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1         Bringing  Technology  Into  the  Classroom   A  Review  of  Web  2.0  Resources  from  EDUC  649   Becky  Campbell   May  13,  2012,  Chapman  University                      


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Even  prior  to  EDUC  649  I  considered  technology  a  vital  resource  and  tool  to  include   in  the  classroom  because  so  much  of  the  world  outside  the  classroom  is  technology  based   and  I  have  always  felt  it  is  out  job  as  educators  to  prepare  our  students  to  be  ready  for  the   real  world  and  that  includes  the  technology  based  work  place.  In  my  prior  experience   working  in  an  Elementary  school  I  would  not  say  that  there  was  enough  technology   education  or  access.  My  class  of  thirty  first  graders  had  access  to  four  very  old  and  outdated   computers  in  our  classroom  as  well  as  once  a  week  we  were  scheduled  for  fifty  minutes  in   the  school’s  computer  lab.  The  computers  in  our  classroom  did  not  work  consistently  or   quick  enough  for  the  programs  I  would  try  to  run  on  them  for  the  students.  They  were  in   constant  need  of  repair,  which  took  weeks  to  get  done,  and  when  one  was  finally  repaired   something  else  would  be  wrong  with  one  of  the  other  computers.  Needless  to  say  I  did  not   rely  heavily  on  these  computers  for  my  lesson  plans  and  student  projects.  I  had  a  computer   at  my  desk  that  I  could  use  to  show  videos,  internet  sites  and  such  but  it  was  also  fairly  slow   so  did  not  run  anything  with  Flash  software  well.  My  school  had  access  to  smart  pads  that   the  teachers  could  use  to  hook  up  to  the  ELMO  projectors  in  each  classroom  but  since  I  was  a   long-­‐term  sub  they  did  not  feel  it  was  necessary  to  invest  the  resources  or  training  needed  to   have  it  installed  in  my  classroom.  All  in  all,  my  first  experience  with  teaching  my  own   classroom  ended  up  being  fairly  light  on  technology.  I  hope  now  that  I  have  more  resources   and  knowledge  about  what  is  out  there  for  teachers  and  classrooms  from  EDUC  649  that   when  I  am  back  in  the  classroom  I  can  make  a  case  for  getting  the  technology  resources  I   need  for  my  students  and  using  them  meaningfully  in  my  lessons.  I  understand  that  there  are   many  pros  and  cons  to  using  technology  in  the  classroom  but  I  feel  that  as  long  as  educators   are  aware  of  both  and  are  able  to  work  around  the  cons  in  order  to  make  the  technology  


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experience  for  students  a  meaningful  one  that  leads  students  towards  technological   competency  and  fluency  in  the  real  world  then  the  pros  far  out  weigh  the  cons.   Through  EDUC  649  I  have  collected  a  portfolio  of  many  Web  2.0  technologies  and   resources  that  I  hope  to  incorporate  into  my  classroom  someday.  First,  I  would  like  to  create   a  webpage  for  my  classroom.  I  would  give  the  address  to  the  parents  of  my  students  and   encourage  them  to  check  in  on  a  regular  basis.  I  would  have  a  page  where  they  could  find   weekly  homework  assignment  instructions  in  case  they  were  misplaced  by  the  students.  I   would  also  create  a  resource  page  on  places  in  the  local  area  for  fun,  free  or  low  cost   activities  they  can  take  their  children  to.  I  would  keep  a  calendar  that  notes  both  school  wide   activities  as  well  as  special  projects,  deadlines  and  events  in  my  class.  I  would  have  a  page   that  is  set  up  like  a  blog  for  weekly  newsletters  to  keep  them  informed  about  what  we  are   doing  in  class  and  posts  on  links  to  articles  they  may  find  useful  or  interesting.  I  found  in  my   first  grade  class  that  if  I  did  weekly  newsletters  that  were  printed  and  sent  home  inevitably   they  would  be  lost  by  students  or  misplaced  by  parents  and  it  was  a  lot  of  copies  in  boring   black  and  white.  By  having  the  newsletter  as  a  blog  post  on  my  classroom  webpage  I  can   create  a  more  visually  appealing  look  and  interactive  experience  by  hyperlinking  articles  or   other  webpages,  embedding  video  or  audio  and  including  pictures  from  the  classroom.  I   hope  that  having  a  weekly  blog  such  as  this  would  allow  parents  to  have  a  better  connection   to  what  their  students  are  doing  in  the  classroom  and  keep  a  dialogue  open  with  me  through   comments  on  the  posts  or  emails.     Through  the  Wix  webpage  I  can  easily  create  a  classroom  webpage  for  free  that  is   virtually  add-­‐free  (aside  from  those  for  the  Wix  online  webpage  creation  software)  and  make   a  page  that  is  for  the  blog.  I  could  also  use  a  free  online  blog  site  such  as  WordPress  or  


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Blogger  and  link  it  back  to  my  classroom  webpage.  All  of  these  web  2.0  resources  are  easy  to   use  and  manage  and  have  very  little  adds  on  them.  I  could  also  pay  fairly  minimal  fees  to   upgrade  my  pages  in  order  to  exclude  the  adds.     Another  web  2.0  tool  I  would  include  in  my  classroom  would  be  online  presentation   softwares  such  as  Prezi  or  Projeqt.  These  tools  are  a  much  better  use  of  web  2.0  technology   than  the  old  PowerPoint  software.  With  Prezi  I  can  create  a  much  more  interactive   presentation  and  embed  YouTube  videos  and  files  which  was  harder  to  do  in  the  old  static   and  linear  PowerPoint  presentations.  My  students  can  also  work  together  on  a  Prezi  from   anywhere  since  it  allows  people  to  edit  together  at  the  same  time  over  the  internet.  I  can  use   the  Projeqt  tool  to  upgrade  my  old  PowerPoint  presentations  and  insert  live  Twitter  or  blog   feeds  to  incorporate  up  to  date  information,  interactive  maps  for  geography  or  history   lessons,  or  videos  from  anywhere  on  the  web.  Having  access  to  these  presentations  from   wherever  I  have  internet  access  is  a  great  advancement  because  I  can  work  on  them  from   work  or  home  as  well  as  access  them  to  present  to  classes  no  matter  where  we  are  in  the   building.   For  presentations  and  group  projects  in  class  I  would  connect  my  students  to  the   VoiceThreads  web  tool  where  they  can  use  pictures  to  create  presentations  along  with  audio   and  video  embedded  in  the  presentation.  Other  students  can  then  go  in  and  comment  on  the   presentations  to  give  the  groups  feedback  or  make  connections  to  their  own  projects.   Students  can  work  on  the  VoiceThreads  website  in  class  or  from  home  since  it  is  web-­‐based   so  it  is  easily  accessible.  This  makes  both  working  with  VoiceThreads  and  presenting  them   very  interactive  and  student  driven  verses  when  the  teacher  is  the  only  one  to  comment  or   give  feedback  on  projects.    


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If  I  was  working  with  an  older  classroom  I  would  consider  creating  an  EdModo  class   group  for  my  students  to  be  able  to  utilize  and  connect  with  each  other  outside  of  the   classroom.  This  could  be  a  very  good  resource  for  them  to  use  when  working  on  homework   or  papers  and  I  would  be  able  to  check  the  comments  and  discussions  from  home  and   answer  any  questions  that  were  not  already  answered  by  the  other  students.  I  like  EdModo   because  it  is  add  free  and  I  feel  that  parents  would  have  less  hesitation  in  letting  their   students  use  the  EdModo  site  rather  than  Facebook  because  it  is  meant  for  an  educational   setting  so  is  safer  and  less  accessible  to  outside  people.     While  there  are  so  many  positive  outcomes  to  utilizing  and  incorporating  technology   and  web  2.0  tools  into  the  classroom,  I  also  recognize  that  there  are  cons  and  downsides  that   as  a  teacher  are  my  responsibility  to  be  aware  of  and  consider  when  choosing  what  to  use  in   my  classroom.  First,  I  think  one  of  the  biggest  drawbacks  to  utilizing  technology  is  access— both  at  home  and  in  school.  As  I  noted  before,  the  first  grade  classroom  that  I  worked  in  for   about  a  year  was  very  limited  on  working  and  up  to  date  technology.  The  computers  we  had   were  too  old  to  keep  up  with  the  advanced  software  and  flash  components  of  a  lot  of  the   programs  and  web  based  resources  I  would  have  liked  to  use.  Also,  as  a  teacher  I  would  have   to  consider  if  my  students  had  access  to  computers  and  the  internet  in  their  homes.  A  lot  of   the  software  I  would  like  to  utilize  in  class  and  have  students  use  at  home  for  projects  such   as  Prezi,  Projeqt,  and  VoiceThreads  require  internet  connection.  If  I  ask  them  to  work  on   group  projects  that  they  can  all  edit  from  home  then  I  need  to  make  sure  they  have  the   access  to  do  so.     Another  drawback  to  utilizing  technology  in  the  classroom  is  that  it  is  forever   changing.  It  is  one  thing  to  be  a  teacher  who  keeps  up  with  where  software  advances  are  


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going  and  new  tools  to  use  in  the  classroom  but  it  is  another  to  be  able  to  afford  these  ever-­‐ changing  technologies.  As  soon  as  you  purchase  a  computer  it  is  obsolete  in  a  year  to  the   new  technologies  that  so  quickly  move  past  it  in  capabilities.  Districts  do  not  have  the   funding  to  keep  up  with  the  turnover  and  a  typical  teacher’s  salary  cannot  afford  to  do  so   either.  While  keeping  this  in  consideration,  I  think  it  is  important  for  teachers  to  stay  up  to   date  with  changing  technologies  but  not  necessarily  invest  in  them  or  request  their  schools   or  districts  to  do  so  until  the  new  technologies  or  softwares  have  the  bugs  worked  out.  It  is   also  important  to  consider  if  technical  support  or  repair  comes  with  the  technology  and  how   you  can  access  that  when  needed.     Using  free  online  software  also  comes  with  some  downsides.  Usually  if  the  software  is   free  there  are  adds  on  the  pages  in  order  to  pay  for  the  service.  When  choosing  to  use  free   web  resources  we  need  to  review  them  closely  to  make  sure  that  the  adds  are  not  too   distracting  from  what  the  purpose  of  our  students  using  that  particular  website  is.  A  lot  of   the  online  game  websites  are  very  add  heavy.  Funbrain  and  Scholastic  are  two  popular   websites  that  seem  to  have  a  lot  of  adds  on  their  pages.  Most  of  the  adds  seem  to  be  for   educational  products  and  sites  but  when  a  young  student  sees  these  flashy  adds  they  may   not  know  what  their  purpose  is  and  go  to  those  websites.  Once  students  get  out  of  the   websites  that  you  have  screened  for  safety  you  cannot  control  what  content  they  may   eventually  get  to.  Starfall  is  a  website  with  math  games,  literacy  resources  and  reading   games  that  does  not  have  many  adds  but  it  is  mainly  geared  towards  younger  elementary   aged  students.  Adds  should  not  mean  that  a  teacher  chooses  not  to  use  a  website,  there  are   many  free  resources  out  there  that  are  great  to  use  with  students  but  have  some  adds.  A   teacher  simply  needs  to  screen  the  resources  to  make  sure  the  adds  do  not  outweigh  the  


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service  and  teach  their  students  what  to  look  for  on  the  websites  and  how  to  avoid  the  adds   as  much  as  possible.   While  it  is  our  job  as  teachers  to  keep  our  students  informed  and  connected  to  new   technologies  and  web  2.0  resources  so  that  they  are  prepared  to  be  digital  citizens  of  the  real   world,  it  is  also  our  job  to  keep  them  safe  when  using  the  internet.  We  need  to  screen  new   web-­‐based  technologies  we  bring  into  our  class  to  make  sure  that  there  are  safe  guards  to   protect  our  students’  identities  and  privacy  as  well  as  keeping  them  from  connecting  to   unknown  strangers  through  those  resources.  Along  with  screening  the  safety  and  security  of   these  technologies  we  need  to  be  sure  to  teach  our  students  how  to  be  savvy  and  safe  web   users  and  why  those  things  are  important.  They  need  to  really  understand  the  risks  involved   in  connecting  to  the  world  wide  web  because  it  is  just  that—the  entire  world  and  anyone  on   it.  Facebook  and  Twitter  are  very  relevant  examples  of  web  2.0  tools  that  we  can  use  in  our   classrooms  but  could  open  connections  to  unsafe  people  for  our  students  to  interact  with.   Being  able  to  monitor  our  students’  access  without  limiting  it  too  much  can  certainly  be  a   drawback  and  a  risk  some  teachers  are  not  willing  to  take  in  their  classrooms.  I  do  not  feel   that  is  fair  to  students  or  their  futures,  we  cannot  hide  them  from  the  web  but  need  to  teach   them  how  to  wisely  navigate  and  manage  it.  Creating  digital  citizens  should  be  a  priority  to   every  teacher  today.     While  we  need  to  protect  our  students  from  other  people  on  the  internet  we  also   need  to  make  sure  that  our  students  are  not  abusing  it  themselves.  Cyber-­‐bullying  is  on  a   rise  today  and  a  lot  of  it  happens  outside  of  school  grounds  and  hours  so  currently  there  is   not  a  lot  schools  can  do.  It  is  a  pervasive  issue  though  that  teachers  and  administrators  must   be  aware  of,  “at  least  40  percent  of  high  school  students  have  been  cyber  bullied  while  in  


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high  school,  and…  the  figure  is  nearly  double  among  middle  school  students,”  (Koebler,   2011).  As  teachers  we  need  to  talk  to  our  students  about  the  responsibilities  of  what  being  a   digital  citizen  are.  That  includes  the  responsibility  to  use  the  internet  as  a  source  for   connections,  research  and  resources,  not  a  place  to  hide  their  identities  in  order  to  not  get   caught  bullying  others.  I  believe  cyber-­‐bullying  is  on  the  rise  today  because  of  the  passive-­‐ aggressive  nature  of  bullying  someone  online  verses  face  to  face  where  it  may  be  harder  for   the  perpetrator  to  do  so.  Our  students  must  understand  the  consequences  that  cyber-­‐ bullying  can  bring  so  that  they  fully  understand  what  it  means  to  be  a  digital  citizen.   While  there  are  some  downsides  and  cons  to  using  technology  in  the  classroom  those   can  easily  be  overcome  with  attention  to  the  resources  you  are  choosing  to  present  to   students  and  have  them  use  in  the  classroom.  As  teachers  we  are  responsible  for  staying  in   the  know  about  new  resources  that  come  out  and  for  reviewing  the  ones  we  already  use  in   the  classroom  to  check  for  changes  in  access  and  making  sure  they  are  still  relevant  to  our   students.  In  order  to  prepare  our  students  to  be  digital  citizens  and  capable  of  going  into  jobs   that  will  require  them  to  be  fluent  in  technologies  and  able  to  quickly  pick  up  new  ones,  we   need  to  start  fostering  technology  competence  and  skills  at  a  young  age.  It  is  important  to   teach  students  about  safety  in  using  the  internet,  problem  solving  in  using  different   software,  and  how  to  access  trustworthy  resources  in  which  to  do  research.  Web  2.0  is  here   and  as  teachers  of  future  generations  we  must  support  them  in  utilizing  the  technologies  of   today  that  they  will  one  day  be  revolutionizing  into  the  web  3.0  era  and  beyond.        


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Citations   Koebler,  Jason.  (2011).  Cyber  Bullying  Growing  More  Malicious,  Experts  Say.  U.S.  News  and   World  Report.  Retrieved  from  http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/high-­‐ school-­‐notes/2011/06/03/cyber-­‐bullying-­‐growing-­‐more-­‐malicious-­‐experts-­‐say    


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