Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Brief description of Effective Webquest and Usage in Classroom:
Webquests are inquiry-oriented, based on a doable, engaging tasks using pre-defined materials from the Web, and can be short-term or long-term for the purpose of gathering information. They are useful for teaching strategies in that they diminish the chances of kids aimlessly searching the net by giving them guided instructions as to what they should accomplish. Most Webquests include what some call "building blocks": Introduction, Task, Process, Evaluation and Conclusion. They ususally begin with short paragraph that sets up the task such as a role or scenario, etc. This intro paragraph should include the main question(s).
I like the idea of using Webquests because:many kids enjoy computers these days, they are a wise use of computer time, they can be used in all subjects, they give students something hands-on and many different activities an info gathering can be accomplished in a shorter amount of time compared to just letting students search for the answer without any direction.
In grade four, one way I would use Webquests in the classroom would be for groups to find information about a Native Tribe. I would set out different categories like food, traditions, dress, roles, work, location, etc. and they would then each present what they found. Like I said, Webquests could be used in all subjects so what I like about them is that the teacher can be really creative in what they develop for assignments as long as they relate to the Program of Studies. There are endless possibilities for this tool.
Web Awareness Canada: Response to Internet safety in the Classroom:
It is not safe to assume all your students have been taught about internet safety. Maybe they do not have computers at home or maybe their parents are computer illiterate so they have never talked about sfety issues. There may also be kids in you class that are engaging in unsafe practices and are not aware of the dangers. For those reasons I think it is very important that interent safety is discussed as a proactive strategy instead of reacting to concerns as they arise.
If I had to alk to my students, these are the points I would touch on:
  • facts and opinions (misleading information
  • naked pictures
  • hate sites
  • personal privacy (registration, email)
  • chat rooms (predators)
  • email (junk mail)

I would also make clear expectations of how they use computers and the net and set out clear, predictable, consistent consequences of what would happen to a student if they were caught viewing inappropriate picture or info, chatting at school etc.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

How I would use Spreadsheets in Education
Include: -How I would use online tutorials in the classroom
-A link

I have used spreadsheets before but only in a social statistics course. At first I thought it would be way too difficult to implement them into elementary school subjects because most of the things I learned how to do on spreadsheets were very complex and took me a long time to figure out. After reading through the links I have realized that spreadsheets have many other uses and that, yes, elementary students can make use of them just as good as university students but of course, in different ways.

For my own use, as a teacher, I would use spreadsheets for keeping track of marks, missed assignments, creating checklists and other class management ideas. I am always suspicious of technology though because sometimes things get erased (like at the university study centre when the system shuts down and people have to start all over again at 2 a.m.) so I think I would also have paper copies of really important information.

For the students, I would first use spreadsheets in Math. I do not know exactly how I would use them but after teaching some basic math concepts the pencil/paper way, I would then let the students use spreadsheets in a to add a little differentiated learning to math – more than often less people are good and math and even less people enjoy it so incorporating this tool would be beneficial to some students.

Other ways I would use spreadsheets would be for timelines, weather graphing, interview information, and having students manage finances if there was some type of fake store in the classroom or fundraiser going on. Those are all I can think of as of now. I wonder if my TA uses them in any way-because maybe I will have some other ideas when I do my practicum.

If I had to teach my students about spreadsheets I would send them to an online tutorial to help in explaining the basics. I would have it up on a screen and we would navigate it together. I have two favorites. The first is “School Spreadsheet Safari” at http://library.thinkquest.org/J0110054/ and the other one is called “The A to Z of Spreadsheets” found at http://www.mathsnet.net/a2zofssheets.html . The first is one to use in elementary because it is simple and has great graphics. The second link would be for older kids-maybe junior high.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Concept Mapping
1. What is it?
2. Advantages/Disadvantages
3. Integration example/Outcome(s)

1. Concept mapping is visually representing concepts and ideas, in the form of a web, which shows the connections between them. They are a way to organize information making the whole picture easier to understand. They have many uses: brainstorming, integrating new and old knowledge, communication of complex ideas, to support reading comprehension, etc.
2. Some advantages of concept mapping: They would be beneficial to visual learners. They would be useful in introducing new concepts, studying, organizing information as well as showing how different concepts relate to one another. They are also used to show different hierarchies. A huge advantage is that concept mapping could be used for any subject or topic if used appropriately, e.g. Drama: using it to show how all the characters are related to each other in a play, French: introduction of new vocabulary words, for example, starting with “body” in the middle and then all the body parts coming out of that word (in French of course). Another advantage would be that these maps could be done easily on the chalkboard, overhead and paper.
Some disadvantages would be: having too much information and links, making the whole map very cluttered and hard to read. With regards to the programs such as Kidspiration and Inspiration, maybe some schools cannot afford them or do not think they are necessary programs to incorporate. Another disadvantage may be that some kids cannot interpret them –they are not visual learners.
3. As an example of integrating concept mapping into my classroom, I would have the students make a rough concept map while having a few chapters form a new novel read to them aloud. They could put the main characters in the middle and others coming out of them. On the arrow they would state one word to describe the relationship of the people to the main character and to others. I guess it would be called a “character map”. This would be done on paper first as they were listening and then completed using Kidspiration.
Outcomes:
P.3(1.2) create visual images by using such tools as paint and draw programs for particular audiences and purposes.
P.4(1.2) balance text and graphics for visual effect.