Saturday, May 11, 2013

The 21st Century Classroom

When it comes to my classroom I'm not going to be too worried about the colors that the walls are or that the floor is.  What ever the school gives me I'm okay with.  Though studies have shown that the best colors for students would be blues and yellows.  The blues have been shown to make the student feel more calm and relaxed and not as nervous.  The yellows bring out the creativity of the student and stimulates their intellect.

Website to make classroom

I plan on becoming a special education teacher some day so my ideal classroom would have only a handful of students so that I would be able to spend more one on one time with them and really get an idea of what they need help with and what their strengths are.  I think with less students in the classroom it makes it easier for them to learn.  Also I believe that they will feel more free to ask questions and not thing that someone else is going to thing that it's a dumb question.  It reduces the anxiety factor that being in a b=large group can make.

I used tables rather than desks because I believe that it makes it easier for the kids to work together and collaborate with one another.  They can freely share their ideas with the other people at the table.  It's important to teach them how to be part of something bigger than just themselves and work cohesively with others.  It will make sure they are connected with other students.

I planned on using the interactive whiteboards frequently with the students since there are activities and games on there that could be used for multiple class subjects.  I would also like to utilize iPads in my classroom to also give the kids another way of learning.  They can use the iPads to look things up on the internet or to play school related games giving them a more pleasurable way of learning.  I think it's important to promote the use of technology in learning because today it's hard to get by if you're technologically dense.

As a special education teacher I will always have to keep growing as a learner.  I will have to remain educated in all of the subjects that the kids will be in, to do so I'm going to have to sit through the same classes that they sit through and basically do all of the work they do and make sure I know how to explain things in a way that they can understand.

As a teacher I can only do so much to help the students with their work and to help them succeed.  I plan on making it a priority that their parents know what they are doing in the classroom whether it's sending home biweekly report or meeting them with open house meetings.  Also if the child is struggling I would call home to discuss what we could do to help that student.  I also believe that it's important to talk to people of the community about what the kids should be learning.  They are the ones hiring the kids when they come out of school and they sometimes can provide another viewpoint on what kids might be missing and some things that they need to learn.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Digital Citizenship (Mid-Level 6-8)

What is digital citizenship and how does it affect you as a teacher?  The whole concept of digital citizenship sounds more complicated than it really is.  Basically it's teaching people how to use and utilize technology and the online world without overstepping your boundaries and breaking any rules.  It's the responsible behavior that one needs to have when online.

"Your online reputation is just as good as your normal reputation.  How you act online is important"(Dunn).

Complications with digital citizenship have been a problem.  Students are influenced both in school and outside of school.  Parents are a big part of teaching kids what is good and bad in the online realm.  Kids do not spend all of their time in school and chances are they start learning how to use technology before they even start school so parents play a very key role.

Works Cited

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Learning to Unlearn"

Teachers today need to realize that they are learners first.  Learning is a huge part of the job.  With our learning we are able to make learning happen with our students.  We need to get in touch with our inner child, that child inside us that does not overcomplicate things and that sees things for what they are rather than focusing on the problems before them.  Once you get through school your learning is not over, because realistically it is impossible to live in this world and not learn.

So do you really have to unlearn in order to be an effective teacher.  In a sense, yes you do.  You need to be able to put yourself in the students shoes.  If they are having a tough time with an assignment then, you need to take into consideration what is going on in their head.  You may need to ignore what you know about the subject and maybe teach yourself another way to figure it out that may help the student.  You can't always teach in the same way and you are going to have to try new things, new teaching methods.  "Try it out and see if it works" is the mindset that you will need to have.

Unlearning is not the easiest thing in the world to accomplish.  Especially when everyone has expectations that the teachers job is to teach and a students job is to learn.  That is what's expected from teachers.  I believe that if the teacher has refused to continue their learning then they have already failed their students.  Part of the reason that I wanted to get involved in special education is the fact that I enjoy learning and this profession will force me to do so.  I will be forced to dabble in every subject and i'll need to be able to help the students with whatever they are working on for the day.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Interactive Whiteboard's in Today's Classroom

The iterative whiteboard is the the new toy that many people believe children are going to need in order the twenty-first century classroom.  Is the IWB really as good as advertised, or are there better things that you could spend your money on instead.  Obviously the answer of that depends on who you're asking.

If you were to ask a teacher they would probably agree that the new technological whiteboard is extremely important for their classrooms. It allows them to have less work than before.  Rather than writing their lesson over and over they can save it and use it as a template for all of their classes.  They can easily share things with their colleagues.  It allows them to display videos making their job easier.  There may be activities that you can access that will help differentiate inside the classroom, but does that mean the teacher will be smart enough to use that?  So what about the student?

The student may be the one suffering if anyone does.  With these boards you start to lose the student's interaction with the teacher.  You lose the "teacher talks, students listen" part of the classroom.  It's easier for a child to stay focused when it's a person talking than when it is a video of a person talking.  Also what happens if the user has little knowledge of how to use the board.  This results in the student's time being wasted and a lack of knowledge being learned.  

There are also other problems that can occur.  With most of these boards you can only have one user writing on it at once.  With old whiteboards you could have relay activities, and group activities on the board.  Now you can't can only have one student be interacting with it at a time.  Writing on the board can also be difficult at least compared to the marker boards that nobody could really screw it up.  In my opinion there are supplies that schools should be focusing on more than this expensive board.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"Twitter and Me"

Twitter in the classroom can be a fun way to learn the curriculum. This past assignment has showed me that twitter can be used for more than just telling people how your day was, or what they saw. Who knew that important things could actually be tweeted too? I enjoy this because it's the first time I've gotten to use technology like twitter. We never got to experiment with things like this in high school and it's a cool new experience.  

It can be used to discuss amongst the class about the material that you are teaching.  You can administrate assignments to all of your students by just tweeting to your students.  

There are also downsides that come with using twitter.  First off not everyone has a twitter and I'm sure there are some people that are unwilling to get one.  When you post something to do on twitter you are trusting your students to log onto their twitter account and to participate.  That may not be that easy so in many ways it would be better to just hand out an assignment and then maybe just use twitter from time to time.  Perhaps use it primarily as an extra credit activity rather than something mandatory. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

All About Me

Who am I? Well my name is Justin Howes.  I'm 18 years old and am in my freshman year here at Edinboro.  I'm a kid from a small town in Western New York called Barker,  about three hours from Edinboro.  I'm a big fan of watching professional sports, primary basketball.  I'm a huge New York Knicks fan.  I'm studying for my degree in Special Education, hoping to return to teach at my my former high school at some point.

Technology when used correctly can be very beneficial to the learning process.  It obviously helps if the teacher actually knows what they are doing when using the technology.  As far as technology goes for teaching it depends on the style of the teacher.  Some teachers perform better with the technical aid, while others are much better suited to do some things the old fashion way.  Both ways can be effective since it's not the technology that makes the teacher, it's the teacher that makes the teacher.

I believe that every teacher can teach in his or her own way.  You'll have great teachers that can't do a thing with even the most basic of electronics.  You'll also have teachers that can do amazing things with electronics, but can't teach to for the life of them.  With that said I believe all teachers need to learn the basics of technology.  It's hard to imagine how things would run if a teacher refused to use a computer for basic things like attendance, grade keeping, and lesson planning.  It would also be hard if they didn't know how to use a copy machine, or didn't utilize something as simple as a marker board.  Some things every teacher has to know how to do.  They should all get the chance to utilize technology if that's something they want and if they are refused they should fight to obtain the technology that could enhance their teaching.