Learning Styles

This week we learned a lot about different learning styles and meeting the needs of ALL learners. Luckily, much of this is just a brush-up or review of things that I have to deal with daily. Since I teach special education, I deal with different learning styles and disabilities in everything that they do. My students have a range of identified disorders from: attention, visual processing, auditory processing, sensory-motor skills, and cognitive abilities. I seem to notice that many of my students have auditory processing disorders. I am very similar to these students because I don’t learn as well by hearing something taught. I find that I am very high when things are presented visually. Technologies/strategies that help me learn (and that I use with my students often) are: online videos, Powerpoint presentations, using my ELMO to show the worksheet that we are working on the board, and using highlighting/marking tools. I often have my students view online video presentations regarding the lesson I just taught. There are usually 2-4 videos that show different ways to teach the lesson I just taught. This gives the students a visual tool that they can play back at home. Our worksheets have QR codes that can be scanned to link to these videos. Showing different ways of “solving” or completing problems, helps them understand the materials more. I also really love Powerpoint presentations. I am able to take notes and understand the materials more when it is presented this way. I especially like (since I am a tactile/kinesthetic learner as well) when the presentation is printed so that I can take notes next to the slides. Using my ELMO in class is helpful to myself and my students because they don’t always listen well. They need to see how to solve the problems to fully understand them. I also use this with my highlighting/markup because using different colors or shapes helps them visualize solving. For example, on combining like terms, we circle like terms with x’s. We know to combine only the ones circled. Then, we would square the constants by themselves and combine only the ones squared together. This helps them see what to combine together.

I really have difficulty with auditory processing (and so do my students). However, I know that there are some strategies that are helpful for this arena. One such strategy is making it into a song. I have created (found) math songs for my students to help them remember things such as the quadratic formula. That helps me a lot when learning things that are auditory. Another thing I have used in classes (in college) is a tape recorder. That way I can relisten to the lecture at pause/rewind at any time. Another helpful tool for students with auditory processing difficulties is to close their eyes and visualize the words. This can help a lot for me. I need to stop and see the words in my head to memorize what was being said. The last thing that helps my students with auditory processing difficulties is preferred seating. Seating them near the front and limiting noise distractions help them concentrate. While I am teaching, I also have them echo back things that I have said. This helps them memorize what they heard out loud.

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National Standards for Online Teaching

Last week, we read the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Teaching (Version 2). These standards are the newest version of standards available at this time. Even though they are a couple of years old (2011), they still have some pertinent information in them. As I know, technology is ever-changing and it is important to keep up with the times, but there are things in the past that still are valid today. This mission of iNACOL is “to ensure that all students have access to world-class education and quality online learning opportunities” (pg 3). These are guidelines for online teaching.

Something I noticed right away, is that our Professor, Kerry Rice, was involved in the expertise and leadership of online learning. Three cheers to her!

The standards are split between two areas: what online teachers know and what online teachers can demonstrate for evaluation purposes. Many of the standards are pertinent to not only online education but traditional education as well, however, not all are pertinent to them. I am going to discuss a few standards that I feel most connected to. 

Standard A: know primary concepts and structures of online teaching and create learning experiences. This standard directly relates to online teaching. This can be adapted to brick and mortar classrooms if you change-up the standard. We, as brick and mortar teachers, must know our concepts and create learning experiences that enhance the learning. Many of us in brick and mortar classrooms are starting to adapt our teaching to a more blended approach. There are many uses in which technology can be helpful in the classroom. My students struggle with visualizing ideas/thoughts, and I often use virtual field trips to help with this in English. We view settings that go with our novels. This helps them see and understand the setting in which we are talking about.

Standard B: use a range of technologies. This is something major that is changing the brick and mortar classrooms. We are able to use a range of technologies to help enhance our teaching. For example, in mathematics, I use the new curriculums online on the spot math videos to help them understand the concepts. These videos show how to solve questions in different ways. Each worksheet we complete has 2-4 additional online videos to help my students. Sometimes seeing how to solve a problem in another way makes all the difference for a student.

Standard C: plan and implement learning, interaction, participation, and collaboration. This is another key concept that I feel very strongly about. There are many different ways that students can help each other in an online environment. When I have difficulty finishing an assignment, I love looking at the discussion boards to see if anyone is having the same difficulty. It is nice to know that I am not alone in having difficulty with an assignment. This also works in brick and mortar classrooms. I have peer tutoring in my classroom to help students feel success in something that they do know. They are able to work together to help each other solve difficult problems.

Standard D: promote success with expectations, responses, and feedback. This is very important in my own personal learning online. I have difficulty learning in an online environment when there isn’t responses or feedback. I need clear expectations and deadlines to help me become an even better student. My students demonstrate this as well. On my board in the classroom, I map out each week what they will be doing and when assignments are assigned/due. I also make sure to turn back papers with grades as quickly as I can. My students want immediate feedback to make sure they are on the right track.

References:

iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Teaching (Version 2)

Multiple Choice Game

I finally created my first multiple choice and drag and drop game for my class this week. I learned a ton while doing it, but I also learned that there is quite a bit more to learn.

Positives: I felt great being able to create something so simple as a quiz game. I could see this being used in multiple instances. I am getting more and more used to creating scenes and actors. I also feel very comfortable with having an increasing score. I felt very positive about adding rules with just the words instead of going up to the box at the top and dragging and dropping the rules. Even in the shorthand of the instructions, it was easy to follow. I really liked how easily tables are used in multiple choice questions. It made me really positive to use them again. I really would like to create more trivia for the program I volunteer for, Girls State. Drag and Drop was a very simple question to create as well. It was easy to lead the answers into wrong or correct responses and then onto the next question.

Negatives: I struggled with one part that I re-did and had it right both times, but questioned myself: creating a rule in a rule. I thought I had done the wrong thing because it opened up a new rule under the other rule, but it was correct in the first place. I think I was just questioning myself and re checking, which isn’t a bad thing. I need to spend more time playing with font sizes and colors to make sure everything fits correctly. This is something that just takes time and practice. It took me a while to figure out how to copy rules from one actor to another. I don’t think I correctly figured it out. The way I did it is to hold down alt and select and move the actor down. It creates a copy of the actor and then I can change it’s name. However, in drag and drop, I then had to go back to the drag and drop actor and put in the right and wrong choices again. I am not sure if there is an easier way to copy rules other than this. Hopefully, I can get a response on this.

Finally on the need to work on: I have no idea what to do with the short answers. In our classwork, we don’t learn about how to score a student’s answers. It just says a short sentence and I don’t know how to do it still. This is something I will be working on learning about.

Real-Time Chat Activity

I have used several different chat versions in the past. The newest one that I used two weeks ago and am having to use again this week is called chatstep. We are currently using chatstep as our online chat client for our E-Unit for the American Legion Auxiliary. What I really like about chatstep is the ability to create any room name with or without a password. We create the same room name and password every month so that users can “sign in” to go to our meetings. I also like how all the bubbles are aligned on the same side and you can change where your bubbles are. This is very helpful to be able to discern your messages from everyone else’s without them jumping all around the room. For our meetings, it is also important for me, as the Secretary to have the timestamp on. This helps me “take minutes” much easier. My minutes are super easy using this way because I just download, copy, and paste the entire chat text as our minutes. This saves tons of time and energy as a Secretary. Color coding next to their name helps distinguish different users. They just added a new feature that I will be trying out tomorrow: private messaging. The way they do this is you type in the person’s name and the message and it private messages them. I can see this being a bit hard if you type something in wrong and everyone sees it! As a Secretary, meeting in a chat room is the smartest thing for me. We have switched from several different chat applications and have been using this one for the past several years.

Online Community Building

My experience with online community building was an extent of things that I already use, but with some new additions. One of the things that I have been thinking about updating is my LinkedIn profile. This week’s activities made me take this chance to update it. I want to keep this up-to-date to continue growing as an educator. I feel that my current teaching position was my dream job, but I am also looking to grow and experience more positions. I am most interested in a TOA or district support person that deals with special education, curriculum, and technology. I am hoping to hear about something like that soon in my current district. This article gives 10 top ways to get your profile noticed on linkedin. These are quick tips for people to use for job employment.

I have been a member of several online groups on facebook, but I haven’t used those for professional development in the past. This week, I tried to use a local group called Inland Empire Teachers. I have been a member of this group for a while, but I have not actually read or viewed the information on the group in the past. Many teachers post very interesting articles that I can use to further grow as an educator. I am not a great participant in the online community, but I am striving to make myself a better participant. I feel that it is important to clean up my facebook image (or what we call online presence). I had some days of having a blast as a young adult and need to make sure these don’t affect my future goals.

Online communities can definitely impact my students in my classroom. My students often feel segregated or alone with their disability. I feel like they need to join more online communities where they can learn more about their disability and how to face and combat their challenges. They could connect with other students with their same disabilities and learn from each other. These connections can be very important in their growing into an adult.

Here is the link to my Community Building Strategies.

Traditional to Online Learning Activity Reflection

Original Activity: I have a quiz for the students every week. However, to prepare for the Unit test (end of 3 Modules/Chapters), I usually do a quiz with the students in their notebooks or on a worksheet. This is a pre-test for the actual test. It includes very similar questions to the actual test. I just change the numbers in the questions. I do this for all of my classes as a study guide. Since I teach special education, my students need to have this pre-test to help them remember how to work out problems on the real test. They have memory issues, so reviewing helps them remember concepts from weeks ago. This is a key to helping my students.

Changed Activity: To turn this completely online, I would use either Kahoot or The Space Race game on Socrative.com. I would create the online quiz and gain a class code. I would set a time for the students to participate interactively on the quiz (it could be in class or as homework). Each student would sign in with the class code. At the designated time, I would start the quiz. In the space race one, students would see their rocket flying across the screen to see who wins. In the Kahoot quiz, students earn points and it constantly updates what place they are in during the quiz. This online play activity would be beneficial for my students.

To scaffold for them, I would give them the list of questions before they begin, just in case they need extra time to remember how to do the questions. We would review similar questions before the quiz. They need constant practice to help them succeed. My modified curriculum isn’t enough at times. This would be a great, fun review activity to do before the “big” test. We could do this in class with chromebooks as well. We have chromebook carts that I can check out and use in the classroom. I have been looking for ideas on how to use the chromebooks in my classroom.

Final Blog for EDTech541

I am excited but sad to be done with EdTech 541. I really enjoyed this class and this experience. This textbook was one of the best textbooks that I have ever been assigned in a college class. It was pertinent to what we were learning, but it was also enjoyable. I have previously taken 502 which taught me quite a bit about building a website, but this class taught me that there are easy ways to build your own website using website generators. Weebly was a blessing to use and I would use it again. I learned how to best incorporate technology into my classroom. I always talk a good game about technology, but I haven’t incorporated it much in my classroom. I learned that I need to stop talking about it and just do it. I found so many different ideas to use for several units that are in my math curriculum. The theory and ideas presented in our text has really guided me throughout the course. Roblyer has presented great tools and tricks to use throughout the text. My blogs have all addressed reflection on practice. This is an important skill to demonstrate throughout the course. I have been creating and using the content pedagogy presented in the text throughout my course. When I have been creating different assignments on the weebly website, I have used the text to assist me on creating these assignments. I have grown tremendously professionally through this course. I have learned not only how to incorporate technology into my classroom, but I have begun to feel able to present this technology to my students. This is very important to me. I have always seen how I can incorporate technology, but I have never felt equipped to do so. These lessons really apply to what I am currently teaching in my classroom. I will actually be able to implement my thoughts in the classroom. Most of the time, I have thought that technology is great to use in the classroom, but I have never actually implemented my thoughts and ideas. This is the first time that I actually feel able to use these lessons in my classroom.

My blogging has been adequate, but not as well connected to theory and research as I would like. I often forgot to reference readings from the text or other materials provided. That is an area I really need to work on. I read the materials, but I forget to reference them directly other than just linking them in the resources section at the end of the blog. My content has been rich in ideas, thoughts, and connections to real life. I have submitted my blogs on time, but not always early in the module. I have enjoyed responding to others’ posts and have worked hard to make these responses thoughtful, clear, and suggestive. I would take 5 points off readings and resources and 5 points off timeliness. I would give myself a 130/140. I feel that I deserve a good grade because I thoughtfully posted each week before the due date, but it wasn’t perfect (that’s why I always do at least one extra credit!).