Thursday, August 9, 2012

Journal 9: First Graders with iPads?

Getting, S., & Swainey, K. (2012). First graders with ipads?. Learning & Leading with Technology, 40(1), 24-27. Retrieved from

This was a very interesting article.  Research conducted at an elementary school in Minnesota concluded that students improved on sight-word recognition, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary recognition.  The data confirmed elevated average gains and/or higher end-of-year success for students with routine iPad use.  Special needs students also scored 15-20% higher in “time on task” (TOT) than students who were not using iPads.  The classes used different apps for sight words, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and literacy.  The teachers did come across a few obstacles, which included, lack of time, lack of direction, technical problems, noisy apps, and the limitation of apps for comprehension.  Overall, the teachers that used the iPads with at-risk learners suggested that they truly did make a difference in sight word recognition, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary recognition and meaning. 

Q1.  How would less fortunate districts have the funding to purchase iPads for their first grade at-risk learners?
A1.  I think providing students from an early age with iPads is a great idea, and in the long run would cost the districts less money than buying textbooks.  The problem I see is that districts with more money would be able to provide these resources to their students, but less fortunate districts would be left even further behind.  I would suggest starting this idea in the lower income neighborhoods first because these students are already at a disadvantage.  Most students in lower income households don’t even have computers at home.  In contrast, students from higher income households have the resources at home to use these online tools.  With a little guidance from the teachers, these parents can get their children onto these sites at home.

Q2. Can introducing iPads and other technological advances at such a young age actually do more harm than good when it comes to writing?
A2.  I have actually seen in some of my college courses where students write papers and interact with people over email the same way they would write a text message.  I think as educators we need to instruct our students from a young age about the differences between writing a text message and scholarly writing.  Students who are not prepared for corporate America or professional jobs will fail due to the lack of preparation.  Technology is amazing when used properly. Over time, educators are becoming better prepared on how to use technology in the classroom and how to integrate it into the curriculum properly.  As long as teachers and students are both being educated on the use of technology, I see the use of iPads and other technological devices in the classroom as one of the greatest breakthroughs in education of all time.   

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Journal 8: Adaptive Technology


         According to Augmentative & Alternative Communication Centers, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies assist people with severe communication
         disabilities to participate more fully in their social roles including interpersonal interaction, learning, education, community activities,employment, volunteerism, care management, and so on.

1. Low tech tool for AAC: The low-tech tool I researched was the ChatPC-II.  The ChatPC is a portable, hand-held speech-generating device (SGD) that features a color dynamic display along with both synthesized and digitized speech output.  The device has a few programmed vocabulary sets as well as over 3,000 symbols for customizing to one’s own liking.  A speech synthesizer can either speak the messages or a person can record digitized messages.  Customizing is easy because it can either be done through Windows or on the ChatPC itself.  This type of device can help students that can’t communicate orally to use as a voice.  The device can allow students to interact with other students as well as teachers.  The student can also record words that are spoken and view the digitized messages allowing for enhanced learning.
2. High tech tool for AAC:  The high tech tool I researched was the iPad made by Apple.  The iPad is a touch screen device that allows people to download applications for speech and a variety of other handicaps.  The device allows students the capability of having a lightweight and cost-effective system.  Equipment used by autistic students in the past has been extremely expensive and bulky.  iPads can easily be carried from one place to another.  The device gives students the capability of putting together full sentences by clicking on a few buttons.  Pediatric neurologists and neuroscientists have partnered with iPad to continue to make applications for students with disabilities.  The iPad has made such a positive impact with autistic children.  A mother to an autistic child was quoted as saying, "Steve Jobs did not realize he was giving a voice to the voiceless."


According to, an input device is any device that provides input to a computer.

Hardware Option:  The hardware option of input devices that I researched and was amazed by is the EyeTech TM2.  This device is a mouse replacement that allows the user to place the mouse pointer anywhere on the screen by simply looking at the desired location.  The EyeTech TM2 would be perfect for students that have limited or no hand motion at all.  The student would be able to use the computer in class by using their eye as a cursor.  When the student would like to “click” on a particular area, they can simply just blink their eye slowly or use a hardware switch with their foot.

Software Option:  The software option I chose to research is called the iCommunicator.  This device was created specifically for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.  The tool promotes independent communication as well as an alternative for sign language interpreters.  The device provides students with the ability to translate natural speech to sign language in real time.  Students who are deaf or hard of hearing can be placed in traditional classrooms with the help of this software.  This software can be used on a laptop computer, desktop computer, or iPad with the purchase of the software.  Software, such as iCommunicator, is making huge strides in providing adequate literacy resources for people with a hearing disability.

Some other ideas can be found at the following blogs:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Journal 7: My Personal Learning Network.

A great way for teachers to stay connected and interact with other educators throughout the world is through the development of a PLN.  A PLN, or Personal Learning Network, is a way educators can share ideas and information through direct contact, such as Twitter, or indirect ways like blogs and websites.  Some examples of PLNs consist of Twitter, Diigo, Facebook, and digital discussion forums.  Some of the best direct ways to communicate within a PLN are through Twitter and Face book.  These two networks allow you to interact simultaneously within a chat room or through instant messaging.  Digital discussion forums also allow you to type ideas and information to one another instantaneously.  Diigo, however, allows a person to follow blogs and learn from posts through contributors.  An educator can then “tag” that person if they want to continue to follow that contributor.  The networks I use the most in my PLN are Twitter, Diigo, and digital discussion forums like “The Educator’s PLN.”  As an educator, a PLN will help me in so many ways.  Up until recently, educators were restricted by the lack of technology in having the ability to share ideas with people throughout the world.  I will communicate with and contribute to my PLN on a regular basis to hone my skills to become a better educator.

By obtaining a Twitter account, I am able to follow other educator’s tweets as well as being able to keep up with the latest trends, news, and happenings in education.  Some of the people who I am following using my Twitter are:
  • ·      Abby Robles, a teacher and friend who teaches in the Poway Unified School District.
  • ·      Ryan Archer, a chemistry and biochemistry teacher at Mission Hills.  I chose to follow Mr. Archer because my goal is to teach Chemistry, Earth Science, or Biology and the high school level and I think I can learn a lot from him.
  •     Lisa Dabbs, who is the founder of #ntchat as well as an ISTE presenter.  I am following her to learn more about technology in the classroom as well as participating in her discussions on #ntchat.
  • ·      Natasha Dunn, the founder of and a monitor on #ntchat had many good ideas in the chat I participated in.  I chose to follow her because she can teach me a lot in my new journey in becoming a teacher.

On July 25, 2012 I participated in a discussion on #ntchat at 5:00 p.m.  The topic of the discussion was long-term planning in regards to the curriculum.  I really enjoyed this discussion and learned a lot.  Part of what I learned from the other participants is a problem with long-term planning is that some people get stuck on the original plan.  When a problem arises, it is hard for that teacher to veer away from the original plan.  One of the pros to long-term planning is that it is essential to have one, but a teacher must be ready to adapt.  One of the participants in chat came up with a great quote, “failure to plan is planning to fail.”

By obtaining my Diigo account, I am able to join groups as well as follow individual people.  I am currently part of a Science Teachers group on Diigo where fellow science teachers can collaborate with one another in order to come up with better ideas for the classroom.  I have also tagged Educational Partnership, Teacher Preparation, and Technology Integration from the website in order to implement some of the ideas I learn from these blogs into my curriculum.  Having the ability to learn from these blogs will benefit both my students and myself in the classroom.  Some of the people I have chosen to follow include sharris, Joe Mazza, George Couros, David Truss, and Chris Wejr.  I chose to follow sharris because I think social justice in the classroom is the biggest concern for me and I can learn a lot from his blogs.  Joe Mazza writes blogs about educational partnership in which I will be able to learn how to partner things with education.  I decided to follow George Couros because he writes blogs about technology in the classroom and how to utilize if efficiently.  David Truss blogs about teacher preparation and I think being a new teacher I will be able to take many of his ideas to my classroom.  Finally, I chose to follow Chris Wejr because he blogs about different ways to grade and assess students.  It is always a good idea to view other ways on how to assess students because every student has different strengths and weaknesses. 

I chose to join The Educator’s PLN because this forum has many different blogs, forums, links to other education sites, and pictures/profiles of the members so I can get a feel of who I am interacting with.  I decided to read the blog “Creating e-portfolios using Weebly for Education,” by Lynda Hall.  The reason I chose to write about this blog is because I recently signed up for Weebly to begin using it to simplify websites students can make.  One of the pros Lynda talked about is how easy it is to add images, videos, audio, and maps to the site.  She also explains that teachers can create up to 40 free accounts for the students and that the accounts can be managed by the teacher.  I think this is a great tool.  Parents and teachers can be confident that the on-line activity is closely monitored.  This is just one helpful blog on The Educator’s PLN.  The sky is the limit in the amount of information a teacher can obtain from using a website like The Educator’s PLN. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Journal 6 "Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework"

Spencer, J. (2011, September 19). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Children have a very busy schedule starting from an early age.  Some teachers have developed alternative ways for students to continue to learn while being away from school.  Recently, there have been several teachers that have voiced their concerns about whether students should be required to do homework on a regular basis or not.  In John Spencer's blog, "Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework," he suggests ten different reasons why students should not have to do homework.  One of his main concerns with homework is that it promotes an inequitable situation.  Students all have different home lives, for example, one child could go home and have both parents there to help with homework, while another student has to go home and take care of their siblings because both parents are at work.  Depending on which research one believes, arguments have been made that homework does not raise achievement and it can actually inhibit students from effectively learning.  I would have to agree that I think homework does promote an inequitable situation.  As an educator, I would come up with alternative ways to stimulate the minds of young people.  Some of my alternative homework ideas consist of:  

1. To get students involved in clubs: such as Boy Scouts, martial arts, sports, music, etc.  Students need to have other activities that may be enjoyable.  I have stated before that not all students are going to grow up and become lawyers or doctors, so I think it is a good idea to get them involved in other activities.
2. Students should have the option to stay after school for additional help.  It will be my duty as an educator to come in early and stay after school to help every student succeed.
3. Students should have the opportunity to create arts and crafts.  At a young age, students can develop a liking for the arts and decide to pursue it further down the road.
4. Students should help out in the community.  I think all of the students should have an active role in the community, whether it be helping build something or help taking care of pets.
5. Read and write on their own. Students should be encouraged to read and write on their own so they don't feel like they are forced into doing something.  I think students will do better in reading and writing if they were reading something that interested them.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Journal 4 "Join the Flock" and "Enhance Your Twitter Experience"

Ferguson, H. (2010). Join the flock!. Learning & leading with technology, 37(8), 12-15. Retrieved from

McClintock Miller, S. (2010). Enhance your twitter experience. Learning & leading with technology37(8), 14-17. Retrieved from

Over the past several years Twitter has become a cesspool of information if one knows how to use it.  In her journal article, "Join the Flock!" Hadley Ferguson has broken down how educators can build their personal learning network, or PLN.  Ferguson describes ways educators can interact with each other and give advice on lesson planning, dealing with difficult situations, or just discussing a normal day in the classroom.  Educators can help their peers by posting links through Twitter that can be used as a resource for others.  Shy people who are afraid to post ideas and comments can sit back and read other posts until they feel comfortable enough to post an opinion in their PLN network.  It is very beneficial to the educational community for educators to develop a PLN and share ideas with other educators.  

Shannon McClintock Miller writes about how to simplify and organize your Twitter in her article, "Enhance Your Twitter Experience."  The Twitter account can be set up where tweets from friends and family can be separated into columns away from educational tweets that could be lost in the mix.  Miller also explains how beneficial hashtags are in expanding the number of followers a person may have.  For example, if a person posts a tweet on #Edchat and people following #Edchat like what you had to say, they may start following you.  The more people that see a person's tweets, the better the chance of having a bigger PLN.  It is also very beneficial for a person to share and re-tweet a good resource or link to the rest of their PLN to give the entire group ideas.

Q: How will Twitter change the educational system for the future?  
A:  I think Twitter is at the cusp of making a major impact on the educational system.  Not only can teachers and administrators share ideas in regards to learning, but they can also share ideas on how to make cuts to the budget without having an impact on the students.  Twitter allows educators to better prepare themselves for difficult situations in the classroom, how to add to lesson plans, and build a PLN that will last an entire career.  Twenty years ago teachers didn't have the luxury to share teaching strategies with people throughout the world.  The ability to be able to communicate and strategize with people around the world will only have a positive impact in education.

Q:  Will students and teachers begin interacting using Twitter when away from school?
A:  I think if it hasn't already begun to happen students and teachers will discuss lessons via Twitter in the future.  Periodically, students may have questions that they need help with while doing their homework at home, and eventually I can see them tweeting their teacher for help.  I think it would be a good idea to keep students away from tweeting their teachers.  I think when the teacher leaves and goes home for the day, students should wait to have their questions answered the following day.  Teachers do need time with their families and away from work.  Teachers can meet students before or after school if they need additional help on an assignment.  I will use my Twitter account to build a PLN that will improve my teaching strategies.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Journal 3 "Upside Down and Inside Out"

Fulton, K. (2012). Upside down and inside out. Flip your classroom to improve student learning. Learning and leading39(8), 12-14. Retrieved from

With the bad economy and a decrease in funding for schools across the United States, school districts have had to become creative in coming up with ways to effectively teach students while dealing with all of the cuts.  In Kathleen Fulton's journal, "Upside Down and Inside Out," Fulton explores a change in the traditional curriculum that some districts have adopted.  Some schools across the country have implemented a way for students to learn and watch lessons in the comfort of their own homes while getting rid of textbooks in order to save the district money.  After students watch the lesson plans via the internet out their homes, the following day they come to class and do their homework.  Students are able to either work in groups or by themselves at their own pace.  At the beginning of class, the teacher puts questions or problems on the board to see if all of the students are understanding the concepts.  If students are struggling, the teacher will then go into more detail in a particular area.  There have been mixed reviews since this is a new concept for students, teachers, and parents.  One of the pros to this change is that the teacher can go around the class while students are doing their homework and help each and every student.  A con to this change is that it could be difficult for students and parents to make time to view the lessons online with multiple students attending the school.  

Q:  Can this type of change work in the inner city schools?  
A:  I honestly don't think this would work in inner city schools.  Students whose families are below the poverty line may not be able to afford a computer for home.  If funding is going to be taken away from schools, we as a society need to make sure schools in less fortunate areas receive the proper funding.  These students must have the same opportunities as students that live in affluent neighborhoods.  The only way I can see this type of teaching to have any success is if every student has the resources to succeed in this type of curriculum.    

Q:  Do I see myself working for a school district that adopts this idea?  
A:  I do think this is a good idea, especially when funding becomes a problem for districts.  I have to commend the teachers that worked on this project to ensure that the students did not suffer from the budget cuts.  I like the idea of having time to meet with each and every student on a regular basis to ensure they are understanding the material.  If students are watching the lessons at home and then coming to school to do their homework, I would have the ability to work with the students that are struggling.  I also like the idea of taking quizzes electronically where I would have the ability to instantaneously see what students were struggling with and what I need to spend extra time on.  Overall, I do see myself working in a school setting that adopts this type of curriculum.  I do favor the traditional way over this, but when there isn't enough money to continue with the traditional way, this is an excellent alternative.

Journal 2: School 2.0 Reflection Tool

Journal #2                                                                                                                      Noah Barringer

Reflection results for NETS-T IV:  Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility.

2. I facilitate equitable access to digital tools and resources, use learner-centered strategies, and employ features of universal access and assistive technologies to meet the diverse needs of learners.

I selected the Reflection results for NETS-T Module: Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility.  Under this module, I selected the second principle, “I facilitate equitable access to digital tools and resources, use learner-centered strategies, and employ features of universal access and assistive technologies to meet the diverse needs of learners.  One of the main reasons I chose to go to CSUSM for my teaching credential is because the University stresses the importance of equity in the classroom.  The resource I liked the most from this principle is
Free Technology Toolkit for UDL in All Classrooms. 

The website is a toolkit that consists of Audio Books, Math Tools, Graphic Organizers, Study Skills Tools, Literacy Tools, Text-to-Speech, and Speech-to-Text just to name a few.  These tools and links give students a free way to receive additional help in an area they may be struggling in.  The website reminds me of a tutor where the students can receive help at the pace they need.  The text-to-speech, for example, helps students that may be struggling with reading be able to identify words and sounds.  This link would be a great resource for an elementary school classroom that actually has a few computers inside the classroom.  With classroom sizes increasing, it is crucial that classrooms obtain resources like this website so all students have an opportunity to succeed. Teachers may not be able to meet with every student each day in all subjects, so this website will give students an opportunity to get additional help in a particular subject every day.  This website also allows students that are less fortunate and do not have a computer at home, to log into the free website from a school computer to access the content.