Final Reflection

Hmmm….where to begin.  I know I probably say this about all the courses I’ve taken at McDaniel, especially when we’re wrapping everything up.  But I do feel that this has been one of most beneficial courses I’ve taken.  I am thoroughly excited about using technology in my classroom now that I see how helpful and significant it is.  Now I just have to get my co-teachers on the bandwagon with me!

As for our wiki assignment (and Margaret, I think you might have just sold me on wiki now:)) I have to say that it was probably my favorite project out of this course.  Minus some minor grumbling, I think I’ve finally gotten the hang of it, and I’m very excited about what I created, as well as seeing what everyone else created.

Having learned and been introduced to all of the little things first: Skype, VoiceThread, The NETS Standards, Creative Commons, iMovie, GoogleDocs – reader, iGoogle, Flickr, Digital Storytelling, PLNs, Twitter, GoodReads – and the list could go on and on – but the point is that because I learned about all of these little things first, I found that I was able to see how I can apply them later and almost into any content as a future librarian.  With technology already a significant part of our students lives it is natural to assume that it will become a vital part of education, as long as we (and I mean us educators) are ready to provide it.

While the use of technology in our classrooms, is one of the many things I will take away from this course, I cannot go without mentioning the camaraderie I have felt throughout this class.  If only everyone could collaborate like we can!  Thank you Margaret for an eye-opening and wonderful experience in technology and to everyone else for making this course what it turned out to be.

Sam R.


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Wikis – Learning Log 2 of Module 4

The following links are educational wikis I found most interesting.

This wiki deals with a collaborative unit that was created by several teachers in one school for their students. Their description of the wiki is the following:The course will continue for a year, and the wiki is under construction. Teachers are working collaboratively to create a 21st Century Skills classroom for their students. One part of the unit development is to research best practices and to share those resources on the wiki. Another is to find an “expert” to interview or social network with, for example at the rich environment of the ECNing. We are using both problem-based lessons and UbD to frame the course. After browsing through the wiki, it looks like a very solid effort to promote collaboration, research skills, analyzing information, critical thinking, as well as working under time constraints.

This wiki is a resource website for all things math. The age ranges from grades K-8.

I particularly liked this wiki because it was originally for parent outreach and turned into a great way for this teacher’s second grade students to collaborate and share their work publicly.

I thought this wiki had a lot of great resources for students who need to fix gaps in their reading and writing skills – however, my only criticism would be the use of the word ‘remedial’ in the description of the wiki itself.

I loved this wiki! It was all about publishing student work created by online tools. There are some really great projects on here to show as models for students who have trouble thinking of ideas themselves or just to see what other students have created.

This is a film club wiki that features background information, reviews, and trailers to upcoming screenings. Really cool for high school – plus it was one of the first non-academic wikis I came across and really liked.

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Learning Log 1 of Module 4

I just had to share my thoughts on this…

The following two quotes from the article, “UDL: National Universal Design for Learning Task Force,” rang true for me as a special educator.  Time and again my co-teachers and I have planned together and piece together lessons that will benefit all students, not just those with disabilities.  One of my administrators mentioned that while this is a great thing to try and accomplish, it is important to keep special educators necessary in the classroom.  I suppose what she meant was that if my co-teachers and I planned too effectively, I would inevitably be null and void in the classroom.  While I see her point, I also don’t agree with it.  What this article said to me was that if we do this on a regular basis – create activities that are of high interest and motivate that natural desire in students to learn then we’ve almost recaptured the essence of childhood innocence.  Here’s what I mean by that.  So along the way, due to what we consider now as our old method(s) of teaching, we have severely stomped on the natural curiosity of wondering in our students, and wondering is something I strongly believe leads to learning.  I know this might be getting extremely philosophical, but there is the element of awe in education that is chronically stifled due to the rigid regime that educators have to follow.  It’s really nice to read an article that is very in tune to my views of universal teaching.

“Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for designing educational environments that enable all learners to gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning. This is accomplished by simultaneously reducing barriers to the curriculum and providing rich supports for learning.”

“Students differ from one another in many ways and present unique learning needs in the classroom setting, yet high standards are important for all students.”

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Social Collaborative Media

Social Media VoiceThread

Creative Commons License
SLM 508 Social Media Assignment by Samantha Roller is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

So again, I stuck with my idea of having students create author/book talks for peers via VoiceThread, or creating a culminating project for any content, however, I focused on the BIG6 research project that we do at my middle school in Reading classes.  I feel that having students interact with VoiceThread would give them not only something interesting and technologically stimulating to do, but it would also demonstrate their collaborative skills, problem solving skills, as well as their comprehension and application of the concept being taught.  As for Skype, I thought it would be a great experience for students to meet experts in specific content areas, however, I focused on the idea of meeting authors that they have been reading via this technology.  It would be a great way to inspire discussion as well as having students see that authors lead the same kind of lives they do.  I also thought that they could use skype outside of school as a collaboration tool for class research or other types of group projects.

I decided to stick with the same standards that I’ve been working with throughout this whole course.  So here they are, the standards I think that my VoiceThread ideas would help meet.   Of course not every standard would fit every activity, but I just wanted to put a list together here based on both tools I chose.

1. Creativity and Innovation

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:

a. apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes

b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression

c. use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues

d. identify trends and forecast possibilities


1.1.2 – Use prior and background knowledge as context for new learning.

2.1.5 – Collaborate with others to exchange ideas, develop new understandings, make decisions, and solve problems.


2. Communication and Collaboration

Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:

a. interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media

b. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats

c. develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures

d. contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems


1.3.2 – Seek divergent perspectives during information gathering and assessment.

3.1.4 – Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use and assess.

4.3.1 – Participate in the social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person.

3.3.1 – solicit and respect diverse perspectives while searching for information, collaborating with others, and participating as a member of the community.

2.1.5 – Collaborate with others to exchange ideas, develop new understandings, make decisions, and solve problems.


3. Research and Information Fluency

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:

a. plan strategies to guide inquiry

b. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and


c. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks

d. process data and report results


1.1.8 – Demonstrate mastery of technology tools for accessing information and pursuing inquiry.

2.1.4 – Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information.

3.4.2 – Assess the quality and effectiveness of the learning product.


4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:

a. identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation

b. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project

c. collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions

d. use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions


1.1.4 – Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions.

2.1.6 – Use the writing process, media and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that express new understandings.

3.3.1 – Solicit and respect diverse perspectives while searching for information, collaborating with others, and participating as a member of the community.

2.3.3 – Use valid information and reasoned conclusions to make ethical decisions.


5. Digital Citizenship

Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior. Students:

a. advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology

b. exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity

c. demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning

d. exhibit leadership for digital citizenship


3.1.6 – Use of information and technology ethically and responsibly.

4.3.3 – Seek opportunities for pursuing personal and aesthetic growth.

2.2.1 – Demonstrate flexibility in the use of resources by adapting information strategies to each specific resources and by seeking additional resources when clear conclusions cannot be drawn.

1.2.2 – Demonstrate confidence and self-direction by making independent choices in the selection of resources and information.


6. Technology Operations and Concepts

Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. Students:

a. understand and use technology systems

b. select and use applications effectively and productively

c. troubleshoot systems and applications

d. transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies


1.1.8 – Demonstrate mastery of technology tools for accessing information and pursuing inquiry.

2.1.4 – Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information.

2.2.1 – Demonstrate flexibility in the use of resources by adapting information strategies to each specific resources and by seeking additional resources when clear conclusions cannot be drawn.

3.1.4 – Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess.

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GoodReads – Learning Log 4 Module 3

Young Adult Reads

I couldn’t get the widget to work so here’s the link to my young adult list of GoodReads.

Describe how you will use the bookshelf and other ways you might use GoodReads in the instructional setting.

As a librarian I was would definitely use GoodReads as a resource to refer to for good books personally, professionally and for my students.  I would encourage my students to use it as well – it could be another way for them to keep track of what they’ve read, what they liked and see what everyone else is reading – also a way to keep tabs on what friends are reading and enjoying.  In a classroom setting, I would definitely create a collaborative project that focused on a topic that we’ve covered in English – of course I could see this being used cross-curricularly but I want to focus on English since that’s what I know best.  The project could be something like – Find books on Fables or Legends and compare the origins of them…or have the students pick three to five books for leisure reading purposes and explain why they chose them.  In a Reading class this could be used to document books that they’ve read over the course of the school year or over a whole year in general – their collaboration via GoodReads could be a participation grade.  Also in Reading I could see this tool being used to help students find books based on a BIG6 research project.  There could be a collaborative project based on the use of finding resources in specific careers, interests, etc. and in a group students with similar interests could decide based on reviews which books would be the best resources.

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My Favorite Social Networking Tool – Learning Log 3 for Module 3

I think that the favorite tool that I’ve used so far in this class has been VoiceThread.  I have really enjoyed researching this tool in particular because it makes sense to me.  I can see myself using this in the classroom with my students as a teacher for a culminating assessment of what they have learned for a BIG6 project.  After having looked at our fifth assignment I think that a Voice Thread is going to be one of the activities for it.  I like the idea of having students not only interact with something that they are familiar with and good at, but also connecting those skills to research that might not have been so easy for them to accomplish.  Since I teach 6th graders right now, that’s pretty much their first experience with a long term research project and it would be great to encourage their creativity in an academic area where research can be dull and rather dry.   I can also see myself using this tool as a librarian.  I like the idea of recruiting some of my students in order to have them create book reviews for their peers.  I envision this happening in one of two ways:  first they could choose a favorite author and one or more of their books to review, or they could choose many authors/books that might have been their favorites or not so favorite to do honest reviews about them – I believe that it is important for my students to be encouraged to express what they liked about a book as much as what they didn’t like about it, that way when a peer listens to their review they can make decisions based on their likes and dislikes.


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iGoogle – Learning Log 2 for Module 3

Above are the screen shots I took of my iGoogle home page.  iGoogle could be used for students to keep track of when assignments are due, or teacher websites/pages, keep track of what their classmates are doing and collaborate with them via Twitter or another tool.  iGoogle can also be a way that educators keep tabs on their co-workers and resources that are beneficial for professional and student use.

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