As a special education teacher in my twentieth year of teaching, I have seen many technologies come and go. I completed a master’s degree with an emphasis in technology in 2005 and have applied many of the skills I learned to my classroom. I was the first teacher in my building to embrace the use of the SMARTBoard and one of the first to use an iPad with students. I dabble in web design and have created websites for classroom use. Even with my experiences with using technology in my classroom, I still feel inadequate when it comes to certain areas. Technology is changing all of the time. As a teacher, I have a responsibility to continue learning about new technologies that are being developed and consider their application for use in my classroom.
Today’s students are using technology at school and at home. I chose this article to learn some tips to help students understand how to use their devices for educational purposes without allowing the devices to become a distraction. Hertz stated that “Every time you switch from one task to another, you break the flow you had in the one task so that you can pay attention to the new task” (2017a, para. 7). Adults have a hard time juggling multiple tasks simultaneously. For students, this struggle is even harder. Devices provide amazing opportunities for students to learn and explore.
Students need to be “deliberately” trained in how and when to appropriately use their devices (Hertz, 2017a). I appreciated Hertz’s idea of teaching and modeling proper device etiquette for students. This particular article focuses on middle school and high school students. However, as more students are using devices in the earlier grades, this is a skill that needs to be taught to elementary students as well.
In my own classroom, I must make it a priority to have discussions with my elementary students about how and when to appropriately use their devices. I need to be a model for my students. They will learn by watching what I am doing and how I respond or act in a certain situation. It is my job to teach them how to maximize their learning.
The internet has opened up the world in a way that our forefathers could never have imagined. However, it has brought many new concerns about safety. I chose the article on internet safety for elementary students because it is a major concern for schools today. Children, even very young ones, are learning and connecting with teachers and family members through the internet. To many adults, myself included, it is mind-blowing to think of the potential dangers that children are exposed to online. “It’s vital that we explicitly teach young children how to protect themselves online” (Hertz, 2017b, para. 2).
Hertz (2017b) posed three concepts to consider when teaching students about internet safety. First, students do not automatically transfer what they know about real-life strangers to those found online. Secondly, even though strangers can be very dangerous, not all strangers want to hurt someone. Finally, it is much harder for a student to walk or run away from the danger when the danger is on a device, oftentimes inside their own home. Hertz noted, “they [students] don’t have the skills necessary for handling tough situations” (2017b, para. 3) in an online environment.
The idea of “stranger danger” is engrained in most people from an early age. Online strangers and dangers are relatively new. As a teacher, I need to be ready to help students transfer their “stranger danger” skills to an online environment. I have had conversations with students about how the person on the other side of an online conversation may not be the person they think it is. However, I never really thought about making the connection between that idea and the stranger danger skills they have more than likely been taught from an early age.
As a special education teacher, I am always looking for new ways to collect assessment data on my students’ progress. That is what drew me to this article by Vicki Davis. “Good formative assessment removes the embarrassment of public hand raising and gives teachers feedback that impacts how they’re teaching at that moment” (Davis, 2017, para.12). Today’s teachers need to be able to quickly assess students and then immediately use that information to guide instruction.
I appreciated the author’s comment that you need to know about multiple programs and the strengths and weaknesses of each in order to meet all of the needs in your classroom. No one tool will complete every task you need it for. This article provided several assessment tools that I was not aware of. I would like to explore these tools to see which ones would be beneficial for my classroom, including Socrative, Let’s Recap, Fluency Tutor, Plickers, and QuickKey.
Formative assessment is a large part of what happens in the classroom on a daily basis. Teacher are presenting material and then watching closely how their students respond to the material. We are always asking ourselves questions. “Are they understanding?” “Do I need to explain this in a different way?” “Do my students know enough about this topic to move on?” I would like to investigate some of these tools to see which ones will help me to effectively gather the answers to these questions so that I can quickly drive my lessons to meet the needs of my students.
Davis, V. (2017, May 8). Fantastic, fast formative assessment tools: Checking for understanding is good for both students and teachers. We’ve rounded up a variety of digital tools to help you do it. Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/5-fast-formative-assessment-tools-vicki-davis
Hertz, M. B. (2017a, July 25). Digital tools and distraction in school: We should be deliberately teaching middle and high school students how to manage their devices. Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/digital-tools-distraction-in-school-mary-beth-hertz
Hertz, M. B. (2017b, September 28). How to teach internet safety to younger elementary students: A lesson plan for helping students as young as kindergarten to understand how to be safe online. Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/internet-safety-younger-elementary-mary-beth-hertz
Created by: Casey Jo Burrus © 2021
updated: January 24, 2021
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