are in between work and activities, or event as a supplement for reading centers.

The Virtual Environment
Virtual environment hypermedia is slowly starting to gain popularity in educational settings. It was originally used primarily for gaming, but it is evolving into something that educators are introducing in their classrooms. Teachers have not fully unlocked the capabilities of  advantages that virtual environments will offer their students. Students could open up a world of learning that has not been accessed yet. I would use virtual environment in my classroom as an aid on homework and lessons in the classroom. I found a great video on youtube of a teacher who created virtual environment homework that was used with an iPad (or an iPhone/iPod) that allowed his students to have homework help and instructions from him.

This is a great example of the future technology that will be appearing in classrooms. All in all, virtual environment will lead to great things for students and teachers alike.