Friday, June 7, 2013

Blog Post 4

21st Century Tools Improving Learning and Technology

I have to start off by admitting that this assignment was slightly difficult for me. I'm pretty sure that I was making it harder than it is. Let me remind all of you that I want to be a high school English teacher. I am accustomed to English class being a critical thinking environment. Critical thinking has always been enough of a tool for me. This assignment made me realize that I need to expand my methods in using technology with my students. I like tools like Microsoft Office's PowerPoint and Smartboard are my lovely assistants when I teach English. They can be used when I interact with students simply because they are visuals.
I had to think harder. Hmm...what else could I use? I have to teach grammar and literature in an interesting manner.

After all, it's the best two subjects in the world! Between you and me, I honestly favor writing.

This assignment taught me to think more about what my students would like to work with and less about being extremely technical. I also learned to broaden my technology horizons.

I want my students to get comfortable with writing and reading because it's the two activities students dread. Even I dread it if the material is a snooze fest. The easiest way to get comfortable with writing/reading, in my opinion, is getting involved with your favorite genre.
Since iPads are becoming more popular in schools around the nation, I think the iPad can become a vital learning mechanism in my classroom if I use it in this way.
1) Initiate occasional group assignment in my lesson plan.
2) Compose a survey that tells me which genre each student likes and place them in groups according to the survey. (This assures that the students can somewhat get along with one another)
3) Make each group compose a short story or analyze a piece of literature using their iPad for note taking using one of my favorite apps: Evernote.

Evernote app on the i Pad

I've been using Evernote since 2011 after my husband introduced it to me. It's constantly updating with ways to be a more efficient app. I use it when I am away from my laptop by using my android app. Whether I'm thinking about a project, a paper, or my book I can always log in to my Evernote account and take notes instantly.

a screenshot of one of Sherri Hudson's Evernote notes
  My notes for English papers
The notes can be as short or as long the students want them to be. They can also create several journals to keep their thoughts, class notes, and personal notes organized. Since I believe critical thinking is the primary tool in an English class I believe getting my students to install the Evernote app provokes the critical thinking since it forces them to translate their thoughts into words. Since it works though email they can email their group thoughts to me and I can evaluate their learning. In addition, they can use it outside of class if they like sitting on a hammock to meditate on their thoughts.

home screen of my evernote account
Evernote Homescreen
If you have a messy notebook and sticky notes lining the bottom of your purse/bookbag GET EVERNOTE! Here is a link on how to use it on the How to use Evernote on the iPad .


Tonya's Murphy's Post #4
Flipping the classroom is a way of enhancing learning. As a math teacher I find this tool very interesting. In Katie Gimbar's video, Why I flipped my classroom, she points out a very important fact concerning classroom learning. She points out that there are three learning types in the classroom: the "middle" group, the "high level" group and the "strugglers." The Middle group in her video is the students who are the average students who are keeping at the normal pace of the class. The "High Level" group are displayed in her video as the sleeping students because they are advanced and bored. The "strugglers" are the students who have no idea what is going on in class and cannot keep up. Flipping the classroom takes learning outside of the classroom and makes learning more of a self paced form of learning. The students who are struggling are able to watch the videos over and over again to try and understand what is going on. This also allows for the advanced students to be able to get ahead in class and push themselves and work at a higher pace. Also, I like how Gimbar set her classroom up in her diagram. She put the teacher in the center and the students, grouped according to learning classification, around her. This allows her to be able to get around to all the students and answer questions.

Christopher Perry's Post #4
Google Chromebook What's one machine that can keep all your documents, files, and friends all together and allows you to share them instantly and easily? It is built and designed like a MacBook, but is an eighth of the price. That would be the Samsung Google Chromebook. This computer comes automatically with built in apps that allow you to collaborate freely with your friends. It comes with Google drive for sharing documents, as well as Google Play for listening or downloading music, and has a built in photo editor and media player to watch your friend's movies or your own. The Chromebook allows you to keep all these apps in one place and will keep everything organized for you. Do you remember the days when you were looking for that document or file and you couldn't find it. Well no Chromebook easily will find it for you, and keep it stored right where you left it. Do you have multiple children, or adults needing the same computer? Well no problem with the Chromebook. You can have multiple users on this computer and have no problem with someone downloading unwanted apps onto your account. Viruses and other "nasties" are all taken care of with the state of the art virus protection plans. This state of the art computer is light only weighing 2.4 pounds, so you can take it anywhere and not be bogged down by weight of carrying a heavier laptop. You don't even have to carry your charger with you because the battery life on this computer is 6.5 hours. Do you have trouble remembering that website you always visit, not a problem for the Chromebook. Now this computer will start downloading that webpage you visit often as soon as you start typing in the url address. Tired of waiting on that slow boot-up time of your old computer. Well now with the new Chromebook, it boots up in less than ten seconds. Now I know you are asking yourself, "Where can I get one of these awesome machines?", and "How much is this new device going to set me back?" Actually they are very easy to find and do not cost that much at all compared to other computers and devices. You can find these computers by simply searching in google or you can go here. The costs of this machine is only $249. I think that this new innovative machine can be a really great investment in all classrooms and schools across the nation and the world. I think it is less expensive then buying bulky computers that take a lot of IT support. These computers allow you to minimize this support and the chrome operating system seamlessly updates and improves itself automatically, and with the available web-based management system allows the administrators to control the access to the different apps from the Chrome app store. There are thousands of apps to choose from and most of them are FREE! What better way to promote collaborative learning then giving students the power and the means to do it with. This machine allows you to talk and video chat with up to nine people at a time. Talk about making group projects easy. I would definitely want to use this device in my future classroom.


  1. Your posts are very enjoyable. I feel like you're talking right to me! Your open-mindedness is going to benefit you in this class and in the education world when you're teaching.

  2. I am not really sure what evernote is. What does it do exactly? How does it help?

  3. Great post. I think that if people have trouble keeping their notes organized that they should definitely get this app. I think that it is great that there is a tool out there that can help students keep all there notes neat and organized.

  4. "I tools like Microsoft Office's PowerPoint and Smartboard " Something missing after I.

    What about a tool you are not already familiar with or really like because you use it all the time? That was my hope for this assignment. Of course, your enthusiasm for Evernote is useful for others. But what did you learn from this assignment?