Graphic Design & 4-year-olds

The idea of teaching a young child about a complex idea is always intriguing. Going in to teach kindergarten students, I always struggle with thinking of ways to reach students, relate complex information to that age, and simplifying the information for the students to have the greatest opportunity to fully grasp. This article drew in my attention because it hits all the points of taking something that sometimes adults struggle with and getting 4-year-olds to understand the basic concepts of graphic design.

The presenter created the presentation in a way that students that age can relate. The first thing the presenter decided to discuss to get the students drawn in was the concept of toilets and how they are designed and created. Of course this got the students to laugh, but it also drew their attention in to the idea of the presentation because it was something that all students that age knew of and honestly, LOVED to talk about. That is the first way to get students to learn more of a complex idea beyond their age.

Being a teacher, especially today, it is always important to make information and lessons relatable to the students. This is important at any age. The only difference is that older students are able to understand this complex idea with the usual vocabulary, unlike kindergarten aged students need vocabulary used at their level. This is something that during the first year I feel I will have the hardest time with. There is so much information to teach but how is that I can put that lesson on the students age level?

4-year-olds and 50-year-olds can all understand the same information and same concepts. The only difference is in the way they learn it. An educator should never take a way an opportunity for someone to learn something knew, even if they feel it is beyond their years. No information is unable to be learned, it is that of the educator who needs to take the time to create an effective way to reach the students and have them understand whatever information is to be taught.

Explaining graphic design to four-year-olds

Bridging The Gap

The information read on equity, really caught my attention. Through the classes I observed, the impact technology has on the students in and out of the classroom is huge. It has become a way of teaching students. Through this class, we have learned different ways to reach students through the internet and different devices. But through learning that information and seeing the benefits, if low income students do not have access to a device or the internet then how are we as teachers supposed to take what we have learned in this class and use it in the classroom?

Something that stood out to me while reading, was the idea that without the use of technology for low income students, teachers are having a hard time creating lessons because they are having to change it up to not incorporate the technology use at home. You can’t only have half your class completing the technology assignment and the other half doing something completely different. Low income students do not deserve to be skipped over and looked beyond just because they do not have the same accessibility as higher income students. It is important as educators to find ways to bridge this gap. We need to incorporate technology in the classroom today because it is becoming a way of life. Everything is done through the internet. It is important for our students to know how to use the internet and be able to gain knowledge through exploring it.

Within my classroom, even in kindergarten, technology use will be an important aspect of my curriculum. Kindergarten students today do have access and the capabilities to use the internet appropriately. They are capable of doing work on the internet and it is important for them at an early age to gain experience with technology and the internet. This experience is also needed to be gained with low income students who may not have access to the internet at home. But how do we allow for those students to have the same experience?

Teacher creativity comes into play during this. Something that I think is helpful would be to set allotted time during the class time to allow those students to work on such assignments that require the internet. This can be during free time or rest time. Also, teachers can also allow time in the beginning and end of the school day for students to work on their assignments using the available technology. This is something that might have to be approved but I feel this is definitely something that I would offer in my classroom if there were students who needed the access.

With the use of technology and also the idea that many low income students do not have as great of accessibility as higher income students, teachers need to be aware of how they are creating their lessons. This does not mean take technology and the internet out of the curriculum or lesson. This just means that maybe instead of having an assignment every night using technology or the internet, spread it out a little and vary it up. Teachers also need to be creative with their assignments and time. Teachers have the ability to change up their lesson and perhaps have the assignment using the internet be a classroom assignment instead of a homework assignment. Then the teacher can create something else that everyone is able to complete at home instead.

Bridging the gap is something that needs to be addressed. Right now, today, we are facing it more than ever in low income communities and schools. We as teachers need to do whatever we can to lessen this gap and give all students equal opportunity.

Digital Learning 24/7 – My Reaction

Receiving students’ feedback is always a key component in how a classroom curriculum is put together. Today, college students give feedback at the end of each semester to their teachers regarding their thoughts on the class and what could be done differently to have the class learning structure be more effective. This report shows a great deal students’ perceptions on the classroom layout and their thoughts on how to be active learners. Becoming a new teacher it is important to understand the thoughts of the student’s, especially on the use of technology in schools today. With technology and the digital world having such an impact on the younger generations, a great deal of emphasis on the use of technology in the classroom needs to be understood.

The article made a valid point by pointing out, “Learning is no longer limited to only 8am to 2:30 pm but rather can be extended and amplified beyond traditional school day hours.” This is what digital learning is all about; the ability to extended the learning process beyond the school day. Students are able to take a more active role in their learning. Colleges today are challenging to get in to and it is important to have the skillset with the digital world to have the greatest opportunity to further your academic career beyond high school. Incorporating the digital world into the classroom allows for the opportunity for students to be able to take the classroom learning home with them. One of the key findings from the report stated, “The ability to use technology within school or class environments engages students in active learning and establishes a foundation for the development of a personal ethos or self-directed independent learning.”

The introduction of blended learning to me is something that still needs a stronger foundation to grow upon. I think it is a great opportunity for teachers and students but I feel that this digital way of learning is still just in its beginning stages. When looking at it like a flipped classroom, this is a way of teaching that is beneficial but is still being developed and understood across the board. I think once there is more understanding on the effectiveness of blended learning, will we be seeing more of this being used in the school system.

Today, tests are mostly given online. Just like when taking the Praxis, there is rarely an option for a paper test. The only way to complete the test is digitally. It is important for students to be able to grasp the skills of taking an online test. This adds to their skill set and shows great benefits on their future. This is not to say that I feel that all tests should be online because the ability to take a paper test is still important but with the increase of digital tests, introducing this way at a young age will only show benefits. The idea that online classes are to be used in high school does not appeal to me. In my opinion it is so important for classes to be done face to face with an instructor during the developmental stages. There are ways to incorporate digital learning and putting different areas of learning online but to have the entire section of the class or the entire class performed digitally takes away from skills students develop in the traditional classroom. Online classes for colleges have shown great benefits but in my opinion I think online classes before college would show negative impacts in the future.

All in all the information gathered from this report is important for teachers to read and understand. It allows us to gather information on how students want to learn and the best way to get the classroom to be an active learning setting. You want the students to be able to have the independent learning capability and the digital world allows them to do so. Even as a kindergarten teacher this information is valuable to how I will organize my classroom. With high importance put on the use of technology, it will be important to incorporate a great amount of technology in the curriculum. Teaching the students the standard skills needed for digital use during kindergarten will only prepare the students for the next academic level and develop the foundation needed to be able to succeed digitally.

Math Class Needs A Makeover

The TED talk I watched was Math Class Needs A Makeover with Dan Meyer. Even though I am not looking to teach math, I see how important math is to everyday life. I think the direction math curriculum is going will hurt our students long-term. Students will be expecting all the information at once, but that is not always the case.

Math curriculum today is looked at as formulas and step-by-step instruction to get to the end of the problem. The idea that students need to problem solve and figure out the steps on their own has been thrown out in some cases. Math teachers today are fighting with the fact that students are in a hurry to get to the final answer, rather than taking the time to completely understand the information.

Patient problem solving is what is lacking in math curriculum today. Students jump right to what the formula is rather than taking the time to review the word problem. Giving all the information at once disrupts the idea that students should use critical thinking to determine the next steps. If you think about it, do we even remember the formulas we were taught back in school? I remember having to take apart a problem and solve it on my own. This is what I recall most and what has helped me retain the information. The formulas for the most part go out the window. So if our students today only focus on the formulas and then end up forgetting them later on, how will they succeed in the real world?

With math being around us everyday, it is important that we create the patient problem solvers. We need students to take the time to understand the problem and be able to formulate it on their own. This will help them to determine what information they already know is important and what information is still needed to get to the final answer.

Students today are being given too much too soon and are noticeable lacking the important skills to work through something independently. The answer or way to the answer is what they look for right away. We, as educators, need to take the time to break students from that habit and have them think about ways to solve the problem and take the time to reach the answer. This in turn will allow for students to make more connections and hopefully grasp the information better.

The FlipSide with Jon Bergmann

When visiting BAM! Radio Network there were a number of different podcasts that I found to be intriguing and interesting to listen to. The particular one that I am going to discuss within this post is in regard to flipping the classroom. This is a big topic in todays educational system because it is another way to reach the students and it is important today to have a variety of ways to teach material.

The podcast was called Flipped Classroom Radio and this particular podcast focused on common mistakes when first flipping the classroom. The biggest mistake when first deciding to take the step to a flipped classroom is questioning who should make the videos. This is a big question, that me as an upcoming teacher would come across as well when flipping my classroom. Should the videos be made by the teacher or should they have someone else make the videos, such as using YouTube videos?

Jon Bergmann gives many reasons as to why the teacher should create the videos. The reasons include:

  • The students will value the teacher making the content.
  • Helps to build and continue the relationship with the students.
  • Students seem to be more engaged and become active learners when it is their teacher on the video.
  • The teacher has the ability to create the video how they want the information to come across to the students. The teacher is able to teach the information that best fits the learning styles of the students in the class.

Through listening to this particular podcast I learned something new about the flipped classroom that will be important when I have my own classroom. With becoming a teacher it is important to know that you, as a teacher, will be continuously learning and approving with the students. Every year will be different and every student will have a different learning style. This leads to the teachers needing to be up to date with new teaching techniques that can be used to meet these new needs or standards. Podcasts are a great way to learn new information. They are quick and to the point. BAM! Radio gives a ton of different types of podcasts on a variety of subjects that can be useful to teachers. I think as I continue to learn through my years of teaching, podcasts will be a way I will enhance my teaching skills.

The Resources Are Endless

When looking at the number of resources, it amazed me how much was out there. There are so many different creative avenues a student can use when working on something.

The resource I chose to discuss in this post is Tabul. This site is great! It is such a neat idea to put together the words in a certain shape. This can be used in a number of ways. Teachers could use this site to create different things around the classroom or a certain image for a specific assignment. Students could also use it for a project by picking an image of what they are doing their project on and adding words associated with the project.

This site is so easy to maneuver through and I think is a great assess to have within the classroom. These resources are just another way that shows the positive effects technology has on education today.

I actually had too much fun on Tabul and created a few different things. It was also neat to see what others came up with. Below was my image that I created about basketball.

I recommend this site for everyone, not just teachers. It is a great creative tool to have handy.

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Extracurricular Empowerment

Empowerment: the giving or delegation of power or authority to; authorization; the giving of an ability; enablement or permission.

Comparing the definition of empowerment and an antonym of empowerment, such as rejection, which would you prefer your students to have or feel? When watching the video on extracurricular empowerment, the word empowerment and what it meant was what stood out to me. Why would any teacher want their students to feel rejected? All students should feel empowered and what they are thinking or wanting to do as being important. When teachers are completely against the use of technology, it can be viewed as them being against students’ ideas. When thinking about when I was younger, I was always given a piece of paper, some crayons, a topic, and told to draw what I thought. Today students are still given that paper and crayons, but are also given technology. When looking at some of the accomplishments the kids in the movie made with the extracurricular use of technology, we should allow our students to go and let their imaginations run wild even when it involves technology. I think that teachers today feel that if students are given free reigns of computers or iPads that they will abuse it and do something that they shouldn’t. Students need the opportunity to show that they are capable of using technology appropriately because many of them have these amazing ideas that will never be heard if teachers keep rejecting them.

Digital Residents vs. Digital Visitors

John White’s video introduces the point of digital residents vs. digital visitors. Through watching the video it seems to be that residents find social media to be their “home”, they create their life on the web and broadcast all information possible. Many see the social web as just that, the increasing amount of social media use for them. Digital visitors look at the social web as a different resource. They see the number of tools that are available for them. Visitors seem to be the ones who use the web for their advantage and do not mind the use of social media.

Today’s generation of students are digital residents. This generation is known as a digital native. They have grown up with the web. Social media and all of the vast resources available have always been there for them. Many of them do not understand the use of a large textbook, or how an encyclopedia is how you mainly found your information when writing a paper. Through the video it was shown that our students do not move out of the digital resident quadrant. They are they for social enjoyment. This is something that as an educator it is important to know.

Teachers today can take what they know about their students and their use of technology and incorporate it into their classroom. The social web and the use of social media will help teachers understand their students better. It is important for us to take social media and connect it to what the students will be learning. This is how the students today are understanding information, through the web. This is just another teaching method that can be used to attract students to taking a part in their learning. We can take what the students are comfortable with on the web and use it to grab their attention. Then we can take what they do not normally use and introduce them to new ways of using the web for educational purposes.

Since the beginning teachers have been trying to figure out different ways to reach their students for them to better understand what is being taught. Many have found that incorporating something the student likes such as sports or music into the lesson can help increase their attentiveness. This new generation is showing that they need something different to increase their attention and desire to learn in the classroom. Incorporating technology and the use of the social web/social media is just a new way of reaching our students. We have to listen to our students and find what best fits them. By doing this, we will be guiding our students to the greatest success.