Thursday, September 10, 2015

Post-First Day of School!

Yesterday was my first day of my real Senior year of University!!! (Next fall I should be student teaching!!!!!!!!!!!!) Yes, it deserves that many exclamation points.

My first class is Economic Development, it doesn't seem like it will be as painful and Intro to Econ. The coolest part about the class is that there is no textbook or coursepack to buy and the articles are short and he won't assign us more than 4 articles (for a total of 20 pages or less) ever! 

When I came out of the building after class, I found Dr. J eating her lunch! 

I will most likely be updating the blog more frequently this semester because my second class is Educational Media and Technology. So far, my Prof is really awesome. (Yes, I've only been to one class, but I just have a gut feeling that this class is going to Rock!)

Like many classes, we had to go around the room and say our name and Major, but he also had us rate our comfort/knowledge level with media and technology (on a scale of 1-10 with ten being not comfortable at all and 10 being Bill Gates is on your Speed Dial). I didn't want to come off too cocky, and I know that their is still quite a lot that I don't know (and in some cases don't want to know) about computers, technology, and social media, so I said 9 3/4. (HP reference FTW!)

Our first assignment was to check out this list of useful tools and apps educators should be aware of and list 5 that we were familiar with and if/why we would recommend them to our colleagues, and list 5 we were interested in learning more about.  Being the Geek that I am, I also included a list of my 5 favorite apps/tools that were not on the list.

I am quite familiar with these 5 Tools
  1. Skype - I have mostly used it to visit with my sister, bro-in-law, and nephews who live very far away. However, I have also participated in Author Interviews with YA authors in an EMU class, and a few nerdy Q&A Sessions. I would definitely use it Skype for similar applications in the classroom.
  2. Pinterest - I love using Pinterest to create Lesson Toolkits. I start a board on a specific topic and use it to collect resources, lesson ideas, books, and manipulative ideas on that topic. It is also a great place to find clever craft projects, icebreaker activities, and brain breaks in a pinch.
  3. Wordle - Wordle is fun, but it is a Java-based toy and doesn't work in Chrome, which is my preferred Browser. It currently works in Firefox, but I wonder how long it will still be a viable tool. 
  4. QR Codes - I love using QR Codes to take people exactly where you want them to go online. It is really helpful with people who aren't overly tech-savvy, or who have a hard time typing in a long url - they do have to use a smartphone or tablet with a QR Reader installed. Last February, I substitute taught in a Kindergarten classroom where the students had a Tablet Center, in a pocket of the Tablet cases each kid pulled out a ring with a bunch of cards on it. Each card had a picture and a QR Code on it, the kids picked one out, scanned the QR Code and were taken to an activity that correlated to the picture on the card.
  5. YouTube - Many schools don't allow YouTube anymore, but, YouTube has a fairly new App out called YouTube Kids which eliminates many of the reasons YouTube isn't allowed in schools - foul language, inappropriate advertisements, age-inappropriate material, etc. The YouTube Kids Reading Rainbow Channel is AMAZING and features some really awesome STEM videos in addition to READING-focused media.

5 Tools I Would Like to Explore
  1. Prezi - I tried to figure out Prezi on my own after seeing someone use it in a class presentation, but I found it bulky, weird, and not overly user-friendly (it was super-new at the time) I would love to know how to really use it!
  2. TED-Ed - I <3 TEDtalks. Especially the education-relevant ones. I have found some great resources through TED programming, and I look forward to exploring TED-Ed!
  3. LiveBinders - This tool looks like a handy object for my toolbox.
  4. SocialStudy - Maybe the name of this just appeals to the Social Studies Major in me, but I'm intrigued by this site I've never heard of before!  OOPS! So, I apparently typo-ed the name of this site, and I based my comment on the name. I think it was wishful thinking. The real Site is: OpenStudy. Which does look interesting, but not in the same way!
  5. KhanAcademy - I've heard a lot about this, and while it brings a certain Star Trek baddie to mind, I am curious as to whether this site lives up to the hype.

My 5 Favorite Digital Tools Not On This List
  1. SMILE - Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment (SMILE) is basically an assessment/inquiry maker which allows students to quickly create own inquiries or homework items based on their own learning for the day. It is a really awesome and quite simple tool that helps engage students in their education and develop critical-thinking skills. It is also an awesome tool for gauging what students have learned from a lesson, or what prior knowledge they have on a new subject. (More info) (Links to an external site.)
  2. GoNoodle This site is filled to the brim with digital tools specifically aimed at getting kids physically active! You can use much of the site for free, or you can get a paid membership as an individual or as a school. It is lovely for silly brain breaks!
  3. Project Gutenburg Children's Bookshelf Free digital downloads of Children's Literature - most of it is fairly old, but it provides some great primary sources for exploration!
  4. Vimeo A video publishing and viewing site not unlike YouTube, however, Vimeo is less likely to yank your video as "suspected copyright infringement" and allows for more educational purposes. (It is usually not blocked by schools!)  It also features a huge Creative Commons library of music and media for use in your videos, much of the music is free to download! You do need an account, but the Basic account is free.
  5. Album Meme Okay, blatant self-promotion here. While this isn't a fancy tool, it is an "exploring the internet" activity that can lead to as much creative writing as you wish to assign. 

My Next assignment will most likely show up here in some format - I have to make a Power Point Presentation. :( Blech! I hate PPP!

Next up is Teaching Math for Elementary Teachers.  I failed this class last semester. (Long story that you don't want to hear.) Anyway, I'm taking it with a different Prof and she seems pretty nice, and her assignments look less complicated. She started us off with a fun worksheet. Yes, I said "fun" and "worksheet" in reference to Math!!! Crazy! I have recreated it for you since I wrote all over my copy.

My final class of the day is Life Science for Elementary Teachers.  We will cover some of my favorite science topics in this class!!! And I have friends in this class! My prof seems about my age, maybe a few years older than me, which is usually not a problem for me. We started out collecting specimens yesterday - and discussed the characteristics of something that is alive! There are lots of stuffed animals and beanie babies in the classroom though. 

I'm really looking forward to this semester! I think it will be a good one! 

No comments:

Post a Comment