ePortfolios

Before I began college, I was never really was familiar with ePortfolios. It actually wasn’t until last semester that I began building one and really knew what it was. My take on the ePortfolios were it’s an electronic portfolio that is obviously online and is used to store your information throughout your educational path. The only benefits I saw were it’s a good place to store your important papers and documents (like a USB share drive except an actual portfolio) yet also allows people to comment on your work. I think it is very beneficial to have one throughout college because as i go farther in my education, it is important to keep record of all your papers and important projects so when you graduate you have everything on file. I really only saw ePortfolios as a “storage space” but after I saw this video I realized it can actually be used for more.

With students in elementary I find it difficult to use ePortfolios just because I feel majority of their work is done on paper rather than online so I don’t really see how it would benefit them. But in students from sixth through twelfth grade I think ePortfolios are beneficial because it allows students to save their work and also makes it easier for teachers to give feedback. I was researching more on e-portfolios and came upon this PowerPoint that discusses what it is, how to use it, and how it is beneficial to students.

After viewing it, I realized e-portfolios not only save paper but are the route to go in today’s classrooms. I would have my students create one and have them save their work from all year in my class. I would use it as a way to communicate with them and correct their papers. After leaving my class, I would ask them to save at least one assignment from the years to come that way when they graduate they can see the progress of their education.

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Social Media

I believe just like Clay Shirky, that social media is changing the world. With technology rising by the day, social media is as well. There are more tweets and Facebook posts by the day so it would only make sense to take advantage of this social media instead of ignoring it.

Personally, I like social media for the reason that it allows me to connect with others virtually and see what everyone’s up to in their lives. I also like the fact that in the speed of light, something important can go viral. For example, Clay Shirky gave the example of the earthquake that happened which forced change in China. A few months ago there was a huge fire back home and I actually knew about it before it was on the news simply because of Twitter. Social media is very beneficial because it not only allows you to connect with people but allows you to know things very quickly. But just like there are pros to social media, there are also many cons like cyber bullying and people posting negative things about you on the Internet. (Warning the trailer may be a but scary)

Now although that was a bit extreme, I do think that the trailer shows social media can really affect someone to the point of suicide. I think this is a great point to bring up in the classroom as well because it is important to address the issues that arise with social media to kids. Besides addressing issues to kids, I think social media can have a positive impact in the classroom because it allows kids to connect with each other and the teacher in a whole other way. I was having a difficult time coming up with examples on how to use it in the class so I researched and came upon this blog that shows 100 ways to use social media in the classroom titled : 100 Inspiring Ways to Use Social Media In the Classroom.

Overall, as I said earlier, social media is rising by the day and it is important for teachers to incorporate it in the classroom because it a tool that not only affects our students but society as a whole.

Project Based Learning

For as long as I could remember there has always been project based learning in my classroom. In elementary I would be assigned projects like, “You are the teacher, how would you teach your class how to multiply?” In middle school, it would be more projects like, “How are you the scientist, going to solve the problem of global warming?” And in high school it would be more analytical questions pertaining to the subject we were discussing. I feel Project Based Learning is not anything new because it has been around since I as long as I could remember. I feel Project Based Learning continues to grow in classrooms, because with technology rising, it is very easy for students to google the answer therefore teachers need to create more thought-provoking questions to get the students engaged in what is being taught to them.

I believe there are many advantages to project based learning because of the fact that is is all about “thought provoking” questions, it forces students to think outside the box. Instead of your typical “What is 2+2=?” question, project based learning allows students to critically think, collaborate with other students, and work on their communication skills , which in reality are skills that they are going to use for the rest of their life. I think many students complain that what they learn in the classroom is not useful nor important unless you are furthering your education in that field. ( I agree since I don’t remember even a tad bit of Chemistry from high school.) But with project based learning, I feel it is actually very beneficial to students since it is giving them real life scenarios but with topics that are being learned in class

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#school #quotes Licensed by CC

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Now the only disadvantage I can think of with project based learning is that when working in group projects, one student may do more work than others or there is no “team work” but I think that students can learn from situations like those because in the “real world” you are forced to deal with people who are either lazy or want everything their way.

Now one may think that project based learning is most effective with high school students since they are older but I came across a YouTube video that shows how project based learning is effective in elementary school. 

The reason I brought up this video is because I want to be an elementary school teacher so I was looking up videos that will pertain to me and my students. Now that I know project based learning is effective in any grade level, I was researching ideas on projects pertaining to the elementary school level and came across this website that I think all of you may find effective since it has project ideas (unfortunately only for English) for all grades! Language Arts Project Based Learning for all Grade Levels.

Screencasting

Until I began this class, I actually did not know anything about screencasting. Now, I am a Liberal Studies major and I have a feeling I will need to use this tool in the future so I am actually very happy that I am learning about how to use this program now. After watching the video on how to create a screencasting video, I realized that although I have not made a video using screencast, my professors here have and I loved it!

Last year, I was taking college algebra and since the majority of the class was online, my professor needed to upload a lot of videos on how to do certain problems. Well, I always thought the software he used was cool because his videos were easy to watch, and until I saw this tutorial I realized he was using screencast. This brings me to my first beneficial, educational use for screencasting: math videos. Screencasting is a GREAT way for teachers to make videos that re-explain the lesson, and show examples of how to solve math problems. When I didn’t understand a lesson in class, I wasn’t worried that I did not understand it because I knew he was going to have a video online further explaining the lesson. There were several times where I would re-watch certain parts, or pause the video to solve my problem step-by-step and it really helped me understand the material at my own pace. Screencasting is a great tool to use when teaching math because it can allow students to re-watch the lessons and learn math at their own pace.

Now, it is obvious that screencasting is a great tool for math but what about other projects? Well, according to Nancy Rubin, a blogger I recently discovered, screencasting can be used to teach other subjects as well as stated in the article, What can you use Screencasting for in the classroom? What I liked about her post was she gave specific examples of where one can use screencasting besides in math. For example, in Social Studies, students can create virtual tours pertaining to the history period they are learning about. Or, in science, students can create a step-by-step video pertaining to how to give the electronic configuration for elements or the break down of a cell. My point with these examples are, just like the examples, the possibilities you can use screencast for are endless.

To be honest, before researching more online about screencasting videos, I was a little against it only because my mentality was, “Students won’t pay attention in class if they know the lesson is online.”(It may be a bit silly I know) But after looking more into the benefits of screencast, I came across another website that sums up everything and anything about screencast called CENTRE FOR TEACHING EXCELLENCE: Screencasts. Now although the website talks about tips for a better screencast and what you should put in a video, what I really liked reading (and ultimately changed my opinion to the better of screencasts) was the benefits of screencast. I really didn’t know how screencasts could benefit a younger crowd of students but after reading the website, I realized screencasts could benefit younger students whose first language was not English. By allowing them access to these videos it allows them to view the video on any lesson several times and visually see and hear the lesson, which in return only benefits their English. Also, screencasts allow the teacher to post about material that was not covered in class due to time. Overall, screencast is a GREAT tool for the classroom and I will most definitely be making videos for my students to see. Since I will be making my first one, I looked up tips on how to make a great screencast video and came upon this guy. I thought you all would enjoy watching his goofy tips.  

Wikis in the Classroom

Although I am not the biggest fan of the use of technology in the classroom, I personally really like the use of wikis. I have actually used them before in previous classes and I found it extremely helpful when working on group projects. I think it is an awesome way to collaborate with people in your group but also be able to work on the assignment based on your schedule. I do not know if this would be useful for the younger crowd of students but I most definitely know that for students in high school and college, this is an awesome tool to use in case you cannot get the assignment done in class. I think the most impactful thing about wikis is that everyone has access to the same document and everyone can work on it at different times. One negative thing that may come up with wiki’s is people may take the editing of another person too personal. Or, one person may end up doing all the work, but the cool thing about wiki is that the teacher has access to see who wrote what, so everyone will be accredited to what they submitted.

I was curious to see how teachers reactions were to Wiki, was so I searched on YouTube and found the video below. I think depending on the age group of children and the assignment, I will most definitely be using Wiki in my classroom and in future projects that I have for myself.

Child Driven Education

I was very interested in what Mitra had to say about technology and how it impacted children in different parts of India. I found it fascinating how they taught themselves how to use the browser and, well, the computer in general. I do understand that due to his results he believes technology is the future of teaching our children but I do not agree with him at all. Now, I may be a bit biased since I want to be a teacher, and I do realize that technology is rising and children learn with technology. But, I am also a firm believer that teachers are needed in the classroom for various reasons. I know that a computer can do things that a teacher can’t. But it also goes the other way around as well. A teacher is needed in the classroom to teach students things like how to communicate with people and be there to teach all the different kind of learning styles (visual, hands on, etc.).

Now, I do know he said that for certain things a teacher is needed, but he was a firm believer in technology being the way of the future to teach. He did his research in countries that do not have access to a computer therefore, was amazed when children had the ability to teach themselves on something that they’ve never seen before. I sort of see that as common sense; give a kid a new toy they are going to be curious and want to learn how the toy works. But what happens if the toy is given to them since birth? Wouldn’t it eventually become a distraction? What I am trying to say is, in foreign countries( like India) they have never seen a computer and therefore would use it in a matter that is useful, but look at countries like the United States. We rely on technology like no other. At any hour of the day, if we have a question all we have to do is tap a button on our phones and google it. Nicholas Carr wrote an article called, Is Google Making Us Stupid? where is states the negatives of the use of technology in which I found it very interesting and very true. Of course, technology has its perks but how many times do you see people distracted by their cellphones or by social media? I am no hypocrite because I know I am very guilty of doing both. I know all Mitra was talking about was using technology in the classroom but he never once mentioned that possible distractions that come with using it all the time.

Overall, I do believe he had a point but I do think it depends where you put the technology, and how far one will you allow the children to use it. I am not totally against technology use in the classroom, it would be arrogant of me to completely exclude it from my classroom but I think there just needs to be a balance.

About Me

This is me when I came to Spotlight Weekend almost two years ago.
This is me when I came to Spotlight Weekend almost two years ago.

Hello everyone, my name is Kassandra Rodriguez but I go by Kassy. I am 19 years old, am from San Diego, and am the first in family to go to college. Some quick facts about me are: I am Mexican and Puerto Rican, have 3 brothers, am terrified of scary movies, love roller coasters, am apart of the sorority Phi Sigma Sigma, love Pinterest, and am a huge hopeless romantic. I don’t know why but I really am obsessed with the concept of love; some of my favorite movies are The Fault on Our Stars, Dear John, and The Notebook.

These are my beautiful sisters at a cowboy event we had last semester.
These are my beautiful sisters at a cowboy event we had last semester.

In high school, most people are apart of sport teams but I (being the clumsy person I am with horrible hand-eye coordination) decided to do dance all four years. I was apart of the Ballet Folklorico dance team. For those of you who don’t know what Ballet Folklorico is, it is the Mexican dancing with the big, colorful skirts. Although I only did that type of dancing, I absolutely love to dance to anything! I’m that girl that as soon as she hears music, I’m dancing! Oh, but if I’m not dancing I am most definitely eating. I love trying new food and am always up for trying new restaurants, so if any of you know of good places, please let me know! Speaking of food, I actually work in the food industry. I work at Sabor A Mi Mexican restaurant (on D street near school), and House Of Wings Restaurant (also on D Street).

This was my Ballet Folklorico dance team.
This was my Ballet Folklorico dance team.

I am majoring in Liberal Studies because I absolutely adore children and to me, education is everything. As I said earlier, I am the first in my family to go to college so I see education as my ticket to a better life. Unfortunately, my parents did not have the opportunity to pursue higher  education, so I am not only getting my degree for myself but for my family as well. I eventually want to get my Master’s in counseling and pursue a career as a high school counselor. That’s another fact about me is I love to listen to people so might as well get paid to do it right?
Personally I am not really a big fan go technology use in the classroom so I hope to learn new things in this class and incorporate what i learn into my classroom.  I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about me and wish you all luck in the class and the upcoming Spring semester!

This is me and my not so baby brother.
This is me and my not so baby brother.