Monday, August 24, 2015

Digital Citizenship & Common Sense Education

Today, I spent many hours learning about Digital Citizenship using the website Common Sense Education.  I was blown away by the number of lesson plans for all grade levels including high school.  In order to review the lesson plans and resources for the lesson plans, I had to subscribe to the website.  To me, this was not a problem but I understand that some people do not like to subscribe to websites.  Its just as easy to unsubscribe when needed.  Anyways...there are four units in the high school curriculum on Digital Citizenship.  Each unit contains 5 lesson plans.  For my first time, I will incorporate the first unit into my Computer Application class.

Digital Citizenship

By high school, students already know about digital citizenship.  They know about cyberbullying, keyboarding, staying on the appropriate webpage, etc.  They do not cite images.  When using an image for educational purposes, it is not necessary to cite the source, I think.  Please let me know if I am incorrect.  Since most of what we as educators do is for educational purposes, we forget that copying an image without proper citation is plagiarism.  How do we cite images correctly?  What images do not need to be cited?  When copying words for educational purposes, we still recognize the person who said/wrote the words.  Why is it not the same for images?  This is an unclear area for me and I would like clarification.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Common Core & Tech Activity

For my project, I chose to use Edmodo.   Edmodo is a type of LMS in which students and teachers can collaborate, stay organized, and access assignments and grades. This LMS is similar to Google Classroom except it does offer practice multiple choice questions to Common Core standards.   In Edmodo, there is an option to create Snapshots.  Once a new Snapshot is created, I can create multiple choice assessment based on Common Core Standards for the appropriate grade level.    For example, my students will learn about functions.  This is an 11th grade domain in Common Core.  There are several standards within the domain.  I selected the first standard and my students will take a  multiple choice assessment based upon this standard.  There are  4 questions.  The questions were not created by Smarter Balance.  Hence, the questions are an interpretation of the standards.  I like my students to have questions worded in different ways to increase their comfort level of the material and to exercise their minds.   Throughout the year, my students will be asked to use excel and their graphing calculator.  The questions created on Edmodo are supplemental to our curriculum but nonetheless important in the learning process.  I will assign them as additional homework problems or as warm-up problems. 

After reading How to Achieve Common Core with Tech: the Math Strand, I look forward to using some of the Excel projects in my Computer Application course.  Thank you, Jacqui, for the great ideas!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Blogs & Common Core

I know that blogs are an effective mean of communication and an innovative educational tool.  I did not know about all the benefits as pointed out in Jacqui Murray's 13 Ways Blogs Teach Common Core.  I began to use blogs last year in my classes and now I remember how much students enjoyed reading each others posts.  They even liked commenting and writing their own blog to generate feedback.  Students can also post music, art, and videos on a blog.  Blogs are the quickest way for students to get feedback which is one of the many common core standards.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Tech Problems

By the time students arrive to high school, they have figured out how to fix most of their computer issues.  If the mouse does not work, they change it for another.  This may not be the best solution but it is the quickest form them.  If the keyboard has missing keys, they swap it for another.  
My students have problems with the tool such as Microsoft Excel.  If we are entering formulas, they may forget to put an equal sign in.  If there answer is wrong, they entered the formula incorrectly.  These are all typical mistakes.  I will have them work with a partner to determine the mistake.  I encourage them to work together.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Here is a screen shot of Desmos.  This was taken from  I use Desmos to create graphs that I can use on tests or project on the Smartboard.  These graphs have gridlines which makes it easier for students to read compared to a TI-84 emulator for Smartboard.  In addition, Desmos has some activities that students can do collaboratively.  This year, I hope to explore one or two of these activities.  This website is geared to high school students.  Let me know if there are any questions.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Web tools

So far my favorite web tools for high school use are Wikis, Khan Academy, Desmos, Google apps, Blendspace.  Wikis can be used for student portfolios and as a class website.  Khan Academy is great for monitoring student knowledge.  Desmos can be used to create graphs to be used in class or on an assessment.  Its easy to take a screen shot (I use Grab or command shift 4 on a mac).   Google is  a great tool for collaboration with students and accessible as long as there is an internet connection. In Blendspace, teachers can upload videos, worksheets, and images.   This is a great tool for flipping a classroom or storing files that can be used in a unit.  Students can access the information.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Problem Solving

After reading the article on Minecraft, it seems like its a good tool to incorporate in a curriculum.  It emphasizes reading, writing and problem solving skills.  Problem solving is based on the  Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practices.  Reading skills are based on Common Core Reading Strategies.  I have seen it used as a supplement in an elementary computer literacy class.  Unfortunately, I am unable to try it myself without purchasing it.:(
As mentioned problem solving involves Common Core 8 Mathematical Practices.  Students will often face real life problem solving issues.  The example in the article is true to life.  Right now, I am in the process of deciding whether to purchase a Smartphone or Ipod for my teen age daughters.  I have not reached a decision yet because I am weighing the pros verse the cons.  Any suggestions?
I love the idea  of create a How To on a wiki site.  My students will use a Wiki site as their digital portfolio.  I will add a page called "How To" for students to pose a screencast or instructions on problems they encounter in class.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Web Tools

Today, I had so much fun exploring and setting up a Wiki for my students.  I will use the Wiki as a Digital Portfolio.  I am not sure if this topic should be Digital Portfolio:)  Anyways, each of my students will have a Wiki page in which they will introduce themselves, state their email and twitter handle.  Sound familiar, Jacqui Murray?  One of their assignments will be to watch a video on Digital Citizenship.  Then students will find an article or video that relates to the video they watched.  They will post it on a designated Wiki page. Then each student will comment on two other students' posts. Students will use their Wiki page as a Digital Portfolio.  Another introductory assignment will be to create a google slide presentation about their summer vacation.  They will place the link in their digital portfolio.  Again, my students will be able to view and comment on each other's work.  I love this!  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Digital Portfolios

After watching the video on Digital Portfolios and reading the article Why Use a Digital Portfolio - and 9 Ways to do it, I am convinced that I should use one in my Computer Application course this school year.  I think a digital portfolio would work in all my classes but I want to be realistic and try it in one first.  If I tried using digital portfolios in all my classes, I think that I would be overwhelmed!  In the article, the author, Jacqui Murray, mentions Wikis, Google apps, Flipboard, Symbaloo, Evernote, Flipboard, live binders, websites/blogs as methods for digital portfolios. In particular, the video, showed how to implement Wikis and websites/blogs as digital portfolios.  

I like the layout of the Wiki especially if it can be organized into projects as Jacqui showed. I still have a few questions about a Wiki. What does the student page look like? Do they upload the project on the teacher page under project? Or do they upload the project on their Wiki page? Could digital rubrics be attached to the projects in a Wiki? If not, digital rubrics could be emailed. I think a Wiki would work best for me and I need to think about to implement it this year.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


I am interested in incorporating more technology in my high school math classes.  In addition, I also teach a computer application class and I hope to incorporate video learning, problem solving, digital citizenship and other technologies.  I am eager to learn about web tools.  I have learned how to use mindmeister, animoto, edmodo, and other web tools.  I hope to find more web tools to teach math.  I have limited resources.  I have used g(math) and desmos.  If you have other web tools for math, please let me know.  I look forward to an engaging class in which I will be able to use what I learn in my fall classes.

This year, I began to take many classes involving web tools.  I learned so much so far and hope to continue learning forever.  Since technology is changing, there will always be something to learn.  Anyways, this is my journey.  When I first began, I did not know how to create a blog.  With the help of Richard Byrne, I created a blog/website for my personal finance Personal Finance website/Blog

My goal is to keep a blog with the links of the projects that I have created so far.  Yes, they will be a work in progress.  As I learn more technologies, I will add more projects.  My biggest challenge is remembering all of the usernames and passwords associated with each one.  I thought I used the same one each time......any suggestions?

Classroom Management

For this activity, I enjoyed watching the video 6 Topics to Teach Every Lesson.  First, my hs students are very active digital citizens.  They are aware of bad or unreliable websites, they know how to use the internet for research, and they could probably know more about technology than I do.  When students have a computer, they are checking email, social media, music, games, etc.  All these activities are off task.   I would like to teach my students the right and wrong time to do the above off task activities.  Quite often, I see my students multitasking.  They are trying to complete my assignment while doing another assignment.  Second, I would like my students to cite images and music if needed.  It is only recently that I knew that images had to be cited.  I am still unclear how to cite them.  It will be important for me to discuss Fair Use rights with my students this semester.  Do the images available through Creative Commons have to be cited?  As long as permission is granted, one can use an image as long as it is cited?
I also read the article "22 Ways to Add Rigor to Your Classroom".  I liked all the ways and the article made me think of a great opening question for my students:  Choose something that you feel that you are good at, then describe why you are good at it and how you got good at it.  I hope that my students would provide a complete explanation and understand that in order to be good at something you have to practice.  I feel that the suggestions in the article would be outlined in a class discussion.  
I also read the lesson plan on Blogging.  Last year, I experimented with a classroom blog.  I allowed a few opportunities to blog.  I had my students watch videos and they had to comment on the videos.  I also had my students comment on an assignment in which they were graded on.  After reading their comments, I decided to grade them in a different way.  I was impressed with my student responses.  I hope to use a blog again this year.