Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lenovo Dream To Do Contest!

I am so excited about the Lenovo Dream To Do Contest that my school has entered! During art class my students created drawings of what they want to be when they grow up to be uploaded to the contest for people like YOU, to vote daily! So please help our school win a $50,000 Technology Makeover. Go to and vote for Orange Charter School!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Reflections Chapter 10

This chapter focused on Graphic Organizers. I do not have much teaching experience using graphic organizers so this chapter made me want to download some free software or a trial of Inspiration and check it out! For the first time this semester, I am at a loss for words in regards to reflecting on a chapter. I do feel that graphic organizers are a great tool for the students to better understand a concept because as the text states " they are engaged in all three critical thinking processes." ( Morrison & Lowther, pg.270) The students must analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the information while using a graphic organizer. Understanding is essential to perform all three of these processes successfully. As for misconceptions by the student of key information while using a graphic organizer, this would be obvious and resolved instantaneously while using this tool as during group work or circle time. Since the information is laid out visually it would be rather easy to tell if a child is having difficulties. The use of graphic organizers is a wonderful way for students to organize their brainstorming ideas before they move onto a written assignment.

I look forward to gaining more experience with graphic organizers and incorporating them into my art class.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chapter 9 Reflections

"Multimedia tools are used when there is a match between multimedia functions and your objectives." (Morrison & Lowther, pg.249)

The two most common ways to use multimedia for students' projects are for presentations and research. By using multimedia tools in the classroom the teacher will meet 3 of the 6 NETS for Students, they are as followed:

1. Creativity and Innovation: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

3. Research and Information Fluency: Students apply digital tool to gather, evaluate, and use information.

6. Technology Operations and Concepts: Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. (ISTE, 2007)

The Internet can be used for research purposes but the students must be responsible for citing their references and be aware of copyright and fair use issues while obtaining and copying information from the world wide web. A multimedia project allows the students to become the teacher. We all know that some of the best learning happens through processing and reflecting on the information that has been obtained. Articulating this new knowledge to other students and teachers through a multimedia project allows the student to do just that! There are many applications available to the students to create a multimedia presentation. These include:


digital video: found on the Internet or original video from the student


voice over

special effects:shadows, reflections




There are limits that should be placed on the students while creating their presentations. The students must "maintain their focus on the goal of communicating the knowledge and skill stated in the objectives." (Morrison & Lowther,pg.226) The presentation must correlate with the assignment and the students should not be distracted by all of the "bells and whistles" within the programs being used. Another important limit that should be placed on the students is practicing Internet safety. The students are responsible for citing their work and must be aware of copyright and fair use.

As our schools become more aligned with the technological advancements within our society and the workplace, it will be imperative that every student graduate from High School with the experience of creating a multimedia presentation.

Morrison, G.R. & Lowther, D.L. (2011) Integrating computer technology into the classroom;skills for the 21st century. Boston: Pearson

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2007). National Educational technology Standards (NETS) for Students. Retrieved October 20, 2007, from

Interesting Newscast on NPR

Great information on online privacy.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Tomorrow, 50K on Thursday!

Alright, I have your attention now! The principal called me into his office last Thursday to discuss a contest being put on by Lenovo. Yes our very own Lenovo, located in Morrisville, NC is giving away a $50,000 Technology Makeover to a school who receives the most votes for their students drawings depicting, what they want to be when they grow up! As the art teacher he came to me for help, but also because every Tuesday during drop-off line at school, we talk about technology and how smart I am getting by taking this class! I have also told him that I am going to get a SMART board from! So, I just have to get through lots of hearts and glitter tomorrow and onto winning a $50,000 Technology Makeover for our school! If we win, I think that will be worth some extra credit!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Reflections: Chapter 4

With so many types of software it is sometimes difficult to know which ones to include in our lesson plans. First, as an educator we must know the full scope of what is available to us and how to integrate the software into our classrooms. There are 5 categories of software: Productivity, Research, Communication, Problem-Solving, and Educational. We already use many of these software tools without giving it much thought, Microsoft Word Documents, Apple Works, Excel, the Internet, email, blogs, wiki spaces, and SMART boards. All five types of software can easily be incorporated into a lesson. Beginning with the students introduction to the lesson, the use of Problem-Solving and Educational software could be used as an effective and engaging way to teach the subject matter. Including the use of games, simulations, tutorials, and drill and practice software all could be integrated into the lesson plan easily, especially if there is a computer lab or laptops available for all students. Secondly, with the use of search engines on the Internet which is Research software the class can further their knowledge on the subject at hand. While on the Internet, students would then be able to use Communication software to share, comment, and educate their classmates. Students could use a discussion board, a blog, or wiki space to facilitate this process. Lastly, with the use of presentation software like PowerPoint, which is in the category of Productivity software, this can be used as an assessment tool for the students to create a final project on all of the information they have gained. Obviously this would be a lot of work for a Kindergartner, however my daughter created a PowerPoint presentation in 2nd grade and a wiki space in 3rd grade. These software teaching tools can be implemented at an early age.

So the question arises as to why a fourth-grade student should learn to use a spreadsheet, database, or video editing software. First and foremost we must educate our youth to be successful in our technologically advanced world. A fourth grader is competent to understand and perform these functions on a computer. The textbook describes how spreadsheets allow students to perform calculations and create graphs with the information they have gathered. The spreadsheet software will display patterns and trends that the student can then analyze. Databases are fast and efficient ways for students to retrieve information that has been stored. Rather than going through page after page of written notes, one can manipulate the database with the simple click of the mouse. This process could then be recorded using digital video editing and uploaded to the class website. The use of spreadsheets, databases, and digital video editing in a fourth grade classroom is in alignment with the ISTE NETS and meets the NC DPI Essential Standard 4.TT.1.2.

Lastly we are asked how the use of different types of software can help improve scores on state tests? The text uses renaissance Learning Accelerated Reader (AR) as an example of educational software that can help with test scores. This software is used at my children's school, Hillsborough Elementary, and I remember the first conference I had with Mackenzie's third grade teacher and she showed me this print out from AR. I was not only impressed that such software existed but the range of information available to me, the parent to see my daughter's progress. The use of AR in the classroom while preparing for End of Grade (EOG)tests makes perfect sense to me on many levels. Not only does the use of AR in a computer lab offer the teacher efficient classroom management, each individual students are being met at the same time therefore receiving one on one attention through the computer and its integrated software. The state of North Carolina has proposed the use of computers for testing in the near future. I have linked the information below.

Computerized Adaptive Testing

In the last year, the use of Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT), a testing system that provides a customized assessment for each student based upon his/her level of knowledge and skills, has become a subject of many state and national conversations. As states seek to provide more and better data to enhance classroom instruction, the CAT seems to be a compelling tool. Data from CAT could provide more precise information than traditional tests about which concepts a student has mastered versus those for which the student needs additional instruction.
The multi-state SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium - of which North Carolina is a governing state - has placed Computerized Adaptive Testing as a central component of its proposed assessment system for the Race to the Top Assessment Grant. If the grant proposal is accepted, member states will have the option to implement the CAT system fully online in the 2014-15 school year or use a comparable paper and pencil assessment. Starting in the 2016-17 school year, all member states will have to use the fully online system. The NCDPI released a report to the Board that discusses the benefits and challenges related to implementing a Computerized Adaptive Testing system in North Carolina. It can be found on the ACRE website under Resources and Publications at


Morrison, G.R., & Lowther, D.L. (2010) Integrating computer technology into the classroom, skills for the 21st century. (4th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson

North Carolina state Board of Education (2010) Computerized Adaptive Testing. retrieved from

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chapter 3 Reflections

We are asked "Why is it important to learn about different technology tools when they are constantly changing?" As an educator it is our responsibility to be informed and stay current with all different types of tools used within our classroom and subject area. As for technology and its forward momentum, we can use these tools to be more effective and efficient teachers. Our students come from a generation that will most likely not remember cassette tapes, VHS tapes, fax machines, and even film! This generation of 21st century learners are digital learners and will need us to be their guides and mentors to teach them how to be competitive in their future college and career opportunities.

The different technology tools described in the text, Integrating Computer Technology into the Classroom written by Gary Morrison and Deborah Lowther are computers, mobile devices, peripherals, and data storage. Each one of these tools has its place and function in the classroom. I think we see the most change happening with mobile devices. Now we can have a digital camera, voice recorder, media player, video recorder, e-books, GPS navigation, and a personal data assistant all in one on an iPad or similar tablet. With the use of a word processing app, in addition to peripherals including speakers, a microphone, and a wireless printer, these tablets could very well replace the use of laptops in the classroom.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to using both a desktop computer and mobile devices within the classroom. As for the students use of a desktop computer it provides a larger monitor therefore more students can participate in the lesson. Even though desktop computers are "immobile and heavy" (p.67) with a SMART board the teacher can still reach the whole class with interactive software and programs. It is actually better to have a stable computer while using the SMART board. Laptops are "an excellent option to provide Internet access to a classroom that normally does not have access." (p.62) Wireless computers are also smaller so they can be easily stored and moved throughout a school building. According to the Table found on p. 67 of the textbook, the cons of using laptops in schools are that they can be easily damaged, stolen, and have a short battery life. So the question still remains as to why a teacher should use both in the classroom. In my opinion the teacher can easily use a laptop for their word processing, communications, and Internet use while students in the early grades would be more successful with desktop computers. In the upper grades, students needs would be facilitated by the use of a laptop or tablet.

With tablets, such as the iPad, kindle Fire, and Samsung Galaxy hitting our technology market in the United States these digital devices can perform a multitude of functions and therefore would justify the cost of the device. There would be no need to purchase digital voice recorders, GPS navigation receivers, digital media recorders, digital cameras, or personal data assistants because all of these functions would be provided with the use of a tablet. As with any major purchase, the school would need to conduct research on the cost per pupil, compatibility with other software programs, consumer reports, and if the product would best serve its students and teachers. In my opinion, the cost of digital devices can be justified by the learning experience it gives our youth. As a generation of learners who are witnessing technology advancements at a rapid pace we must provide them with the information and opportunities to be successful as they venture into college and the work force.

One to One Iniative in Orange County

Below is the facebook feed from Orange County Schools announcing its new one- to -one proposal!

There is also a link to an article from our local newspaper, The News of Orange.

Orange County Schools, NC
District adopts one-to-one proposal. The demonstration at the Orange County Board of Education’s Tuesday, Jan. 17, meeting showed off the proposed one-to-one laptop initiative. The program, a partnership between the school system and hardware giant Lenovo, would put computers in the hands of students and teachers throughout the district.