From Print to Pixel

This report “Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up 2015 Annual Report” talks about emergence of pixel based digital tools including videos, games, animations and simulations, as an important tool for learning in classroom. As highlighted in this report the primary benefit of using digital content with instruction is to help in 1) engaging student learning in classroom, 2) learning beyond classroom, 3) personalizing instruction for each student, 4) increasing quality and relevance of education, and 5) improving technological skills of teacher in classroom. The statistical diagram about Teachers’ use of digital content in the classroom – 2012 vs. 2015 reveals that 68% of teachers use videos found online in their instructions, followed by 48% of the time when they use games as a medium of instruction. Closely looking at the data and statistics, we see that teacher in Elementary grades are more likely to use game-based learning environment in classrooms. Greater accessibility of YouTube, Khan Academy, NASA and Ted Talks videos into education has open up world for teacher to include videos as a method of instruction in classroom. An emerging trend of using flipped classroom is also gaining interest among teachers. Although only 16% of teachers have used flipped classroom, 35% of teachers are interested in getting trained to implement this model into their classroom.

There are many ways this report will help me plan my future instruction as an elementary teacher. I think videos are a great way to introduce a new topic in classroom. As stated in the article “scientists say that human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text”, it will keep elementary students engaged for little longer and develop interest in the content area. I also like the idea of using flipped classroom, since it gives teacher an opportunity to provide student access to knowledge before they come to the class. The classroom time can then be used more effectively, by spending more time working on practical knowledge. It also gives teacher an opportunity to work one on one with the students that are struggling with literacy content. This report provides plethora of ideas that I can use in my classroom like video games for science, virtual field trips for social studies and using social media like YouTube, blogs and twitter for educational purposes.



CommonSense Education Certificate

I completed my certificate of training for Digital Literacy & Citizenship Curriculum in Elementary School Curriculum  from Common Sense Education.  This website provides detailed lesson plan for technology, which can be easily integrated with other core subjects. I will surely use this website in future to plan my lessons effectively including various current topics like email etiquettes and digital citizenship.

Certificate of Training

Equity or Digital Divide?

As I read through this article, Digital Divide Is ‘Major Challenge’ In Teaching Low-Income Students, Survey Finds by Betsy Isaacson, I realize a Digital divide exist in this society and it is affecting large number of students. In the findings of the survey report it is concerning that the digital divide as we think of it is much greater than what we think. Isaacson states in her article that 3 percent of low-income students have access to Internet at home in contrast to 50 percent of higher-income students, which is a huge number. It is very much true that we can spot almost every teenager using smart phones in an urban area, it is not hard to think of days when students will be allowed to use their own devices in school for learning given that the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is becoming a growing tend these days. So how does these lower income group student cope up with this reality?

As I study this course Technology in Education for my class and learning to work on various technology projects like flipped classroom lesson, digital story creator and other educational resources available on Internet it is disheartening to know that students and schools in low-income area have no access or minimal access to technology and Internet. Digital divide is a major concern, the Wall Street Journal reported in the article, “The Web-Deprived Study at McDonald’s” that students from low-income group have to use free Internet access at McDonalds and Starbucks to complete their school work.

One of the main reasons for Digital divide is that schools cannot afford enough computers and students do not have technology at home. Digital divide also raises a very important question of equity, free and appropriate education is a fundamental right of all the students but not all students receive them equally. To bridge this divide in my classroom, I would allow students to work on computer and Internet during guided activity time, extra work time or spare time will be allotted so that they get advantage of using internet catching up with technology. Another suggestion I have for schools is to partner with Businesses and get a hotspot for educational use in school and homes. I would also like to make suggestion that both federal government and state government should provides some incentives in form of tax rebates etc. so that more businesses come forward and help bridge this digital divide.

Flipped Classroom Lesson

For my flipped classroom lesson assignment, I decided to make a Phases of Moon video for fourth grade class. For this flipped classroom lesson plan I first made a presentation in Microsoft Powerpoint with some pictures and animated videos available online. Since I had a Mac book Air, I used Quicktime player to capture screen recording with voice over. I think it is an excellent tool for Mac Book user since it was super easy, although I had to rehearse a lot with fluency of my speech!

                           Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.44.14 AM

I used iMovie for editing my video created through Quicktime. It was a tedious job to set frames and edit clips making sure it is presentable. Given the time frame I had to produce this video I think iMovie is an excellent tool for editing videos and adding effects.

Lastly, I used EDPuzzle to add quiz and questions in my video related to the topic. It was super easy to add multiple choice questions through EDpuzzle but it was a bit annoying to use it through Google Chrome and I had to later switch to Safari for making my videos appear in my account. Another problem I faced with this website is it too long time for my video to upload so I had upload it through YouTube.

It was a bit of struggle for me working on this project given we had limited time to explore all the cool software but I had amazing time working on my first flipped classroom project. Below is the link for my final video. Enjoy!

My Reflection on The Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher

In the article, “The Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher” the author Michael Godsey is convinced that the role of a school teacher in the coming years will shift from being a content expert to curriculum facilitator. Godsey believes that in coming 20 years, students will receive educational instruction from one large computer screen called a “Super-teacher” and teachers need not to be a curriculum expert rather they will be more of technical facilitators.

I somewhat agree to the point raised by Godsey in the article that in coming years technology is going to take over the traditional methods of teaching in the classroom but disagree that teachers will just function as a technical facilitator. With the fast changing technology, I agree that the teachers will have to find innovative ways to teach and will have to embrace technology in everyday lesson plan. Teachers should utilize free lesson plans website like TeachersPayTeaches and videos from Khan Academy and inculcate them with curriculum when necessary. But we also know that each child learns differently and teachers have to adapt different teaching methods in a classroom to facilitate diverse learners. Some students are visual learners some are kinesthetic; a teacher need to understand needs of students in a classroom when deciding a lesson plan in class. Teacher not only acts as a content area expert but also helps in developing social and emotional skills of their students. Students gain a valuable relationship of trust and affection towards a teacher, which cannot be replaced by technology. Students can learn content knowledge by watching videos on computer screen but need to apply and share knowledge under the expert guidance of a teacher. Teacher can introduce podcasts and flipped learning in classroom to keep students motivated to learn new subjects but group activities, peer learning and brainstorming sessions are equally important. I would like to conclude this by using a quote from Bill Gates that “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.”


Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud

I loved watching “Build a School in the Cloud” TED talk by Sugata Mitra. In this video Mr. Mitra talks about his initial “Hole in the Wall” experiments with a group of children and access to a computer and Internet. These experiments resulted in self-organized learning by these children only by using a computer and Internet. These experiments are called “Hole in Wall” because he made a hole in wall and placed a computer in it with free access to Internet for the children living in slum area. These children learnt the concept in very less time with no help or guidance of a teacher. Mr. Mitra claims that if children are left alone with a computer in hand and then tested on any learned concept they would reach same standard as any office secretary in the West.

The main idea that a teacher can use from this video is the concept of “Big Idea” and SOLES, which is Self-Organized Learning Environment. I agree with Mitra that the role of learning should be changed from making learning happen to letting learning happen. This can be done by giving school children a learning environment which is Self Organized, a teacher should raise the question about big idea or learning concept and students should be given free access to technology and work in a group to let the learning happen at its own pace. I totally agree that this type of learning can be easily integrated with the core subjects like science, math and social studies in which students lead the project and use their imagination and creativity to explore a new concept. The teachers should ignite the spark by raising questions and students should learn by exploring and experimenting. Teachers can guide the students, but it is the groups of students that are responsible for learning by letting it happen using technology. After all technology is shaping the future generation!!


BAM Radio Podcast – “My 3 Concerns About Flipped Learning, How I Got Over Them”

In this podcast, Jon Bergmann is talking to Katherine Hale about using Flipped Learning and how she got over her concerns about using it for literacy and math class. Katherine is a former 5th grade teacher specializing in literacy, math, and personalizing learning with use of one on one iPads. When Katherine was asked by school administrators to instruct using flipped classroom method her initial response was no. Katherine had concerns over success of using a flipped classroom with students coming from low-income and diverse background. The major concern that Katherine had was, 1) accountability of students, 2) Is it worthy of her time and 3) how can she create a personalized relationship with students. She wanted to ensure that students are not playing games or get distracted when watching videos in her flipped class.

Katherine took a class on Foundation of Idea Flipped Learning and started making her own videos of teaching lessons. She wanted to maintain a relationship and connection with her students so making her own videos of lessons helped her a lot. Katherine prepared mini lessons video on read and write workshop for students to watch at home and they post the answers to question or strategies using padlet or a blog. This ensured that students are watching videos and participating in an online discussion. Katherine expressed that this exercise helped her a lot to differentiate students who are struggling with the topic. These lessons were also helpful for students that are at grade level but are scared to admit their problems. When these students get an opportunity to work prior to class then they are more eager to participate in class discussions.

Are podcasts something you would consider for professional learning in the future? Yes I would definitely consider podcast for professional learning in the future. There is plethora of podcasts available on Internet and on varied subjects to choose from. Since teachers have to be face paced and catch up with new technology to teach students of 21st century, podcast can become a very essential professional learning tool for them. Also, I liked the idea that I can pause an audio and take notes while learning.


Powtoon – Brings Awesomeness to Your Presentations

I have always struggled with making PowerPoint presentation due to limited time and access to variety of animation effects. Powtoon is a 2D animation software, it very user friendly and quick way to create presentation or a movie. I created a lesson plan using this software and the best part is that I could create a presentation by editing a sample movie. The major benefit of using this website is that it gives us variety of images, layouts and animations to choose for our presentation. It also gives us option to use different type of transition effects, which is very interesting. Since most of students in classroom are visual learners, this website is an amazing tool which can be used by teachers to create lesson plans, introduction and important messages. Students can also use this website to create a short story or work on assignments using a combination of voice, text and picture. The only downside of this website is that the free version has limited access to animation and layout. Below is the link to a quick movie presentation I created on Our Solar System – Inner planet using Powtoon.

Powtoon link –