TL-III Teaching, Learning, and the Curriculum
As a teacher I have facilitated technology-enhanced experiences that address content standards and student technology standards. I have done this by using technology to teach other content areas. The skills I have focused on are creativity, innovation, collaboration, researching, critical thinking, problem solving, digital citizenship, and learning technology operations.
One area I focused on is giving student ways to use technology productivity tools to communicate ideas and show what they have learned. Being a teacher of younger students I focused on using word processing, graphic organizing, and presenting of work to others. For younger students typing can be a major hindrance to using technology, so along with using productivity tools I also have taught typing. As a teacher by teaching word processing I have taught more than just how to communicate ideas, but also other aspects of technology, for example use of a mouse, opening a new document, saving a document, appropriate size of font for print and presentations, one space after all punctuation, including periods, alignment, printing, closing a document and an application (Lancols, 2006). I have tried to standardize my classrooms usage of word processing applications. I have students always type papers in the same font, size, alignment, and print to the same place. I have become aware of the need for this from reading style guides and also by looking at students work in other classes I have not taught. Many a time teachers allow students to use whatever size and font they like and this leads to papers that are hard to read. I believe we need to prepare students for the work world where clear fonts are better. I have taught direct instruction on using word processing applications to students. In this process I have taught students where to save their work and where to print to. Standardization of each process so it is the same for all students has created norms in my classroom and made the use of word processing more effective. This has allowed over time for less of a need to teach how to use word processing and a focus going into the content word processing is being used to meet.
One program I have used with great success for graphic organizing (webs, venn diagrams, lists, outlines) is Inspiration. Inspiration and it is junior version, Kidspiration are an easy way for students to create printable and upload able graphic organizers. I have had a great success in having students use Inspiration to create ways to show their learning. What I really like about Inspiration is not just the projects it has allowed my students to create, but easy of its use. I have had some of my reluctant readers and lower performing students be able to use it and even show other students use it. One time I had a student who most teachers feared having take the leadership role and show many students how to use it. One project that I had...