I hope that Isaac was kind to your piece of land this week. We needed the rain but Isaac failed to deliver much to us in Kentucky. We wait. For my family and friends in Louisiana ~ I've been on pins and needles waiting to hear the stories of devastation and destruction yet once again. I am praying that the cleanup is not tangled up in a tangle of bureaucracy this time around.
Wow! This has been a jam-packed week filled with technological tensions. There was much work to get done. Finally I saw the end of the tunnel and may actually be able to sit back and enjoy a burger and fries for the final holiday of summer with family and friends. I'm excited about the prospect.
Our week began with the introduction of spreadsheets and databases. Although I've had technical training in both it has been years. Yikes. I was behind the curve ball in what I thought I knew causing me to procrastinate way too much. Spreadsheets have a lot of wonderful uses and applications in the classroom that make them a very practical solution for educators everywhere. One website I found interesting was: http://www.ehow.com/info_7915579_nteq-traditional-classroom-differences.html. It was so easy to read and understand and offered basic ideas most any teacher can use. I can use spreadsheets to track attendance, keep track of grades, to conduct classroom and student inventories, and to track student's work and progress among other things. Spreadsheets offer me the flexibility to compute large amounts of data, formulate complicated calculations that are time consuming and track data with charts and graphs. I was surprised to find the versatility in using spreadsheets for problem solving strategies. Students can use the computer to research, organize, information and generate and present solutions to problems. This allows students the chance to ditch the passive role of just sitting and taking notes as the teacher wastes time at a chalkboard and replace it with interactively engage in the process. I have not used spreadsheets in my role as an educator in the past. I have never used spreadsheets with students to enhance learning but plan to so in the future. Databases allow me a lot of flexibility in keeping track of student information, parent information, and other records that I want to keep confidential and have at my fingertips. They are especially useful when I want to get the same information to all students. Databases make it easy for me to track information alphabetically and by any other sort category that I so choose.
Among other things we covered this technologically filled week were the benefits of desktop publishing which is one of my all time favorite software tools. I use Microsoft Publisher for almost everything. The other thing we learned was how useful word processing software packages can be for teachers and students. Word processing makes it easy to produce a letter, a report, book reports, poems, etc. Much of the formatting is already done for you which students love.
Our week ended with us learning about the multiple uses of Wikis. I remember Wikis being such a foreign concept only a few years ago in one of my online college classes. Today, in contrast, they are so common place and with good reason. They have a multitude of uses and have benefits that outweigh the cumbersome task of creating an entire web page or website. I love their flexibility and ease of use. I also like their versatility with options to upload videos, photos, charts, etc. I will be putting Wikis to use in my classroom for sure.
I would be remiss not to take note of the websites that we visited for technology exploration. A tool that is still Greek to me is the idea of concept mapping. I am going to have to dedicate some time in my schedule probably with the help of my 15 year old to get more acquainted with the overall idea so that I can find more practical uses for the software. There are so many free mapping programs out there. I was amazed at the quality, flexibility, design, and overall details in the those programs. The one I liked best was the www.thinkbuzan.com website which offered three dimensional mapping. I cannot wait to learn more about this concept. Finally, the one thing that I will take away from my evaluations are the wonderful video building programs that feature student's work. This has to be one of the absolutely best tools available for educators.
I hope that you have enjoyed my quick trip through week two of my masters class in technology. See me about specific details and to learn more about each of the projects mentioned in my blog. Let's chat.
Have an awesome day. Peace and blessings,
All Rights Reserved ©, Please Request Permission To Duplicate. Belinda Harrett, University of the Cumberlands.