The holiday season is in full swing, and that means new toys and learning opportunities for children. Children with Autism and special needs in particular, respond well to structured, repeated, dev...
Mary Glynn's insight:
This blog explains how toys and technology can help develop an autistic child's thinking skills and behavior. The author, Penina Rybak, provides examples of specific applications and games and their ability to advance different areas of concern of the child. For example, playing with Mr. Potato Head and all of his different parts can help an autistic child with object function comprehension.
I was amazed at the different ways toys and technology can help a child with special needs. I know that there are many inclusion programs at many school, so it is very possible that I and other teachers will have autistic and special needs boys and girls in our classrooms. What I liked about this blog is that it provides activities and toys that I can incorporate into my lesson plans or have games in my classroom, so am prepared if I do have an autistic child in my class. I can definitely have a Mr. Potato Head in my classroom which will provide enjoyment for the kids, but also work on object idenitification. The autistic children can play and enjoy themselves while working on crucial developmental skills.
Technology, like iPads and SmartBoards are also being installed in classrooms throughout the nation. Therefore, all of the blog's recommended applications can be used in the class during lessons or break time. The child can play the games during recess or break, and work on his skills. These applications are fun and a lot of them are made for everyone, so the child will not feel different or like an outcast. He will be motivated to learn through fun games, instead of exercises that are boring and take him away from his peers. With the apps and games, autistic children can develop their functional and social skills while remaining included in the classroom.
"New TED-Ed Originals", a playlist created by TED-Ed
Mary Glynn's insight:
Ted-Ed is a YouTube channel made by the creators of TED.com that is dedicated to topics of learning and education through videos. For example, there are videos that teach viewers about the Electoral College of the United States, how the brain works and processes information, and the workings of the universe. I love TED. It makes me think about different topics from others' perspectives and in ways that I would never have thought of myself. Like the TED Talks, TED-Ed YouTube channel brings about learning in a new way and makes it available to everyone through the Internet. It encourages learning and mixing technology with education which I know is the future of education. I think TED-Ed and other websites should be included into our curriculum, so children learn to navigate technology, but also how to use it to learn. Like Salman Khan said, children do not learn in one way. Everyone thinks and acts differently, and learns in their own way. So with informative videos like the ones found on TED-Ed and Khan Academy, education can develop and change to suit the children of the next generation.
Connecting kids to lots of interesting experiences has become a lot easier with Skype in the Classroom a program from the online phone service that...
Mary Glynn's insight:
This article is about the video chat application, Skype, being integrated into classrooms. Skype recently launched a new program called Skype in the Classroom which "connects teachers and classrooms with guest speakers, online lessons, and other classrooms." Through this program, technology is immersed into the lessons. For example, the author of this article, Ariel Schwartz, mentions a lesson called "Mystery Skype" where two classrooms in different parts of the United States connect with each other on Skype, and they have to find out where the other classroom is located. The students then ask the other classroom of students "yes or no" questions about their location and use Google Earth to pinpoint the city where the other group of students is. I find this truly remarkable!! This brings learning to a whole new level. In this one lesson, the students are learning geography, interpersonal communication skills, and technology skills all while having fun! I never liked georaphy growing up and struggled with it greatly. But if I had "Mystery Skype" in my classroom, I would have been more engaged and excited to learn causing my struggles to pontentially be smaller. I would have enjoyed geography rather than hating it.
Schwartz also states that Skype in the Classroom allows guest speakers to connect with the class through video. I love this! By speaking with real life people, the lesson is brought out of the textbook and the children gain first hand knowledge about different topics through experts in the field. It also makes guest speakers more accessable because they do not have to travel to speak in schools. Chidlren can learn about space from astronauts themselves and books from the authors. They can understand the profession from the professionals!! Through the Skype in the Classroom program, children can be inspired to explore new things, gain valuable knowledge, and be excited to go to school. Like the tweet I found about the many ways to utilize Twitter, this article shows another way technology can be immersed in the classroom. I am discovering so many different sides of technology and the incorporation of it into schools across the nation.
This tweet provides interesting ways to bring the 21st century into the classroom, and presents some good ideas on how to get the children more engaged and involved in class.
I have to say that I never really saw how Twitter could be useful in schools. I thought that it was just a way for people to express their immediate feelings and thoughts, and to see what celebrities are doing. I never thought that Twitter could be applied in the classroom in so many different ways! Using Twitter as a bulletin board is a great way to reach children. I didn't even realize that the University of Maryland and many universities utilize Twitter for this purpose. For example, when there severe weather and there is a school delay or closing, President Wallace Loh tweets to the UMD community letting them know whether or not classes are cancelled. Twitter can also be used to send out mini quizzes to students which they can answer for bonus points. Honestly, I never thought that students and teachers could communicate through Twitter in all of these ways! Truly brilliant! The tweet also describes how Twitter hash-tags can be used for organizing information in the classroom. By creating a classroom hash-tag, students can see other classmates' thoughts on class and teachers can look for questions students have. I think using the hash tag can be very beneficial because it's a space where everything can be piled together connected by a single hash-tag. However, it can be a disorganized pile if there is not structure and directions on what the hash-tag should be used for. I think if students are given a guideline on what the teacher is looking for in on the hash-tag (questions, thoughts on today's readings), then the classroom will profit from having a classroom hash-tag. There are so many more amazing ways Twitter can be used in school! This tweet really opened my eyes to the academic ways of using Twitter. I have become more accepting to having forms of social media in the classroom after reading this tweet. I think it is all about the way you use technology in the classroom. If you use it properly, it can change the way we teach and truly bring education into the 21st century.
Together, we will explore the potential of social media as an influential communications platform for relationship building and a tool to drive positive action from supporters such as outreach, advocacy, and fundraising.
Mary Glynn's insight:
This is an event on how to effectively use social media in your relationships, community and life. At the event, a panel discussion of social media experts will discuss "developing social media strategy; building and managing online community; and creating and sharing effective social media content."
This workshop would be great for anyone to go to, but teachers could benefit greatly from it. Sinec so many classrooms are starting to use technology and social media in the classroom, this workshop would be a great way to gather ideas and information on how one could incorporate social media into class without hurting the students' learning. Also, teachers could ask the panel about how to build and strengthen their school's online community. They could find out the best sources of social media to use for outreach. Should the school have a Facebook page? Will the school benefit from an official school Twitter account like many universities, including the University of Maryland, have put into effect? In what ways can schools update their websites to attract prospective families? These questions can all be answered by the panel experts.
I think that teacher, school officials, and school administrators would learn a lot from this event and others like it. It will push their school communities into the 21st century, and they would learn to embrace technology in the best and most effective ways.
http://www.ted.com Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering c...
Mary Glynn's insight:
This video is a TED Talk of Salman Khan who is the creator of Khan Academy, essentially a school online where people learn math and other subject matter through instructional videos and exercises. Khan speaks of the Academy's beginning as a YouTube video for his cousins which grew into millions of people understanding different mathematical concepts through his videos. Khan Academy has over 2200 videos and 1 million students on the site. He is trying to "humanize the classroom," so that 100% of the teacher's time is valuable and being used productively. First off, I want to say that I love the Khan Academy! In high school, I watched some of his videos because I could not grasp some of the concepts of calculus in class. I went online to try and find a visual aid to help me, and I stumbled upon Khan Academy and I can attest that it truly does work! He makes it easy to understand, and breaks down the concept so it doesn't overwhelm you all at once. Khan stated that he knows that one of the most frustrating things is when a teacher asks you if you understand the material after he just introduced it to you for the first time. His program allows you to pause on a lecture, and go back or repeat what he said until you grasp that section. I know it is a struggle to write notes and learn at the same time knowing you are only going to hear the professor teach this topic the one time. With Khan Academy, a student can go at his own pace and on his own time, so he can learn the material without any pressure. He can actually focus on what he is learning and repeat the lecture as many times as he needs to. It also is good for those who are behind and need to review a topic. Khan Academy fits everyone's schedule because it works on your schedule! Khan also mentions his method of teaching which is you learn a specific material until you comprehend it 100%. "You learn until you have mastery." He stated that in schools today, you learn a topic in a few lectures, get tested on it, and then move on. The class not only moves on, but builds upon the last topic. So if a student only understood 75% of the topic, then they will have holes in their knowledge and will struggle as the class moves on because of those holes. I have had many classes where it didn't matter if most of the class did not understand the material. The teacher had to move on with the curriculum to stay on schedule, even if we were struggling with the concepts. Khan Academy takes away that problem because in his exercises, you keep doing questions until you fully comprehend the topic. You aim for mastery, not satisfactory. Khan Academy is a great idea and I truly hope it is integrated with schools around the world. Schools already use videos and technology in the classroom. However, this would really push the educational system into the 21st century. The standards would be set for our generation. This would help the children of the technological age to success and excel in school.
"Lots of teachers are even using social media in classrooms to give shy kids an oppty to ask questions, provide opinions, be seen #cnnparents"
Mary Glynn's insight:
I think this is a great idea! By using classroom hash-tags, students who aren't comfortable speaking up in class can share their thoughts and insights through twitter. They can also post their ideas on online discussion boards. Social media can allow students to participate without feeling embarrassed or put on the spot. They can enjoy school, feel encouraged, and excited to be active in the classroom.
I know that in college I have used clickers in some of my classroom. They are response pads, so when the professor asks a question, students respond by clicking on the multiple choice letter that corresponds with the answer they think is right. The clicker is also registered to one specific student, so when the student responds in class, the professor will now that the student was in class, and participated without the student having to utter a word. I loved the using my clicker. It allowed me to participate without having to speak up, if I did not want to answer in front of the rest of the 200 person lecture. I can see myself trying to incorporate the clicker program or something similar into my classroom because I have experienced the benefits of the program first hand. I think it is important to try and address every child's needs, and for those who are shy clickers and social media can help!