Student Teaching — Week 6

This week I used the MOBI a lot during math class. The kids were teasing me a little bit and telling me how much I’ve improved since my first MOBI experience. The learning segment focused on graphing on a coordinate grid. It was very helpful because I should show the kids how to graph and walk around to make sure everyone was following along and had the correct graph. It was also nice to have the projector because the kids could walk up and plot a point for the entire class. They really enjoy getting to do this and using the Pointer of Power. I did run into a couple of snags because the second lesson didn’t have the journal pages uploaded the same way as the others so I had to use the PDF version instead of the webpage version. It showed the same thing so the kids could follow along, but it was set up differently so I wasn’t use to it and I didn’t know where some of the options were. I’m getting really used to the MOBI and I actually really enjoy using it. It’s very versatile because you can use it with any computer program and it allows you to move around the room. The document camera, of course, is easier to use and adapt to but it forces you to stay in one spot in the classroom. I have notice that the kids are very aware of that and sometimes the kids that are farthest from the doc cam stop following along. This week’s take away is:

Always practice/check the technology before using it in your lesson.


Student Teaching – Week 5

This week went really well. I got more practice with the MOBI. It can be really awkward to use but I think I’m getting the hang of it. This week my supervising teacher and I talked about technology preparation and transition time. She told me how I always need to be thinking 5 minutes ahead of myself, this includes pulling up all needed technology. Actually I should be thinking about what technology I need fro the entire subject, not just what I need for the next five minutes. She told me that the teacher needing to transition mid-subject can add just as much chaos as asking the students to transition mid-subject as well. This week during my social studies lesson, I started with a discussion and then towards the end of the discussion I realized I needed the document camera. This is an example of when thinking only 5 minutes ahead of yourself technology-wise proved to be unhelpful. I then had to continue the discussion while starting the document camera. Fortunately, I am familiar with how to set it up so I was able to do both at one time, but I’m sure it was still distracting to the kids. So my take away this week is:

Think far enough ahead so that you have all your technology pulled up or started BEFORE you start your lesson (or transitional period) to cut down on chaos, distractions, and confusion. 

Student Teaching — Week 4

I just finished my fourth week of student teaching. I have spent the last month getting settled in and comfortable with routines, students, and colleagues. I have noticed that all classrooms are equipped with three student desktops, one teacher desktop, a document camera, a projector, a VCR, and a microphone. There are four computer labs, one desktop computer lab, a desktop computer lab in the media center, a laptop computer lab in a vacant kindergarten room, and a mobile laptop cart that the entire school shares. The classroom I am in also has a MOBI. This allows the user to use and write on the computer screen from any where in the room. While the device can take some time to get used to, it is extremely useful in several situations. Our class uses it mostly in math class to check work and complete problems as a class. Students and teachers have access to materials and textbooks online and can access information and activities from any computer. This is very helpful when lesson planning and completing work as a class.

When I teach my lessons, I regularly use the document camera as well as the computer. I plan on incorporating the MOBI into more lessons as I get more comfortable using it. I also hope to talk with the computer lab teacher and the media center teacher about teaching some lessons on technology during their classes.

Book Critique

Recently, I read the book Instructional Technology and Media for Learning (2012) written by Sharon Smaldino, Deborah Lowther, James Russell, and Clif Mims. This book is intended to teach its readers how to incorporate technology into their classrooms using the ASSURE lesson plan model. It also includes example lesson plans, professional development opportunities, and technology selection rubrics.

This video goes into further explanation of the book:

If you pay any attention to my blog (even just looking at the name), you’ll notice I focus on technology integration into the classroom. That being said, I’m already pretty confident about how to do this, so while I was reading the book I found it slightly redundant. However, I do feel that it is an excellent read for someone who is just starting to integrate technology or is just looking to add a resource to their collection. This book covered the basics of integrating all sorts of technology into lessons. Since it covered all of the genres, it made it hard to really go into depth with any specific genre. The genres they cover are Web 2.0, Social Media, Audio, Video, Text, and Visuals.

To get a summary of the following post check out my Prezi presentation!

One of my favorite aspects of this book is all the resources they provide at the end of each chapter. Every chapter ends with professional development opportunities to demonstrate your professional learning and skills and develop a portfolio. Most chapters also give a sample lesson incorporating a technology tool following the ASSURE model and in the chapters that describe technology genre also provide a selection rubric to make sure you’re choosing the most effective tool to enhance your lesson.

One of the new things I learned from this text was the ASSURE lesson model. This stands for:

  • A – analyze learners
  • S – state standards and objectives
  • S – select strategies and resources
  • U – utilize resources
  • R – require learner participation
  • E – evaluate and revise

I liked how this model makes you think about the resources that may be useful in the lesson and gives you a chance to evaluate both the students and the lesson. This lesson plan would be a good idea to keep in mind, but it’s also worthwhile to keep the SAMR model in mind to make sure you’re really find a resource that can transform the lesson.

The book also covers ten different types of learning strategies and they are as follows:

  • Presentation
  • Demonstration
  • Drill-and-Practice
  • Tutorial
  • Discussion
  • Cooperative learning
  • Problem-based learning
  • Games
  • Simulations
  • Discovery

One thing I thought his book did really well was describing the advantages and limitations of the technology. This seemed to be a theme throughout the book and it was really nice to hear both sides of the story. So much of the time we only hear one side. It’s either how much good technology can do; how it gets students engaged and helps them learn in a way they are already familiar with. Or technology is hurting children and young adults because it’s affecting our social skills and basic knowledge of spelling, handwriting, etc. This book does a good job combining both sides of the argument.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was helpful in describing all the types of technology that could be brought into the classroom and pointing out both sides of technology. I think this is a great book to add to your library and if you want to buy or rent it you can find it on and read my review!


Smaldino, S., Lowther, D., Russell, J., & Mims, C. (2012). Instructional technology and media fro learning. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.

Virtual Tour of a Tech School

This video overviews how one elementary school has set up the technology in their school. This school does provides a nice example of how a class might incorporate technology at a 1-to-1 ratio and at a level similar to where most schools might be. Some of the classes are working independently on their iPads and going at their own pace (i.e. the third graders working on the Front Row app). Other classes were working together on one task (i.e. everyone working on the teacher-lead ISTEP practice). Some schools don’t have access to iPads for every student, but they might be able to incorporate technology into their class in other ways (i.e. the second graders working in the computer lab). This school shows technology at all three levels, but these three classes could be the way a whole school looks. I have found that incorporating any level technology helps the learning process when it is used effectively.

Day in a Life of a Tech Coach

Today I went on a job shadow with Susan Reynolds, the digital technology coach at Monroe County Community School Corporation (MSSCS). Ms. Reynolds is one of two tech coaches who travel around the 12 elementary school in Bloomington. She goes back and forth between the six Title 1 schools in the district. She’s only been a tech coach with MCCSC for three years and before she came here, she was a high school English teacher in Kokomo. She went to a small technology seminar at Ball State that changed her career. Since the audience was so small, she got to work closely with education technology experts and it inspired her to incorporate it into her classroom. Unfortunately, when she got back to her school there was a lot of push back from the administration to using technology in the school. Eventually, she got her students to do writing e-Portfolios and other online projects. They were so successful in her class, the same administration that was originally against it, asked her to train other teachers to do the same thing. She said she doesn’t really know when she became a tech coach because it was just a gradual change in her career. She only came to Bloomington for a change of scenery.

I met her at Arlington Heights Elementary at 11:45. At Arlington, the teachers all have iPads, grades K through 2 have enough iPads to work in small groups and grades 3 through 6 are a one-to-one iPads. The younger grades should be getting one-to-one iPads in the next year or two. Ms. Reynolds told me the teachers generally think it’s a good thing, but there are some teachers who don’t use the iPads effectively. As the tech coach, she does not solve technical problems, but will help with small problems that can be solved with a quick Google search or phone call. Ms. Reynolds also has to deal a lot with apps and getting students to locate them quickly because it can take the students a lot of time to find the right app or iPad website. To solve this problem, she created a website that compiles all of the iPad friendly sites and all of the apps she uses on to one website called iPad-Friendly K-6 Sites. This website is very convenient to start class and get all of the students on the same page.

ipad friendly

In the three and a half hours I was there, Ms. Reynolds worked with two classes every Thursday, one 3rd grade class and one 2nd grade class. In the 3rd grade class, she does iPad work since they all have their own. Today they worked on ISTEP practice problems (the website can be found on Ms. Reynold’s websites). Apparently, the ISTEP test will also have an iPad format, but they want to give the students a chance to practice with the tools so that won’t have too much of an affect their test scores. They modeled one reading comprehension question. Ms. Reynolds read an article about geocaching and as she did this she demonstrated the tools the students would have access to, which were a bookmark, highlighter, and eraser. During this time, the classroom teacher co-taught with Ms. Reynolds.

front rowAfter they finished this question, they worked on Front Row math. Each student worked independently on their math problems. This app automatically differentiates the math problems based on the students’ ability level. Today they were working on base ten numbers. This app also has manipulatives the students can use, such as number lines and base ten blocks. I walked around while the students were doing this to ask how they liked doing this. All of the students said they like this method of doing math much better than paper and pencil. This sort of made me laugh because doing the problems is literally the exact same as working them out on paper, but the students just love using their iPads. They were telling me all about how they solve the problems using the white board and they can earn coins every time they get a problem right. The students can use those coins to buy items to dress their pig up. One little girl was telling me that she is saving up for a white dress for her pig. This immediate reward seems like it really motivates the students to keep working. A boy I talked to talk me he was blowing through some problems and that he was really good at it because sometimes he just works on it at home. It was really awesome to hear that the students enjoyed the app so much they wanted to do math at home without it being assigned.

big universeThe second class I sat in on was a 2nd grade class. They worked in the computer lab because they don’t all have iPads. Ms. Reynolds told me a good chunk of the beginning of class would be spent trying to get the students logged on since they don’t all know their usernames and passwords. This was true and even with three adults in the room, I still had to help about six of the 21 students log on. I will definitely remember this for the future and make sure I account for time to get all of the younger students on the same page. For the majority of the class the students played Big Universe.  Everyone seemed to love it and they really enjoyed the read aloud books. We ran out of time to do the colARaugmented reality Ms. Reynolds wanted to do. So instead of getting to color the worksheet, she just skipped straight to the augmented reality app called colAR. This app allows you to print out a worksheets for the students to color and then it will animate the picture and make it come to life. The 2nd graders absolutely loved thisprogram. They kept trying to touch the animation, which unfortunately, stopped it. It would probably have worked better if they all had to stay in their seats, but it was nice to see the students so interested.

At the end of the job shadow, I helped Ms. Reynolds copy two songs from a CD onto the shared drive for the Veteran’s Day celebration. She hadn’t done it in a while and asked if I knew how to do it, then she let me try. I stumbled through it, but eventually figured it out. She was impressed by how easy it was and asked me to create a job aid for it. She then emailed it to Karen Bennett who originally asked for the songs to be put into the shared drive.

One of the concerns I’ve noticed repeatedly coming up in my IU class is — what options are available to students who don’t have Wi-Fi at home but need to work on online assignments. Ms. Reynolds told me there was a grant at Fairview Elementary that allowed students to take home a hotspot for six weeks. Unfortunately, this grant has been suspended because they found out there is no way to filter what the students are looking at with the hotspot at home and part of the grant required the information the students were looking at and searching for was filtered to be school appropriate. She also told me that students who didn’t have Wi-Fi could download all of the assignments and course work to the iPad so it could be worked on offline. I thought these were good solutions for the time being.

This was the first time I really got to see a tech coach in action. I learned that for the younger grades it can be kind of difficult to be more than a computer lab teacher. It takes so long to get them all set up because you almost have to do every students individually. I also realized that sometimes you have to do easy tasks for people because they don’t want to take the time to find out the answer themselves. However, I would much rather be a tech coach than a technician because tech coaches actually get to work with students as opposed to updating iPads the majority of the day. I really enjoyed this job shadow and felt like I learned a lot more about what a day in the life of a tech coach.

After seeing how much these students enjoyed using the iPads and computers, I really feel technology is a benefit to the classroom. The students were excited to do math and read. They also told me they would work on it at home without the teacher assigning it. It was great to see how engaged the students were in a real life situation and not just a promo video of a certain app. This has definitely inspired me to continue down the technology path because the students really want to work on the task at hand a stay on task. Even with the ISTEP practice the students kept asking if they could work ahead. I’ve never heard about that with any standardized testing. Usually the students can’t wait to stop. It was refreshing to see students that wanted to do their school work and were working really hard on it.

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Framework Debates

As technology become more popular in the world of education, new models are emerging for how to integrate the technology into lessons. Two of the most popular models are Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) and the SAMR model. TPACK explains the combination of content knowledge, pedagogy knowledge, and technology knowledge. The sweet spot of this model is called the TPACK. For more information check out this website.

My favorite model, however, is the SAMR model. This stands for Substitute, Augment, Modify, and Redesign. As you move up the ladder, the use of technology gets more advanced. In the first level, the technology merely replaces the activity without changing it. The second level is the same activity but the technology does provide some improvement. For example, using Microsoft word to write a paper would be a substitute for writing the paper with pen and paper. It augments the activity when the student uses the editing tools available on Microsoft word. Both of these phases fall under the enhancement part of the model, but in order to reach the transformation aspect of the model, the tool must modify or redesign the activity.

At the third level of the SAMR model, the technology is expected to redesign the activity and in the fourth level the technology should create an activity that wouldn’t be possible without the technology. For example, using email would allow for collaboration with other classmates and peers with internet access to modify the activity, but using Skype would allow the class to collaborate with peers and experts on the topic they’ve been working on.

The SAMR model is my favorite because it really makes you think about how the technology is changing the activity. When a teacher uses the TPACK model they aren’t pushed to redesign the activity. In order to be an effective teacher with TPACK, you only have to know how to use the technology. I think the most valuable part of the SAMR model is thinking how you can increase the use of technology to continue pushing the activity further up the SAMR ladder. I feel that a lot of teachers think of a technology to use in the class, but don’t necessarily think about how the technology is effecting the activity. Teachers are probably only thinking about the technology’s efficiency and not thinking about how much further they could push the envelope in order to get their students to achieve something completely different.

Plenty of teachers would think to have students use email to talk to an expert about a research topic, but the project could be taken so much further if the students had to interview the expert using Google Hangout or Skype. Having a real time conversation would give students a chance to go off script and ask questions they didn’t initially come up with. I have also noticed the interviewee is more willing to expand on their answers when they are just talking. Typing out all of their answers seems to inadvertently limit responses because fingers type slower than our mouth can talk and the interviewee is aware of how much they are type as opposed to how much they are saying.

All in all, both are good models to refer to, but I feel the SAMR model really pushes the teacher to expand the activity with technology and not just replace it.

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