UDL, Technology and Education

This voicethread tells about Universal Design for Learning. Universal Design for Learning is a way to support all learners, including special-needs learners. Technology is very helpful in this process, but it is not a substitute for Universal Design for Learning.



How to Use Digital Comic Strips Made With Bubblr

Bubblr is a free Web 2.0 tool. The teacher can use this tool to create examples of the desired skill for the students. Teachers can then have students “recycle” the comic strips making changes of their own. Teachers can then make some comic strips where they give a partial sentence for the student to finish. As the students gain confidence in this skill, the teacher can make comic strips with no captions, and the student would create their own captions. As a challenge activity, a teacher could have students come up with their own pictures and make their own sentences. the teacher can pair up students to work collaboratively on these comic strips. As a culminating activity, the students would each have a turn to share what they have produced. This allows them to practice their speaking skills, with the support of having the sentences already written and illustrated.
This lesson incorporates the following Common Core Standards:
CCSL 2.6-Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
CCW 2.6-With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
It also incorporates the AASL Standard:
AASL 1.1.9-Collaborate with others to broaden and deepen understanding.

Here is a link to my Screencast, showing how I would do this.

Educator Blogs

Blogs can be a great way to make information available to anyone who has internet access. This promotes exchanges of ideas that can enhance one’s own teaching. It can also give teachers a chance to show what they do. They can also give you a means to access professional development opportunities, many times at no cost and on your own schedule.

The first blog that I looked at is called, “Teacher Reboot Camp.” This blog is written by Shelly Terrell. She offers free resources, professional development opportunities and reflections on education. This blog has tabs for Survival Tips for Digital Storytelling, Teaching with Technology and Lesson Planning to name a few. Shelly Terrell’s mission statement is “Let’s collaborate on strategies for engaging all our students through effective instructional methods and technology.”

I clicked on the tab for Survival Tips for Teaching with Technology in Classes. She talks about her experiences with integrating technology into the classroom early on, using things like an overhead projector, cassette recorders, large video cameras, etc…and has continued to incorporate new technology along the way. She attempts to make learning fun as well as relevant as a way to inspire her students to become lifelong learners. Shelley acknowledges that many teachers have not had the exposure or training in technology to be comfortable using it in the classroom. She gives tips, links to tips, encourages collaboration among educational professionals through such means as social media.

The other post that I read in this blog is called, “Byte-sized Potential: Can Compassion & Citizenship Go Viral?”. In this post, she talks about the power of the potential that students and professionals have to impact the world through platforms such as social media. She brings up the need for students to be taught and made aware of digital citizenship. We also need to help them understand and appreciate their unprecedented access to knowledge.

While reading the “Byte-sized Potential: Can Compassion & Citizenship Go Viral?” post, I found myself thinking about the readings and discussions that we have done for this class on this very subject. The articles, “Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship” and “Digital Citizenship-Addressing Appropriate Technology Behavior”, both talk about the need for teaching digital etiquette, appropriate social interaction with technology and a basic respect for each person’s work.

The second blog that I looked at is called, “Blogging About The Web 2.0 Connected Classroom, A Blend of Technology and Education,” written by Steven Anderson. He is an educator, speaker, blogger and a Dad from Winston-Salem, NC. He is experienced in integrating technology and education.

One of the pages on this blog has Sample Social Media Guidelines that can be tweaked to fit your school district. He will also do custom workshops and professional development for your school, organization or group. He posts blogs about various situations in classrooms and how technology/other methods can help improve instruction.

The first post that I read on this page is called, “Why Formative Assessments Matter.” In this post he shows how he was teaching a unit on the Periodic Table using “old-school teaching methods”. It wasn’t until the end of the week when he finally gave a summative assessment and realized that no one had gotten it. He had to make a change in the way he was doing things and found that formative assessments helped him more quickly assess how things were going and make changes as needed sooner rather than later. He gives some basic non-tech ways to do formative assessments, such as using sticky notes that students write a summary of what they learned, or just one word like understand/confused. He then goes on to show how you could also do similar things with technology such as virtual sticky notes or a real-time feedback program.

The second post I read was, “Why Twitter Chats Matter.” These chats are participated in by educators from all over. Using this format allows you to come in contact with people who you might never have the chance to actually meet in person. You get to exchange ideas and how they might or might not work in your situation. You can bounce ideas around, find new resources and then create an action plan to use what you have learned. They become a chance to further your learning.

The third blog that I found is called, “Lisa Nielsen-The Innovative Educator“.  Lisa is an educator that found school to be boring and meaningless. Her goal is to change that. She is an author and a speaker as well as a Public School Educator and Administrator.

The first post that I read is called, “Digital Media to Meet the Uncommon Core During Visits to Museums and other Cultural Institutions.” This article suggests ways to use technology to interact with displays at museums and other cultural institutions. There will often be QR Codes which can be read by those that have smartphones with the app for this. You could also capture the highlights with something such as Animoto and then post it on your blog. this would allow parents at least a glimpse of the trip that their child has taken. You could use something such as Storykit to have your class write about their experiences and what they learned. The Common Core aims to make technology a seamless part of everything we do.

The second post that I read is called, “Using Cell Phones to Support Student Engagement & Achievement in Speaking and Listening.” Nielsen makes the point that cell phones can be used in a positive way in the classroom and can actually better engage students, leading to better achievement. They can be used with Google Voice to create oral reports. It can help create a “transcript” of how a student is reading, which can be shared as needed with those making educational decisions. Video and text talk are also helpful in assessing what the student has learned and how they are processing the information.

Lisa’s main point is to use the tools that we already have and use them to teach more effectively.

Reading and writing about these blogs has given me a glimpse into various educators around the country and a chance to see how they do things. It really is important to learn from each other. Blogs are a great way to share this information with other educators, the students and the parents. It can help keep everyone connected.

When I get to be a school librarian, I want to incorporate blogging in a way that shares what I know and allows my colleagues to share what they know. I also want it to be a useful resource for students and parents as well. Hopefully, there would be a communal sharing of ideas and information.

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Librarian Blogs

For this assignment, I first looked at the blogs that were in the suggested links for librarians. I found two that I liked this way. I also did a search for other library blogs. It took me awhile to find one that I liked and could learn from.

I was looking for blogs that would share ideas of how to use technology, how to hook kids into reading and practical ways of doing this in a school library setting.

The first blog that I looked at is A Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet. This blog has many links that would be of interest to both librarians and teachers. They are organized by tabs such as Links for Authors, ESL, Free!, Grades K-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Graphics, History, Infographics, Language Arts, New Teachers, PE and Health, Reference, Science, Teacher-Librarians, WEB 2.0 Tools and World Languages. The author’s name is Julie Greller and she works at Ridgefield Park JSHS in New Jersey.

One post that I found really helpful is “Unfamiliar with EdTech Terminology? Try a Cheat Sheet“. She has definitions of educational technology terminology. She also includes directions for getting started with it. It even includes Pros/Cons of each technology. I think something like this would be very beneficial in a library blog that would have educators and parents reading it. I understand some of the technology better than I did after reading through it.

Another post on this website that had good information is “Bookshare Offers Assistance to Students with Disabilities“. This post describes a service that provides online digital books to people with print disabilities. It allows for text-to-speech options, reading books in braille or reading them in large print. I found it interesting that this can happen only because of an exception in U.S. Copyright Law that allows copyrighted books to be made available digitally to people with disabilities. This would be very helpful for anyone working with students that have visual impairment/severe dyslexia or other qualifying disabilities.

Along with the posts that I have mentioned above, each of the tabs has many links to other valuable resources, which can save a lot of research time that you can put into other things that need to be planned for the library lesson.

The second blog that I looked at is called ” The Unpretentious Librarian“. The author of this blog is Sue Fitzgerald, a secondary school librarian at Pike Middle School in Texas. This blog has ways to use technology in the library interspersed throughout the posts. These are things they have actually tried and then she writes about the Pros/Cons of them. As I read these posts, I could see myself trying some of these ideas. One of the tabs on her website is “favorite books” and it brings up a list of books that are linked to Goodreads, where you can then see reviews of them.

The first post in this blog that I reviewed is, “25 Book Challenge Finale“. It is a program that encourages all kids in the school to read. There are rewards based on how many books are read. They write reviews of them. She writes about what works and what didn’t work. This would be great for an idea starter.

The second post in this blog that I looked at is, “Summer Reading FUN Begins“. This is a voluntary summer reading program that strives to inspire students to read for pleasure. The students that read books during the summer can count them towards the book reading contest mentioned in the 25 Book Challenge Finale. The librarian has ways set up for them to share their reviews through social media options. She also encourages them to use the e-book library resources that are available.

The other thing I like about this blog is that she also has a twitter tab. I noticed that she references articles in these tweets with a short comment to pique your interest. This could be a very helpful way to bring attention to an article without overwhelming faculty that are always struggling to find time for everything.

The third blog that I found was not on the list. It is called, “The Library Lady“. This blog is written by an elementary school librarian. This blog presents ideas that she tries in the library and then tells how they work out. Some of them are “high-tech” and some are just practical ways to present lessons.

The first post that I looked at in this blog is called, “Nonfiction Text Features Unit“. This unit is a collaborative effort with the librarian and the classroom teachers to build on skills that they are learning in the classroom. Eleven text features were defined and illustrated on posters. These were then used as they explored new books that had just come in. They did a text feature scavenger hunt after that. In this same post, she talks about doing an author study on Jan Brett and Mo Willems. The students created a class book that was a “spin-off” of those books. They could then take these books back to their class.

The second post that I looked at in this blog is called, “Word Cloud Project“. They did one as a library class, using library vocabulary. After that, they picked topics. such as famous people, and did research to find the most important information. This information was used to make a word cloud to represent what they had learned. This would be a very good way to teach about main idea/keyword search, etc…

There was one other post that I thought was really good on this site called, “5th Grade Video Tutorial Projects“. The librarian had the 5th Grade students make tutorials for the incoming kindergarteners to help them understand the library rules and how to use the library resources. They worked together in groups and used graphic organizers to design their tutorial. The videos were made using iMovie. This seems like a great learning opportunity for both the 5th Graders and the kindergarteners. The 5th Graders had to think about what a kindergartener would need to know, which would cause them to reflect on all that they have learned in using the library since they were in Kindergarten. It is also a student-friendly way to introduce kindergartener to the library.

There was one other idea that I really liked in this blog. The librarian wondered if the kids were really reading the long chapter books that they were checking out. She got an idea from Pinterest to put post-it notes in some of the books, towards the back of the books. The post-it notes had a message to go see the librarian for a prize. She made a point of telling the student not to tell anyone else, so that they wouldn’t just jump to the end to see if they had “won” something.

As I have read through these blogs, I have thought about how I would use these in a school library. I think it could be used as a collaborative tool between teachers and librarians and parents and students. When students have some ownership in what they are learning and have opportunities to share it with others, it becomes more real to them. I would want to make a blog that is relevant and accessible to everyone who might have a chance to read it. I can see that having links to resources, pertinent articles on school subjects, professional development thoughts along with day-to-day activities would encourage people to read and use the blog. Promoting a blog for the school library would be part of the school library PR, showing that libraries are still very important to education.
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