Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Two Best Ideas

The two best ideas that I learned from my peers' presentations were:
1. using the Promethean Board to teach math or science objectives (measuring, etc)
2. internet game for "Sink or Float" to get students actively involved in using the technology.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Technology Practicum Project

From watching the PowerPoints of how other people in my class used technology in their lessons, I learned that technology can be used for any subject in the curriculum. I used technology for a social studies lesson, but I saw that other people in my group used it for literacy, math, and science, as well.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Internet Safety

I chose to read an article by Gordon B. Hinckley entitled, “Opposing Evil” as my fourth article. It was published in the November 1975 Ensign, which surprised me because he spoke about the dangers of the media long before they had escalated to the dangers we face today. If such counsel was relevant in 1975, it must be even more applicable today with so many new forms of technology available. A common theme that I found in the readings was that technology and the media can be used for both good and evil. It is incorrect to say that the media is completely bad, but as one article pointed out, our greatest challenge is to determine the good from the bad. As I read these articles and watched the videos, I saved the video links to my delicious account and I realized how important it is to teach children about internet safety when I am a teacher and a parent. I will not be so naive to think that kids can figure it out for themselves, and I will educate them and monitor them because I want to protect them from online predators and other dangers of the internet and media. I can also use what I have learned to have a positive influence on friends and family by sharing what I have learned and encouraging them to use safe internet practices, as well. By making my own good media choices, I can also be an example to these people.

I chose to teach my mom about some of the things I learned about internet safety. I thought the information would be relevant and useful to her since I have two high-school age brothers living at home. The discussion went very well, and it actually lasted longer than I expected because we found that we had so much to discuss about the topic. Her perspective was really interesting because she grew up before the internet and all of the good and bad that came with it. We really are raising a different generation of kids, so it is important for parents and teachers of the "older generation" to be up to date on the realities that these kids face.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tech Lesson Recap

My Google Earth tour of South America turned out really well! It turned out that the school's projectors were broken/unavailable, so I adapted my lesson by showing the tour to small groups of students on the classroom computer. In groups of 4 or 5, students gathered around the computer to watch the tour and learn about some of the awesome places in South America. The kids LOVED it! The groups who had to wait their turn to watch the tour couldn't wait for me to call their groups back. They were so excited to see it. Some of the students had used Google Earth before, but others had not. All of them were fascinated with the idea of typing in any place (especially their own houses) and being able to see real pictures of that place. As an assessment activity, I created a "postcard" template for students to color a picture of their favorite landmark that we visited on one side, and write a note to someone about it on the other side. The kids loved the postcard activity and I was able to see that they learned so much about the places in South America from my tour! They loved it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tech Lesson Idea

Right now I am planning to teach a lesson on South America to a second grade class. The class is currently studying South America as their "Continent of the Month". I think this lesson could really be enhanced with technology, and I am excited to use Google Earth to create a tour of some of the awesome places in South America. A geography lesson is a perfect content fit for Google Earth technology, and as I am beginning to create my tour, I am finding that there are several places in South America that my class would love to see real pictures of. For example, the class has been learning about the Amazon Rainforest, which is one of the most famous features of South America. It is awesome to look at the Amazon Rainforest from the sky. Last week I also taught a lesson about "the Pampas" in Argentina, which are basically farmlands with lots of cattle. On Google Earth, this area shows lots of square pastures that would be fun to show in contrast with the green, thick rainforest. I also plan to include the Andes Mountains in Chile, and near those mountains is a desert that has not had rain in over 400 years! It is said to be the driest place on earth, and when I searched this location it showed some great sand dunes. I will also include rivers and Cape Horn, the tip of South America, which is the closest place in the world to Antarctica. I think Google Earth will be great to show the diversity of geography in South America.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Classroom Technology Inventory

The main thing I realized by doing this technology inventory was that there is plenty of technology available to use at the elementary school, but teachers rarely take advantage of it. While most of the technology is not in every classroom, it is usually shared by the grade level teams and available for each teacher to reserve and use. Asking my teacher some of the questions on the inventory list, most of her answers were something like, "Yeah, I'm sure we have that if I ever wanted to use it". This tells me that she is confident in her school for supplying good technology, but that she has little personal experience with actually using it. It also tells me that she feels comfortable in the fact that the school does have technology, but she does not have a strong desire to look into exactly what resources the school has to offer. This reinforced to me the importance of educating teachers on how and when to use technology in the classroom. There are many more resources available to teachers than what are actually used in the classroom.
I was also interested to discover that many teachers consider something as simple as an overhead projector to be using technology in schools. Last week I was observed for one of the lessons I taught the second grade class, and one of the positive comments my instructors made to me after observing my lesson was my effective use of "technology"- and that technology being the overhead projector. This makes me realize that using technology to teach does not have to be an elaborate, over-the-top lesson. Technology should make teaching easier, not harder. If more teachers believed this and educated themselves about technology to make this true, I think more teachers would be eager to take advantage of the technological resources that are available to them through their schools.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Virtual Tour

Location ActivityGoogle Earth Content
1. Independence, MO
Answer Question: What would you pack if you were leaving on the Oregon Trail?Terrain, Borders and Labels, Photo 
2. Chimney Rock
Answer Question:  How do you think Chimney Rock got its name?Terrain, Borders and Labels, Photo
3. Fort Bridger
Math activity: trading post

Terrain, Borders and Labels, Photo

4. Oregon City
Journal entry in roleTerrain, Borders and Labels, Photo 
Details of image overlay / path / polygon:Path will connect Independence, MO (start), Chimney Rock, Fort Bridger, and Oregon City (finish). Each point will show photos of each location as they may have looked at the time of the Oregon Trail.


The content of this lesson is based on the 5th Grade Utah Curriculum, Standard 4: "Students will understand that the 19th century was a time of incredible change for the United States, including geographic expansion, constitutional crisis, and economic growth". I am focusing on Objective 1c, which states "Investigate the significant events during America's expansion and the roles people played....Compare the trails that were important during westward expansion (e.g. Oregon, Mormon, Spanish, California)". This virtual tour will take students to 4 major points along the Oregon Trail, allowing them to see the landscape of each destination as well as the path that pioneers traveled to the west. Students will also engage in various activities at each location.


The technology used to create this virtual tour is Google Earth. Students will use computers to view each location with Google Earth, access other websites on the internet for more information, and if possible, type their responses and journal entries on Microsoft Word. Google Earth is a perfect fit for teaching about the Oregon Trail because students can see actual photos of each location and watch the program zoom in and out to see the whole path of the Oregon Trail on a map.


This activity will be especially effective for visual and hands-on learners. They will be able to see the places that we learn about as we discuss the Oregon Trail. The activities provided at each stop (journal writing, answering questions, getting more information, etc.) are also good pedagogy because they keep students actively involved and offer various ways for students to process and apply the content that is learned.