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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Reflective Blog Post Two

Well, we're in week 4 of class! Yeehaa! Four down and four more to go! Somehow, this class has been faster than the last one, I think it's because I can ask questions and get quick answers. Didn't happen last time and I stressed big time about things all the time.
This week's blog prompt:
How can visual literacy and the use of Internet impact the teaching and learning process in the classroom? What are some visual-thinking strategies you would like to use in your classroom? What role do you want the Internet play in your classroom?
Everyone loves to be entertained and sometimes teachers feel that they have become entertainers instead of teachers. But the fact remains that even teachers like to be entertained while learning. I, myself, find it hard to pay attention to a speaker who just drones on and on and never has anything to show me. Visual learning in a classroom should not be the only learning style that is offered but with today’s student, it is an important component in a teacher’s arsenal of teaching tools.
Using visual literacy and the internet in the classroom just opens the world to the teacher and students. A teacher can use the internet to extend learning through almost unlimited tools; online journals, blogs, instant messaging, virtual field trips, online science demonstrations, and the list goes on and on. Using sites such as Nasa.gov, a teacher can show up to the minute pictures of planets and the moon. Accessing The Sutton Center (http://www.suttoncenter.org/pages/live_eagle_camera), a student from New York can watch live feed of bald eagle nests in Oklahoma. A student who is interested in studying Dr. Seuss can log onto the website, http://www.seussville.com/, and learn more about Dr. Seuss and his works than any local library can offer and they never have to leave the classroom!
This is an exciting time in teaching when a teacher is no longer just the teacher, but rather, the key holder to vast treasures of knowledge just waiting for their students! Students of today have grown-up using technology to help in every aspect of their lives so it is only natural that they expect a teacher to be knowledgeable and able to assist them in using the internet as a learning tool.  Many students have great video game knowledge on the internet but are rather clueless on how to research and find useful information using the internet. It can be overwhelming when you get one hundred thousand hits as you google something you want to study. Teachers need to understand where and how to guide a student to find useful information.

While I find I use quite a few visual learning tools in my virtual classroom, I would like to incorporate blogs and science journaling next year in my physical science classroom. I would like to start having students make videos of themselves doing labs and uploading them onto a classroom blog. I am also planning to explore the wonderful world of wiki this summer and hope to start posting worksheets and other class projects on a wiki I create.
Since I am a virtual teacher, the internet is an integral part of my classroom everyday. In fact, when the internet is down, I’m pretty much out of commission. I have had to drive to a coffee shop or the library to hold class! I love the quick accessibility I have to my students using instant messaging and think that the internet will continue to increase it’s usefulness in today’s classroom. Visual literacy is here to stay in our classrooms. Our students expect it!

Have a great day and make a difference in someones life!!!!
Took this tonight...outside my house..wide open sky!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Reflective Blog 1

Describe the importance of the using a variety of instructional strategies and the value they add to education of students in the 21st century. Evaluate the role technology plays in the implementation of various instructional strategies. How will this impact your teaching of students?
This is the question posed this week in my master’s degree program class….
In our educational society today, using a variety of instructional strategies is invaluable to our students ability to learn.  Every student learns in a slightly different way and, in the past, education has done a great job of trying to create a box to fit all students. Finally, we, as educators, are beginning to realize that learning isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ box, but rather many, many boxes, exactly one box for every student!  Because of this, in every classroom, there are many different types of learners and we must find the best way to teach each student. 
Reaching students using a variety of teaching strategies is smart, not only for the student, but for the teacher. Reteaching an entire unit is time-consuming and since most of the students may have grasped the concept the first time, can be boring for an entire class. Using several educational teaching strategies within one or two teaching periods to teach small sections of material or chunking knowledge, often leads to greater and deeper understanding of the topic. Mixing up teaching strategies keeps learning fresh and keeps students from getting bored on the topic. Once specific students have been identified as needing more direction to learn the topic, tutorials using computer games and software can be used in small groups or on an individual basis.
Marzano, R. (2009). Helping Students Process Information. Educational Leadership,67, 86-87. Retrieved April 4, 2012, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct09/vol67/num02/Helping-Students-Process-Information.aspx