Tuesday, May 17, 2011

30 Before 30

I turned 27 on February sixth of this year.  With less then three years before thirty I have created a list (inspired by others who have done the same) of thirty things I would like to complete by the time I am thirty.  I tried to select things that were relatively reasonable, measurable, and fun. Here is what I came up with....

30 Before 30
  1. Get a master's degree (currently enrolled in school and have about 13 months to go before I receive a master's degree in special education)
  2. Get my teaching credential (taken all the standardized tests, and working on my moderate/severe special education credential) 
  3. Get married (engaged as of last July and planning a wedding for next May!)
  4. Learn lindy hop
  5. start a college savings account for Jeffrey (my handsome 6 month old son)
  6. pay off credit card.... completely
  7. learn to sew
  8. take a cooking class
  9. hike half dome (scheduled for this summer but honestly I am not really looking forward to it.. sounds hard.)
  10. see grand canyon
  11. complete a half marathon
  12. learn a musical instrument (this one might be a stretch)
  13. learn how to drive a stick shift
  14. donate blood
  15. learn how to salsa
  16. ride in a hot air balloon
  17. go to Greece
  18. learn how to tie a tie
  19. learn how to defend myself
  20. learn how to sail
  21. organize a fundraiser
  22. learn how to decorate a cake
  23. volunteer at least once a month for a year
  24. drive a race car around a track. Fast but without incident would be ideal.
  25. learn how to create a bonsai and keep it alive
  26. learn how to make balloon animals
  27. finish Jeffrey's baby book
  28. get a professional family portrait taken
  29. take a photography class
  30. build something out of wood

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Technology in the Classroom

Personal/Audience Response Systems 
a.k.a. Clickers
  Encouraging active participation for all students. 
As a student I was extremely shy and because of this I rarely participated in class even though I enjoyed learning and often knew the answers to questions. I believe this problem is shared by many students and it hinders their educational experience.  However, unlike when I was in grade school, today new technologies have been developed that can engage even the shyest of children. 

Enter.... the Personal Response System.

This is a method to get quick and instant feedback from all students simultaneously. Each student is given an electronic remote with different buttons representing different choices. Using these devices, students can quickly respond to multiple choice questions from the teacher.

Potential benefits for students and teachers. 
    This technology has many benefits for all students. 
    • It engages them in active learning and requires continuous participation. 
    • It provides all students with the opportunity to answer teacher's questions rather than just one student. 
    • For students who are shy or lack confidence in their answers, it enables them to participate anonomoysly and increase confidence.
    • It promotes classroom discussions.
In addition to benefits for students this technology also helps teachers by providing them with instant feedback on student comprehension of material. 

But wait! 
   To use this technology effectively there are some issues teachers need to address.
    • Explain your use of the clicker
      • Ensure your students understand how they are going to benefit from this technology to prevent resentment
    • Ask the right questions.
      • Teachers need to be able to ask well developed multiple choice questions.  
    • Timing
      • Consider how long students have to respond 
    • Feedback
      • Give explanations to class based on their responses
The video below gives an excellent overview of these issues and how to use clickers effectively in the classroom.

Just how much is this going to cost me???
Here we encounter the problem with many technologies. If you want to use this in your classroom it is going to put a dent in your budget. There are many different personal response systems available for purchase ranging in sophistication and cost. Th cheapest I was able to find was a very basic one for 40 dollars (B&H). I also found a set of 32 more complex response pads for $ 1,795.00... which comes to about 56 dollars per unit (B&H). Additional costs come with the other technologies that are needed to make this system work effectively which include a receive and software programs.   
Final Thoughts.  
If you can get funding for it and expenses don’t fall on your students or come out of your own pocket this is an empowering and useful technology for students when used correctly. I wish I had the opportunity to use something like this when I was a student!

Resources for this blog...

Information found at the following websites:

Images were used from the following locations:
  • http://cit.jmu.edu/useruploads/images/clickerman_final.png
  • http://showcase.davidson.edu/thumbs/clickers.jpg