Communication Technology- Educ3508

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ensuring Internet Safety in the Classroom
In order to ensure that students are accessing safe and appropriate information on the internet while in school, there are a few precautions teachers should take. It is important that teachers are aware of the content of the sites that students are accessing while in school. This means that teachers need to be reviewing sites before giving them as links and also circulating around the room when students are in the computer lab. Teachers can also talk to their students about safety and give them some tips about safely surfing the web. Teachers can recommend ‘kid-friendly’ search engines and directories such as DibDabDoo or Awesome Library. They can also teach students about effective ways to search these sites. Teachers can talk to their students about not giving out personal information on the internet and also to be aware of online marketing. Finally, teachers can assist students in determining the credibility of the websites they are accessing (teachers can have their students ask the question: is this site created to provide information or to promote a product?). It is also important that parents are aware and informed of the risks associated with internet use in their classroom and for them to be involved in keeping their children safe while online.

Webquests
Webquests can be used as effective tools for many purposes in the classroom. Because Webquests are inquiry-based and student oriented, they foster learning in many different and innovative ways. Using Webquests, students can take ownership over what they are learning and there is a certain flexibility when using this tool. Student motivation is therefore increased and students become more productive and excited about learning.
Webquests can be used in a variety of subjects and at a variety of grade levels in classrooms today. Students may work independently or in groups to research a particular topic in their Language Arts, Social Studies or Science classes (for example: in Social Studies, students may research a particular geographical area). Another use for Webquests is having students come up with strategies that can be used in different areas to better understand questions or topics (for example: problem-solving strategies in Mathematics). Webquests can be used to review concepts and confirm prior knowledge or to introduce a brand new idea. They can also be used over long or short periods of time. In general, Webquests are easily adapted to fit the needs of many students in many classrooms.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Spreadsheets in Education
Spreadsheets can be used in the classroom in many different ways. They can be used to produce charts and graphs about various types of information (for example: grade 1 students may collect information about themselves as well as the other students in their class). Spreadsheets can also be used in math assignments for calculations (for example: probability). Teachers can find spreadsheets useful to help in assessment and to calculate student marks.
Depending on the ages and grades of students, online tutorials can be used by the teacher as well as directly by the students. Online tutorials provide ideas and templates for activities that use spreadsheets that the teacher can use and implement in his/her classroom. Older students can also use online tutorials themselves to help their understanding of various components of spreadsheets and to get ideas of how to better use them.
http://www.amphi.com/~psteffen/excel.html
This link called "Integrating Spreadsheets in the Classroom" contains many ideas and other links including those for other tutorials and guidelines for using spreadsheets. It also contains assessment tools and techniques using Excel as well as many lesson plans and ideas that teachers can use to integrate spreadsheet into their lessons.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Concept Mapping
Concept mapping is a technique used to represent knowledge in graphs and consists of nodes (points) and links (arcs). The programs Inspiration and Kidspiration are used in many schools to allow students to diagram concept maps of their own.
Before doing some reading on concepts maps, I thought that they were only used as story planning webs and only in Language Arts. I was wrong! Concept mapping is a technique that can be used in almost all subjects and at almost any age. Some advantages of this technique include that a concept map helps students tap into prior knowledge by having them state and diagram what they may already know. It also helps students to organize their thoughts and understand what they want to say or the new concept they have just learned. However, teachers must be aware of the individual needs of their students and understand that for some students, concept mapping may be intimidating or even confusing. Especially for those who are not comfortable with technology or who have trouble visualizing concepts in pictorial form. In my opinion, as long as the teacher is aware of and willing to help these students through the process, concept mapping is an invaluable tool in the classroom.
Example Using Concept Mapping:
This example is for a Science 10 class studying the hydrologic cycle as part of Unit D in the new Alberta Program of Studies. Students will use Inspiration to draw a concept map that illustrates the hydrologic cycle. This map will include pictures of water in different phases (solid, liquid, gas) as well as the terms and equations that apply to phase change (for example: solid to liquid= fusion; Q=nHf). The ICT Outcomes from the Program of Studies that will be covered include:
C.6.4.2: investigate and solve problems of organization and manipulation of information.
C.6.4.4: generate new understandings of problematic situations by using some form of technology to facilitate the process.
C.7.4.2: analyze and synthesize information to determine patterns and links among ideas.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Title: Addition and Subtraction Board Game

Reference Section:
Pearson Education Inc. (2000-2004). Math Brain. Retrieved Sept 30, 2005, from http://www.funbrain.com/brain/MathBrain/MathBrain.html

Grade Level: Grade 2

Subject: Mathematics

Brief Description of Activity:
This activity is set up as an online board game. There are various math activities (for addition and subtraction) that the students must complete in order to advance to the next square on the game board. The students will go to this website http://www.funbrain.com/brain/MathBrain/MathBrain.html and enter as a new player. At each level, the student is given a password so that next time they go to this site, they can begin where they left off last time. The games become increasingly difficult as they move towards the finish.

General Learner Outcome:
Apply a variety of addition and subtraction strategies on whole numbers to 100, and use these operations in solving problems.

Specific Learner Outcomes:
13. Use manipulatives, diagrams and symbols to demonstrate and describe the processes of addition and subtraction of numbers to 100.

ICT Outcomes:
C.6.1.3 use technology to support and present conclusions

P.5.1.1 navigate within a document, compact disc or other software program that contains links

P.5.1.2 access hyperlinked sites on an intranet or the Internet

Rationale for Computer Integration:
This activity allows students to work through material at their own pace, thus accommodating different learning speeds. Because, this activity is focused around a board game, students are more likely to actively participate in this learning because it is “fun”. Also, it allows those students who are usually intimidated by mathematics to be more comfortable by practicing their skills in a game-type setting where there is less pressure to perform.