Sunday, February 24, 2013

Project #10 Finding the Right Tool

Brain Nook

Brain Nook When I first started this project, I have to admit I was a little nervous. I was afraid I wouldn't have a lot of luck finding useful tools for math teachers. I was afraid that when I began my search, I would only find websites for making worksheets or tests. Luckily for me, I was proved wrong. At first, yes, I did come across some of the websites I anticipated I'd find. But after clicking a few links to different websites, I found an article talking about different useful tools and programs for math teachers. The first tool listed was Brain Nook and it instantly caught my eye. Brain Nook is an online game where students can learn and practice math and language arts skills while exploring a safe, virtual world. New users can create a cute alien character and choose from a variety of colors to customize their character. After the creation and sign up process is complete, you are brought to a short interactive video where a human girl named Bella explains where you are and what to do.

Bella explains how to earn stars.

After this little introduction is finished, you're ready to begin your adventure! Your transported to the interactive world where you can select different types of games to play. Some of the games teach language arts skills while others teach mathematical skills. I played a game that allowed you to practice dividing fractions.

Example of a game teaching fractions

The game was pretty fun, and it was great practice to brush up on my own skills! Brain Nook is definitely something I will encourage my students to play. Brain Nook is something that can be useful for learning the basic mathematical skills and principles that are necessary for obtaining a strong foundation in mathematics. I can urge my students to use it whenever they feel like they need to review certain skills, like multiplying or dividing fractions. I may even require them to complete a few games every week on Brain Nook that are applicable to the material being taught for that week. From using Brain Nook, I expect that my students will increase their knowledge of basic math skills and be better prepared for learning new material. Plus, they will be doing so in a fun environment. Teachers even have the option of signing up their entire class to Brain Nook so students can play together and compete for gaining top scores on the website's leaderboard! So not only does it benefit their mathematical skills, but it also helps them develop a sense of community and benefits their social interaction skills. If another student is having trouble with a game, they can ask another student for help.

I chose Brain Nook because of it's simple yet fun atmosphere. It feels like you're playing a real online multi-player game, and in this day and age, a lot of kids do play online games. So, playing Brain Nook would be a fun way to learn the skills my students need! Plus, the virtual world of Brain Nook is safe to explore both at school and at home without worrying about coming across any inappropriate material. Another reason why Brain Nook is beneficial is because parents can get real time updates on how well they're children are doing. During the initial sign up, Brain Nook asks students for their parents emails so Brain Nook can email progress reports to the children's parents. This helps parents stay involved and invested in their child's progress, and parent cooperation and involvement is a key ingredient in a student's success!

Blog Post #6

The Networked Student

Personal Learning Network The video The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler tells the story of a boy as he develops a personal learning network (PLN). The student is studying American Psychology, and he starts building a personal learning network. The student first does research and practices finding websites and articles with valid, credible information on his subject. He shares what he finds on his social bookmarking site, and he also looks for other people who have bookmarked articles and websites on his topic. Then, he finds and subscribes to blogs where people write about the American Psyche, and he comments on the blogs, offering his own informed opinion. After conducting plenty of research and reading articles and blogs about the topic, he decides to create and manage his own blog. The student also uses his mp3 player to subscribe to and listen to podcasts available through iTunes U. These podcasts are recorded by professors who teach about his subject! The student is even able to contact the director of a documentary, who then discusses his documentary through Skype to the student's class!

At the end of the video, the narrator poses an interesting question: Why does the student even need a teacher? The narrator explains that his teacher is the one who helps him build his personal learning network. She teaches him how to research effectively and organize his information. Basically, she's the catalyst that helps jump-start the student's journey into developing his own personal learning network, and she is there to aid him whenever he has trouble or wants to learn something new.

This video gave a good example of how to build and maintain a personal learning network. You're not expected to start out already having a lot of connections or even knowing what to do. That's why you have a teacher or someone with more experience to show you what to do and give you advice on how to begin. Then, as you do more research and learn new things, you'll be better able to continue building onto your PLN on your own, as well as be able to help others who might be having troubles or are also just starting out.

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment

In Welcome to my PLE!, a seventh grader shows us her personal learning environment (PLE) for her science class. In order to keep everything organized, she uses a website called Symbaloo. She explains that the blocks in the upper rows are for personal use, while the blocks along the bottom row are what she uses for her school work. Every day, she checks the blog for her science class to see what will be covered that day. She also has a tile on Symbaloo that links to an essay on her Google Docs account that she wrote about learning how to write a scientific report. Another tile is linked to her Delicious account, where she has bookmarked websites that talk about the leopard gecko. She then wrote a report on her blog that certified her to handle her class's pet gecko. But that's not the only thing for which she uses her blog. She also posts reflections of what she learned in class. On her Symbaloo, she also has a tile that links to a special note taking program where she can paste pictures or small bits of text that she can look at later. This note taking program also keeps track of the sources from which the texts and pictures were obtained. She also created a glog about box jellyfish on Glogster, a site which allows you to create digital posters where you can compile text, pictures, and audio clips related to the subject of the poster. The student even emailed a professional to have her glog reviewed!

At the end of the video, the student explains that she likes this type of learning because it allows students to have more freedom. She can choose how and when to complete the work that needs to be done. She also explains that this type of learning teaches students how to be responsible. Even though students could look at anything they wanted on the internet and be easily distracted by social networking sites, the students feel inclined to work on their projects responsibly and be sensible about which websites they visit to do their research.

The student's PLE is a lot like my own PLN. She uses a variety of different websites and programs to help her compile and keep track of information she has researched. I am in the process of learning how to use Symbaloo, Pinterest, and Delicious in order to keep track of information I stumble upon. She also has a blog where she makes posts about what she has learned, which is exactly what we are learning how to do in EDM310. She contacts professionals to get their opinions, and she connects with her fellow students and others on the internet who share her interests, and she shares her own knowledge on her subject matter with them. In EDM310, we are building and expanding our network of connections by reading and commenting on the blogs of fellow EDM310 students and even other teachers and younger students across the world. Even when I graduate EDM310 and continue on to my career as a teacher, I hope to keep building onto my PLN and to teach my students how to create their own!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blog Post #5

If I Built a School

Colorful school in France Krissy Venosdale's blog post If I Built A School describes how she would build a school if she were given the opportunity. The first thing she talks about is how there would be a huge neon sign on the school's door that says "Welcome: Now Entering an Innovation Zone". That's the first thing a child would see coming to school, and I believe that would be extremely encouraging. She also describes a library with a fake tree with a treehouse and a cafeteria modeled after a comfortable, modern coffee house. She explains that "grade levels" would not exist; there would be classrooms that children advanced through based on ability and readiness, instead of based on age. There would be a colorful bus available to take the children on all kinds of field trips throughout the year, and the front hallway would have a large bulletin board where parents and other people from the community can post thank you notes. She also talks about how, every afternoon, students would get their "20% time", during which they would attend special classes about an area they were interested in. Children themselves would even have the option to teach a class during this time. Laptops, iPads, and other technology would be used daily, and their use by students would revolve around trust and respect and knowledge on how to use them properly. She states there would even be an aquarium in the halls, and that state tests would be cancelled! Sounds like a great school to me!

If I was given the opportunity to build a school, I would put an emphasis on creativity and the arts. I don't think the arts are being taught enough in our schools today. Every classroom would be decorated with a different theme. For example, one classroom would be decorated with a space theme, while another would be jungle-themed. There would be computers or iPads in each classroom, and every teacher would have to be technologically literate or be willing to become technologically literate in order to be hired. Students wouldn't take tests. Instead, they would express their knowledge through both individual and group projects. After all, we should be preparing our students for the real world, and often times, people in the workplace have to work as a team to get things done! Oh, and I'd definitely like to have that library tree house, too.

Virtual Choir

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir is stunning and beautiful. The quality of the voices was absolutely amazing, and the singing gave me goosebumps! Before watching the video, it had never really occurred to me that the internet could be used in such a way. Just think of what else can be done based on the same principle! Someone could conduct a full concert of musicians from all over the world! Or someone could compose a song with voice clips sent in from other people. It's really amazing how much the internet has brought humanity together. If you closed your eyes while watching the Virtual Choir, you would have no idea that the people participating weren't all together in the same place. And I'm willing to bet that a lot of friendships were formed between the singers because of that project. So not only is the internet a central hub for data and information exchange, it's also a center for forming friendships with people around the world! Listening to the interview between TED Radio and Eric Whitacre honestly made me tear up. Whitacre explains that he got the idea from a young woman who uploaded a video of her singing the soprano part to a song of Whitacre's called "Sleep". After watching her video, Whitacre posted to his blog that he was looking for singers, and he posted a download to his song "Lux Aurumque". A man named Scott Hanes offered to be the one to put together and edit all of the videos. The finished product, which is linked above, is something you will surely never forget. I hope to one day be a part of his virtual choir!

Teaching in the 21st Century

In Teaching in the 21st Century, Kevin Roberts talks about what it means to be a teacher today, and I agree with every bit of it. The main point Robert makes is this: Teachers are no longer the main source of knowledge. We are the filter. Students have easy access to information nowadays through internet resources such as Wikipedia, Google, Facebook, and other websites. So if students want to know something, they don't have to go to their teacher and ask. They can just do a quick search on the internet! So, as teachers of the 21st century, it is not our duty to teach at them. It is our duty to engage them in learning using the amazing technology we have available to us. This means that we teachers definitely need to be technologically literate! Technology has become an important part of our daily lives. So it's important that we use it to engage our students in our classrooms.

Another point Roberts makes is that there is a stark difference between entertainment and engagement. He explains that entertainment is passive and allows escape from problems, while engagement is active and solves problems. Our job as teachers is to provide meaningful and powerful engagement to our students. When I begin my career as a teacher, I'm going to be teaching in a world that is very different from the world I grew up and earned an education in. So it's my duty to keep up with the advancements in technology and the other changes in our environment and adapt to it so I can better prepare my students for living and working in our ever-changing world.

Flipped Classroom

Room Flipped Class The idea of a flipped classroom is something I had never heard about until now, but it's a very interesting concept! Dr. Lodge McCammon explains in his video what it means to flip a classroom. Basically, teachers create videos explaining the new content that will be discussed the next day in class. Students are expected to watch the videos and prepare questions and work on sample problems to bring to class the next day. This way, the teacher doesn't have to stand in front of the classroom and lecture the entire time. By watching a video at home the previous night, students have more time to ask questions and apply what they learned, and the teacher has more time to help them. In the video Why I Flipped My Classroom, Katie Gimbar, a math teacher, explains why she decided to flip her classroom. She explains that she used to teach to what she calls the "middle" group of students, as in the students who understood the content and moved along at a normal pace. This left the group of higher level students not being challenged, and the struggling students didn't get the extra help they needed. Only 10% of the class time was spent on application this way. Now, with a flipped classroom, the students can review the informational videos as many times as they need, and the teacher has plenty of time in class to help each group of students with any concept they're having trouble understanding. Ms. Munafo from Hilburn Academy Elementary also gives a good explanation of what it means to flip a classroom in this video.

A flipped classroom is definitely something I can use in my teaching! Ms. Munafo explains in her video that the flipped classroom is currently being used mainly for math, and since mathematics is what I'm specializing in, I can definitely make great use of the "flipped classroom" concept. Khan Academy has uploaded a lot of instructional math videos to their YouTube channel, and their videos are wonderful examples of how I could make and conduct my own videos for my students. Yes, this will probably be a lot of work, but it will help my students better understand the material and be more engaged in the classroom!

My Sentence Video

Sunday, February 10, 2013

C4T #1

Aaron Swartz
For my first C4T assignment, I was given the link to Ira Socol's blog SpeEdChange. The first blog post I read and commented on, titled Kurt Eisner and Aaron Swartz and the Freedom of Information talked about Bradley Manning and Aaron Swartz. Swartz helped shape the internet into what it is today. He was a co-founder of Reddit and he contributed to RSS coding. He also spread the idea that "information wants to be free". Swartz was set to be on trial for freeing publicly-funded research done by MIT from behind "pay walls". However, Swartz committed suicide before he could go on trial. The blog post iterates that Swartz was facing more jail time and higher fines than many killers get, just for releasing information to the public on the internet! Bradley Manning brought to light "horrific military and diplomatic practices", and yet he is being held in prison under conditions that classify as torture, even though he has yet to be convicted. Socol talks about how our country's copyright laws are absurd, how they're not written to "encourage the development of intellectual property", but to cater to the "greedy slobs" who want to make a profit off of other people's hard work. At the end of the post, Socol lists some ways that we can right our wrongs and fix these issues, such as signing a petition to limit copyright protection to 35 years or less, extend full legal protection to military whistle blowers, and if you're an academic, to post all of your work to free sites.

In my comment, I said that I really enjoyed reading the post, and how I was horrified that Aaron Swartz was receiving more jail time than most killers and rapists receive! And I expressed my anger over the government's treatment of Bradley Manning, treating him like a terrorist and putting him in conditions close to torture when he had not yet been put on trial. I also mentioned to Socol the famous hacker group called Anonymous and how they had a very interesting tweet that they had left on their Twitter account: When Internet activists are getting longer prison sentences than rapists you have to wonder what kind of world we're leaving for our kids.

Since Mr. Socol had not made a new post since the last one I read, I went back and read Who will bring the fight for children to the here and now?. He starts off musing that he might have been born to be a revolutionary since he is "uncomfortable with the world as it is". He then goes on to talk about various revolutions, which he states are "dangerous things", but they are essential. He also states that revolutions don't have to be violent, but that a true revolution results in "the destruction of accepted practice". He then talks about how we need an educational revolution in America. We need schools that are centered around children and their needs and schools that "celebrate challenge instead of conformity". Another interesting thing he says is that universities need to encourage "exploration and not regurgitation", and this reminded me of Dr. Strange's principle for EDM310. Finally, Socol urges that this year is a great year to enact change, and he ends the article with YouTube videos of songs embracing the passion of revolution.

In my comment, I said that I agreed that a revolution in our educational system definitely needed to take place. Children often complain about school and how school feels like a prison, and that's an obvious sign that we need to make changes! We need to fan the flames of creativity instead of fighting to extinguish them. I also said schools need to stop forcing children to make choices about their future careers at such a young age. Lastly, I said that I, as a future educator, hope to be part of the educational revolution and bring about much needed change.

Blog Post #4

Podcasting to Teach Foreign Language

Child editing a podcast with a SMART board
As someone who enjoys learning foreign languages, I found the article Listening-Comprehension-Podcasting to be especially eye-catching. The article talks about how a second grade class was learning the story of Purim, and they recorded the story as a podcast, since they had previous experience with making podcasts. The children tell the story in Hebrew, but even if you don't speak or understand Hebrew, you can still hear how much fun the children had while recording the podcast. The most interesting part about this was that the students' lines were recorded out of order, and it was the students' job to put the sound clips in the correct order using a SmartBoard. Doing this allowed the children to really immerse themselves into the language. They had to listen to clips over and over as they sorted them into the correct order, and the repetition helps with comprehension and improves their fluency in the language. I never would have thought about using podcasts as a way to teach a foreign language, but now I can see just how beneficial it would be. Since I'm going to be a math teacher, if I could find a way to incorporate mathematics into making podcasts, it could be really beneficial for my students!

Benefits of a Worldwide Audience

People standing around a globe
The article A Worldwide Audience for Six Year Olds? discusses if and how having a global audience would affect a class of six year olds. The class recorded a podcast of them "interviewing" the two main characters of the book Vacation Under the Volcano by Mary Pope Osborne. After the children recorded the podcast, the teacher made a blog post about it, as well as a tweet, and encouraged people that listened to the podcast to leave comments with their geographical locations. When the teacher read the comments aloud to the class, the children were very excited and happy, especially at a comment that called them professional. The students made journal entries about the experience, and the comments shown in the article all express how happy the children were to have people from all over the world interested in their work.

I think their comments and reactions are enough to prove that having a worldwide audience matters to children. It not only excites them, but it motivates them! Being able to share your work with others around the world and getting positive feedback from them would greatly encourage you, wouldn't it? Children at that age are only really used to receiving feedback from their parents and teachers, so just imagine how it must feel to have someone from an entirely different country complimenting them on their hard work? This article really cemented how important it is to build a network of people from around the world. They can provide a view of your work that you may not have been able to see before!

Producing a Podcast

The article Producing a Podcast talks about the more technical aspect of recording podcasts, and it lists helpful steps to planning and creating a podcast. First, it talks about deciding on the purpose or theme of the podcast. Second, it says to prepare your students for the podcast. Get them familiar with the technology being used to record and how to talk into the microphone so their voices are of the best possible quality. Next, it talks about teaching the students about the programs that will be used to edit the voice clips. And lastly, it lists what can be done for the actual recording. For example, it suggests that the introduction be a recording of the whole class. At the end of the article, it embedded five different podcasts to listen to as examples.

This article gave me some ideas for what I and my group can do for our podcast, for instance, doing the introduction as a group and then recording individual segments. The article also gave me ideas for what I can do in the future with my students. Perhaps I could record a podcast with my students about how to do simple math like addition or multiplication, or we could even do a podcast on learning times tables or basic mathematical principles that would be beneficial to younger students. Creating a podcast with my students would definitely be a refreshing and fun activity and hopefully get my students more excited about math!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Special Blog Post #1

Wolfram Alpha

Populations of China, India, and the United States
According to WolframAlpha, the populations of India and China are each around 4 times higher than the population of the United States. As seen in the figure to the left, China has the highest current population of the three countries. In the blog post Many Students Misinterpreted the Data in Did You Know?, Dr. Strange states that 18 million Chinese can speak English now, and there are 300 million Chinese learning English. The population of the United States in 2010, according to WolframAlpha, was just 309 million. In other words, there's more people in China speaking and learning English than the entire population of the United States!

While I was on WolframAlpha, I searched "Compare Apple and Microsoft". I found that Apple has a revenue of about $164.7 billion, and Microsoft has a revenue of about $72.93 billion. Apple's revenue is over twice that of Microsoft's! However, Microsoft has 94,000 employees, whereas Apple employs 72,800 people. I also chose to search "Compare Facebook and Twitter", since those are two popular social networking sites. According to WolframAlpha, Facebook has 12 billion daily page views, while Twitter has only 710 million daily page views. Facebook is listed as having 640 daily visitors, while Twitter has 120 million daily visitors. That's a lot of people sending tweets and posting status updates!

As a mathematics major, WolframAlpha has been extremely useful for helping me solve difficult math problems. If I ever get stuck on a problem and don't know how to solve it, I go to WolframAlpha and type in the equation, and it solves it instantly! When I begin my career as a math teacher, I will most definitely continue to use it, and I'll urge my students to use it as a resource, as well! I plan on first giving them an extensive tour of the site and showing them everything it can do, and I'll likely give them a few assignments based on the website that teaches them how to use it effectively.

Gary Hayes Social Media Count

Numbers detailing social media usage in one day
It's difficult to really grasp just how much information is added to the internet every day. Gary Hayes' Social Media Count gives an estimate of comments added to Facebook, tweets posted to Twitter, and videos uploaded to YouTube, among other things, from the past day, week, month, and even year! By just looking at the mass amount of data being added to social networking sites, it's plain to see how much of an impact the internet and technology have on our daily lives. Every day, more and more people all over the world are joining social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter. The beautiful thing about the internet is that it can bring together people from all over the world!

This worldwide unity is very useful for educators. Not only can we meet new people and make friends from all over, we can also learn about other cultures and other teaching methods that are used in other countries and cultures. The fact that our technological knowledge is advancing at an impressive rate is also a fun and interesting thing for educators to think about. Who knows what our classrooms will be like 5 or even 10 years from now. We could be teaching children who live in other countries by using webcams or technology that hasn't even been invented yet! I need to keep myself up to date on news about new technology so I can prepare myself for my future classroom. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for educators!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blog Post #3

Peer Editing
A student edits another student's paper
Everyone reading this post has probably had to deal with peer editing, whether you were the one doing the editing or the one having your work edited. But students sometimes find themselves unsure of where to start, or they might be afraid to offend their fellow students when they peer edit. Throughout middle and high school, I was never told how to properly peer edit, and sometimes, I would be apathetic or unhelpful when looking over the papers of other students. The video What is Peer Editing is a great video to show students who might need some ideas on how to do quality peer editing. This Peer Edit with Perfection Tutorial slideshow is also an excellent source for teaching students how to properly peer edit. Both the video and the slideshow emphasize three essential things for great peer editing skills: compliments, suggestions, and corrections. It's important to stay positive when peer editing, and complimenting the other student on what he or she did well is a perfect way to stay positive. When giving suggestions, again, remember to stay positive and give some specific ideas on how he or she can improve his or her writing. You can suggest they make changes to their sentence structure, organization, and word choice. When making corrections, check the student's writing for spelling and grammar errors, and make sure the writing contains no run-on sentences or incomplete sentences. Again, the most important part of it is to stay positive! The whole purpose of peer editing is to give constructive criticism in a positive manner, not to be a jerk!

The video Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes is a cute and informative video made by 4th and 5th graders. The children act out ten examples of what NOT to do when peer editing. First, they give us an example of Picky Patty. Picky Patty points out a bunch of things that don't really have anything to do with the main point of the writing. For example, a Picky Patty will point out that there are too many uses of one word, like "and", and that your margins are 1 centimeter off. Basically, a Picky Patty doesn't give you any substantial advice. Second, there's Whatever William. A Whatever William is someone who is apathetic to the peer editing session and just shrugs off any advice his partner gives him. Third, there's Social Sammy. A Social Sammy will completely ignore his partner and use the time set aside for peer editing to try to talk to his friends and fellow classmates. Fourth, Jean the Generalizer is someone who doesn't give specific examples of where you can improve your writing. For instance, a Generalizing Jean would simply tell you that you have some words spelled wrong or that you have some grammatical errors throughout the paper but would fail to point them out specifically. Fifth, there's Mean Margaret. A Mean Margaret is someone who is very negative and may even use insults when conducting a peer review. Please, don't be a Mean Margaret! Sixth, we have Loud Larry, who is someone who simply doesn't know how to use an indoor voice when peer editing. A Loud Larry will fail at keeping the review more private. Seventh, there's Pushy Paula. A person like Pushy Paula will insist that you do things her way when you make corrections, and she won't really listen to you if you try to explain why you wrote something a certain way. Eighth on the list is Off-Task Oliver. Off-Task Oliver is someone who gets distracted from the peer review process and does other things instead of focusing on the peer review. Ninth, there's Speedy Sandy, who rushes through the peer review process without going into good detail of what you can fix. Lastly, there's Defensive Dave. A Defensive Dave is someone who takes another student's advice as a personal attack.

The moral of the story here is when you're giving a peer review, remember to remain positive! Treat your fellow student the same way you would want to be treated. As long as you stay focused, be specific, and give helpful suggestions, your peer editing skills will greatly improve!

Assistive Technologies

The Mountbatten Brailler
This video, created by The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, introduces an amazing piece of technology called the Mountbatten. It is a device that allows blind students to type out braille, and files can be transferred over to a computer or even from a computer to the Mountbatten. This would be extremely useful in my future classroom. Not only does it allow blind students to do their normal classwork, it also helps engage blind students in group activities, which increases social interaction and acceptance by their fellow classmates.

I didn't realize how much awesome technology existed to help sighted students. In Teaching Math to the Blind, Art Karshmer, a professor at The University of San Francisco, exhibits a device that helps blind students learn math. He explains that math is very difficult to teach to blind students, and that it's very important for them to learn math because it is "the mother of science" and the gateway to learning other sciences. The device has a grid-like structure and comes with little blocks with both braille and a visual number on the front, and the student can lay the blocks out on the grid and can work the math problem with it. As a future math teacher, I found this device to be astonishing! As Karshmer states in the video, it's already hard enough for sighted people to learn math, so just imagine how difficult it must be for blind students! I hope to have one of these devices in my future classroom so I can help any blind students I have reach their full potential.

Another device I didn't know could be so useful to blind people is the iPad. In the video iPad Usage for the Blind, we're shown what features the iPad has that are available for use by blind people. Each iPad comes with what is called VoiceOver, and it uses sounds and speech to help the blind person navigate the iPad. For instance, when the person holds his or her finger over a blank area of the screen, the iPad plays ticking or dinging noises, and when the person moves a finger over an app, the iPad tells the user which app he or she is hovering on. In order to access the app, the person just needs to double tap it. With the VoiceOver technology, a blind person can have books read to him or her with iBooks and even browse the internet. It's amazing technology that hasn't been majorly integrated into all schools yet, which is disappointing. The video Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child is Learning on the iPad shows just how easy it is to learn how to use the VoiceOver program. As educators, we need to make sure no one is getting left out. If there's technology that makes learning easier and more fun, especially for students with disabilities, we need to implement them!

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

In the above video, Vicki Davis, a teacher in Georgia, shows us how she uses a virtual world to teach her students. Except she doesn't always do the teaching. What's beautiful is that she assigns her students to learn different things. Once that group of students has learned what they were assigned, they teach the rest of the class, including their teacher! She explains in the video that she had no idea how to terraform before her own students taught her how. Davis states that a lot of teacher think they have to know everything before they can teach it, which she says isn't the right attitude to have. We all learn new things every day, so it's impossible to know everything. Plus, how wonderful is it that our own students can teach us things we don't know how to do?

Davis also helped her students connect to other students and teachers all over the world with the Flat Classroom project. Students from all over the world collaborate and learn about the trends in technology. It really is amazing just how useful technology can be in the classroom. It can connect us with people all over the world, enabling us to not only form social links with those people, but we also get opportunities to learn about their cultures and their teaching methods. As a math teacher, I could have my students get in contact with other math students across the world and find out what methods their partners use to study and learn new material. For a struggling student, this could help him or her discover a new method of learning that they understand better!