Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 4

As we worked on creating a Science lesson using technology, we tried to focus our content on Astronomy, particularly the Moon's phases. We did so by using the technology of the computer program Stellarium. This technology provides some kids with an opportunity to look at the moon in a whole new way. From a pedagogical standpoint, the teacher will be playing the role of a supervisor. The students are in charge of their learning experience because they will be working independently on the assignment and researching on their own. The teacher is there to help with any questions and to encourage the class as a whole.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tech Savvy Teacher

Dear fellow administrators and teachers, welcome to Tech Savy teacher! Recently in my classroom, I planned an activity for my 6th grade class that was convenient and easy for both the students and myself. My class explored the phases of the moon using a program called Stellarium. The learning objective for this activity can be found on the Utah Core Curriculum website under the category of Science. It is found in standard 1, objective 2.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Stellarium, I will explain what this program is and how to utilize it in your classroom. Stellarium is a scientific program used to explore the various parts of the solar system. For this particular assignment, the students observed the phases of the moon, which take place over the course of a month. However, depending on your particular solar system course objective, you could use this program to explore the planets, constellations and their corresponding zodiac signs.

The posted pictures provide clear illustrations as to the steps I will explain. To locate an object, in this case the moon, you click on the small bottom box entitled, "Search for Object." A display box will pop up as shown. Once the object is located, by pressing "Shift" and "Page up" on the keyboard the program will zoom in on the object. At this point you must click on the "Configuration" display box. After clicking the Date & Time tab the date can be adjusted to a desired time. This allows for students to easily see the moon over the course of the month. (Examples are displayed) If students desire they can change the location in the "Configuration" display box and study the moon from other views.

This program is beneficial to teachers and students alike. One advantage of this program is that it is time efficient. Rather than assigning your students to go out every night, draw the moon and record their observations, this program enables them to perform the same task in a fraction of the time. The students are able to scroll through each day of the month and have the ability to see all of the phases of the moon in a matter of minutes. Not only is this program time efficient, but it also helps students to get more excited about the content they learn. Observing the moon every single night could prove to be a mundane task for the students, thus, this program keeps their attention, helps them to focus. It also provides an opportunity to for all to see the moon regardless of weather or community. An additional benefit that this program provides is helping students to view the phases of the moon in different locations around the world. A final advantage is that it makes the process of moon exploration more personal to the student.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Psychology Observational Learning

Last Sunday was my ward’s Ward Conference. We had the opportunity to hear from our Stake and Ward Leaders in Relief Society, Sunday School and Sacrament. I took this opportunity to pay close attention to how they taught. I paid particularly close attention to the Stake President as he taught during Relief Society.

I noticed how he incorporated many different styles of teaching into his lesson to keep the attention of the class and try to reach everyone on some level. He shared personal stories which captured everyone’s attention and also had a few different people prepare a few thoughts to share. This was a smart tool that prevented the class from getting bored just listening to him speak the whole time.

Another great, unique tool he used in his lesson was music. From time to time in church lessons people will play a CD or recite lyrics, but our Stake President actually sang a song for us. To have him teach us in both spoken word and song was a great tool to allow us to all get something out of his lesson. Particularly in the gospel, there is a unique quality that music has to convey messages that spoken words sometimes cannot.

He also did a great job of showing a genuine love for the class. Even though he did not know each of us by name or on a personal level, he still asked us our names when we commented and made it a point to respond respectfully to each comment shared. This class involvement is always a great tool for teachers to use as well. It allows others to share their insights and share a thought that perhaps the teacher had not even thought of. It includes the students in the learning process which is what every teacher should strive for. I hope that when I am in charge of my own classroom I am able to use these multiple methods of teaching to create a meaningful lesson for my students. I enjoyed this experience. It provided me the opportunity to look at my teachers more closely and pick out different techniques that may be helpful to me in my future teaching.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 3

Today we learned about the concept of TPACK. I had never heard of it before, but essentially it is a culmination of different types of knowledge we gain in different areas. TPACK is the all encompassing group which stands for Technological Pedagogical And Content Knowledge. This means that a person is well rounded in knowledge in all of these fields. Technological Knowledge is understanding how to use various types of technologies. Pedagogical Knowledge is general knowledge and skills as they relate to teaching. Content Knowledge is an understanding in a particular set of skills or concepts. As a future teacher I am glad I understand this concept. Knowing this will help me become a more well-rounded teacher because I will try to incorporate all of these different groups into my teaching.

We also had the opportunity to explore different science/math technologies that can be used in the classroom. I thought the cooolest one was the thermometers that plugged right into the computer. It can be a great tool to use in the classroom when a project requires readings for different temperatures. It was even fun for us adults to use, so I'm sure that kids would have a blast.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 2

This last class was great because I was able to learn all sorts of new technological things! I had never heard of Web 1.0 let alone Web 2.0 before this class but now I actually know what it is. But I have found that all of the tools we talked about will be great resources when we begin teaching. Another techno term I learned was RSS. I had heard it before but now I actually know how it works. It is great to have a couple of RSS feeds in my own blog and I have even gotten some information from them. We will have to see what Week 3 has in store.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 1

Today we made a blog. This is my first blog ever. I am going to try to keep the number of people who know about this blog to a minimum. But maybe after I get really good at blogging I will make it public. Today in class we learned a lot of crazy statistics. I learned how much technology changes over time and how many Chinese people there are. It will be great to learn how to do all of these technological things. I am not too great at technology but I can do pretty basic tasks. Hopefully by the end of the class I will know how to do all kinds of technology.