Case Study 1
After having completed the two lessons on Power Point (PPt) and Prezi, it can be said there are many differences. The pros of PPt are that it is easier to use and there are tabs to label such as home and design and from there you can figure out what to do. The layout of a PPt is neater in my opinion than that of a Prezi because you don’t have to create a “path”. The only con for PPt is that it’s only accessible with a USB unlike Prezi which can be pulled up with internet, in fact that’s the only pro for Prezi. Prezi isn’t easy to use or self-explanatory. The path from the first slide always looks messy and generally the placing of words or pictures within the circle must be perfectly precise. If had to choose between the two I would pick PPts, but I think both are highly outdated for the classroom. None of my classes since middle school have used either as they had smart boards in all classes and some schools even have Promethean boards. However, in college Prezi seems to be what most professors want you to use.
My mom has been a teacher for over 30 years and she uses notebook software for her smart board and really was shocked that some teachers still use PPts. She has never used Prezi. According to Dr. Maryellen Weimer she found that power points hurt her students because 82% copied almost every or every word for of the power point (Weimer, 2012). Many educators, however, do feel that it keeps them on track and organized with the lesson at hand. In my personal experience I have always found note taking boring even if the lecturer does ask us to use our own short hand and not copy word for word. Perhaps these power points should be more of an outline than complete pieces of information.
According to the website commonsense.org many educators feel that Prezi is a great tool for students to collaborate even if they cannot be together physically. Pros for educators is that there is a free upgrade. However, many find there is no easy way to upload audio and the effects can tend to look distracting if the content is not solid. Some users find that Prezi gives you a more innovative and creative canvas to create your lesson or presentation (Common Sense Education Prezi Classic, n.d.).
Case Study 2
I did my first word cloud on ABCya.com and from my experience I think it’s quite easy to use and is made for smaller children in elementary school. I thought of a topic and for me I picked Elementary School because that’s what I will be teaching when I finish my degree. I then started typing words that I felt are correlated directly with being in a classroom setting at an elementary school. The second world cloud I did was on wordcloud.com. I felt this one gave me a lot more creative ability in colors, fonts and styles. This word cloud would be more acceptable in High School or College settings. I did the theme for this word cloud on make-up because it is one of my hobbies and a passion. I added words surrounding the different types of make brushes and different make up you can apply to your face. I think the overall concept would be great in the classroom. It could be a project for a group of students or just an assignment. If there a subject that a student needs to know key words about or information in general, this would be a great way for them to study. I was unable to save my work as a link because most required a sign up. However, I did take pictures of the word clouds and pasted them in this word document.
After doing some research I found a website with different ideas that could make word cloud useful in the classroom. The article suggested doing an icebreaker with the students during the first week of school, their answers will always only be one word, so the outcomes can be hilarious or serious. The best part of the word cloud is that it includes everyone in the classroom and helps make connections among students. If you want to form a close connection among your students, then you could ask specific questions. Ask your students what is their main stressor right now? This will help students with empathy. If you thought the term “flashback Friday” was just for Instagram, you’re wrong. Teachers ask students what they’ve learned for the week. This is also a great way for students to brain storm ideas for writing and topics. (Kerr, n.d.)
Monica Fuglei, of Concordia University in Oregon says that she believes word clouds can help students with different learning styles. A lot of visual learners can become overwhelmed when they see copious amounts of text in front of them. Word cloud is a way to present them with large amounts of text in a way they’ve never seen before. (Fuglei, n.d.) It’s also a great way to help students identify new vocabulary they haven’t encountered before. Formative assessments can be made by student’s personal world clouds. For example, if students must read a passage from a story they may be asked to identify vocabulary words they may find useful.
As a future educator I believe that being able to learn comes from building on prior knowledge. There is no better way to do so then using word cloud. One great feature about world clouds is that many have the “remove” feature which allows students to change their thoughts and/or remove a key point from a topic. For example, if you are teaching a class about a character in history you just taught, you could ask the students in groups to come up with words that describe him or her and his or her actions. As you go through each group and discuss as a class then the students can make decisions on if they agree or not and to keep the word or remove it from their description (Tumelty, 2015).
Ironically enough I found a review on Wordle. Wordle was the word cloud I was unable to complete because it was complicated and uneasy to use. My computer wouldn’t allow me to download the adobe flash player either because it detected a virus. So according to common sense educator the cons were “site doesn’t offer additional information for understanding how diagrams are made, and several steps are required to make illustrations into shareable image files” (Gannon, 2013). However, overall it was rated 3 out of 5 by common sense education and a 4 out of 5 by teachers. They do agree that word clouds can be wonderful for visual learners and those who need help with spatial representation. (Gannon, 2013). This was part of my problem also. I tried to open this on a different computer and I couldn’t figure my way around the website at all.
According to some research done in a journal article I read: “an important feature of the teaching strategy was a constructivist student-led approach to learning in which students worked in small self-selected groups to facilitate peer learning. Research indicates that working collaboratively is critical in many business environments and identifies benefits in peer learning” (Miley & Read, 2011).
After reading several articles online I haven’t been able to find many websites or blogs that give negative feedback on word cloud. In fact, it seems that most classroom teachers can agree it’s a great way to stimulate the student’s prior knowledge and allowing the student to realize where they need to grow or learn more for use of the subject presented. Word cloud allows students to use their creativity and put forth team work with other students and accept their ideas, this is a wonderful way to prepare the students for life in the work force. It presents new ways for students to view text and develop an understanding. I personally agree that it’s a great resource for teachers and students of all backgrounds.
Fuglei, M. (n.d.). Fun With Words: Boost Reading Engagement With Word Clouds. Retrieved from A blog by Concordia University-Portland: https://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/classroom-resources/word-clouds-reading-engagement/
Gannon, V. (2013, May). Wordle. Retrieved from Common Sense Education: https://www.commonsense.org/education/website/wordle
Kerr, R. (n.d.). 10 Word Cloud Activities for the Classroom. Retrieved from Poll Everywhere Blog: https://blog.polleverywhere.com/10-word-cloud-activities-classroom/
Miley, F., & Read, A. (2011). Using word Clouds to develop proactive learners. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 94.
Pappas, C. (2013, November 24). The 8 Best Free Word Cloud Creation Tools For Teachers. Retrieved from eLearning Industry: https://elearningindustry.com/the-8-best-free-word-cloud-creation-tools-for-teachers
Tumelty, S. (2015, April 3). Edudemic connecting education & technology. Retrieved from 5 Ways To Use Word Clouds In The Classroom: http://www.edudemic.com/5-ways-use-word-cloud-generators-classroom/
Case Study 3
For case study 3 I chose to compare Vivi and Adobe Connect. They were the two sources I felt were close enough in content which consists of broadcasting to a classroom or multiple with video and chat or allowing students to work together through these programs. Are installation directions clear and accurate? The installation directions for Vivi were simple, all you had to do was click on the download tab and it installed within 5 minutes of choosing “windows”, it was fast and easy! I don’t think that the Adobe Connect directions were helpful, it was far less intuitive, and I wasn’t even able to find a way to download the application without creating an account. When I signed up I was sent a link to sign in with and was told multiple times that my password and username were incorrect when I had just made them! I also had trouble because one I downloaded Vivi I was asked for an organization’s name and it wouldn’t take a fake one.
Is documentation clear and accurate? I think the documents were clear enough to read for both. Are required computer skills grade-level appropriate? I felt that the adobe connect was better for the specific grade level of student’s because it asked for grade level once I was able to input my grade level and if I was an educator, etc. However, Vivi didn’t ask me for a grade level and the typing skills were a bit above. Is content error-free? Are screens well designed and easy to read? I had no issue with reading the screens, they were nothing like Skype for example which is always blurry and lagging. Does the program require few or no additional plug-ins? I didn’t have to download any additional plug-ins for either of the programs.
Is the program bug- and error-free? I would say no, I have the most trouble with adobe connect when it freezes or was lagging. Vivi was fine. Does media load correctly and in reasonable time? The Vivi media didn’t necessarily load on time and sometimes I had to wait before I could continue. Adobe Connect I didn’t have much issue with. Are video and sound clear and accurate? Surprisingly, I was able to hear and sounded clear when testing out both programs. Are hyperlinks accurate and reliable? Yes, that was good. Is navigation intuitive? I feel with the app Vivi was a lot more explanatory because you are only given so many options such as present my screen and then you choose what you’d like to display on the screens. I don’t personally like Adobe Connect because I feel like it would have better use for teachers and administrators because they can have a “meeting”. But, I do like the collaboration section because students can work on their projects when together or apart. Does the program meet educational objective or reliably perform required tasks? Yes, most of the time. When I was at USC Salkehatchie I would be in classes where the teacher used Vivi so she would be in Allendale one day and in Walterboro the next, but we were able to connect with the other class and her as well. Adobe has a live chat which I do like so you don’t necessarily have to talk. Are content and/or tasks performed grade-level appropriate? I think they both can be adjusted depending on which tools you use such as the ability to allow multiple users in adobe would be for older 4th grade and higher students. Does the program maintain user interest? Vivi has a more modern feel and so I like it better because I feel like it could be easily updated if necessary. Adobe Connect feels like old school programming. Does the program extend student learning and/or save time? The collaboration part of Adobe feels like it’s a great use for students who are in younger levels and may need to do a group project without meeting up outside of school. Vivi is focused more on within the classroom. Is technical support easily available and generally helpful? Yes, I was able to chat with someone within a few minutes and everything was fixed for the most part. Or it would manually search for errors. Are peripheral materials provided? No, I don’t think so. I didn’t see anything like that. Is it a comprehensive Help tool available? Yes, Adobe connect had a tab for Support and Help tool was underneath. Vivi Support allows you to type in your question after selecting their Support tool.
Overall, I really like both programs for what they offer, and each is a little different. I think Vivi is great for classes where you need to broadcast to one classroom or multiple and allow interactions. I think the Adobe Connects feature of meeting or collaboration can work for teachers and students who have projects or meetings on the semester. Vivi had a much more modern feel which I do appreciate for the younger generation while Adobe felt more like a blocky and an older design. They both had great tech support but if I had to choose I would pick Adobe Connect because it allowed me to make an account without an organization. It also offers resources to both teachers and students, equally.
Case Study 4
The website I found to compare to Wikiful was Tiddlerwiki. Tiddlerwiki is like Wikiful because it allows you to create pages, edit them and add links to other web pages. However, Tiddler is a personal notebook so it’s not quite the same. While it cannot be shared it could still be useful in the classroom for personal use if you’re a teacher or a student. There seems to be a way to export the Tiddler, but I was unable to attach it here. I really dislike this website, personally. I was able to make links and several “pages” on the Tiddler but that was it. I wasn’t even able to link a “page” to another because they aren’t separate pages. This website isn’t user friendly nor does it allow for creativity or individuality. There is a menu that lets you choose an icon at the top when you are editing a page that is like Wikiful for inserting links or bold text, for example. I like this feature but that’s the only part I was able to make use of while creating my mock WebQuest. There is a side bar with open, recent, tools and more. I noticed there is also no way to have collaborators or admins much like Wikiful. I hope that my opinion and review of this website is helpful in the future. I will attach an image below of my Tiddler since I’m unable to share it. If there is anything else you need from me to show my Tiddler please let me know.
Case Study 5
For Case Study 5 I chose Mastery Connect and Class Dojo as the software I would research. I picked Mastery Connect and Class Dojo because I found out that they are both software programs purchased and used in the school district where I live: Colleton County. My mom and aunt are both teachers in this school district, so I decided I would ask them for their opinions on both software both negative and positive. Elementary teachers use both Mastery Connect and Class Dojo because it is more middle childhood oriented. Mastery Connect makes grading much quicker and efficient. Mastery connect allows you to pull reports based on the test or quiz to see where they need to improve individually and as a class. Mastery Connect also has ready made tests if other teachers share it.
Class Dojo offers a system for students to collect points based on good behavior and be rewarded throughout the year with parties. Students can also lose points but it’s up to the teacher if the parents and teachers can see the negative aspects of the student’s points or day. Parents can download the Class Dojo app and connect with teachers through a private message or just what other teachers have posted on the timeline of the app such as reminders and pictures. It really helps the parents feel connected with their child’s teacher’s especially if they work a lot and are too busy to attend every parent-teacher night. Each child is given a code and family members can share it among each other to invite an aunt or sister to participate. When my niece was in Elementary school, I used Class Dojo to keep in contact with her teacher’s when her mother was at work. When I was observing a student’s, parent had contacted the teacher the previous night for information on how to help his son with his homework. The teacher was able to draw out on paper a few examples for the student to take home.
The school I have been observing all semester is Forest Hills Elementary, the students do most of their work on Chrome books, such as quizzes, tests and benchmark testing. The student’s grades when they are done are automatically sent to the teacher’s laptop at her desk where a camera monitors who is using the laptop and viewing the grades. The students are asked to turn in a paper copy as well with their work on it. Having a paper copy helps the teacher tell who just clicked through answers and who took their time to read and work out their questions. The teacher is supposed to check over the grades because no technology is always accurate. The grades popped up with a color also, green for A, yellow for B and C and failing was red. Once the grades have been confirmed by the teacher they are transported over to the online gradebook.
However, there are glitches in Mastery Connect in which sometimes when the grades are exported, they are exported incorrectly, and a teacher will have to do double work by importing the correct grades. If there is a written part in the test there can be a written rubric for what you want from the students. If a student doesn’t take the test seriously then the feedback isn’t accurate. A con for Class Dojo is that sometimes parents can overwhelm teachers especially if they don’t reply fast enough. I think it’s important to remember that teacher’s shouldn’t have to respond after a certain time in the evening.
My technology plan is to impact learning in a positive way for my students. My classroom will help students to write their papers and learn grammar and social studies effectively and efficiently. I decided I’d use Hilitext as my classroom software. Hilitext helps you find the key words in whatever documents you have open on your computer screen, this could include emails, google search or even an article you’re trying to read online for research. The next software I picked was what2learn, this is a software that provides you with educational games for your students that you can make yourself! As a student in college I observed several classes where students were allowed time to practice a particular subject through games on their Chromebook. Now you can create and link your students to these games that you can design to focus on a particular subject or topic.
My goals when using this technology such as Hilitext are to help my students find resources easily and to discover key words that they can continue to look for when doing research in the future. As a former student I had a hard time learning how to do research papers and what to look for when finding sources. With What2learn I am able to create games for students who may need more work in a specific topic that we are working on while other students complete quizzes or class work they can practice on their Chromebooks.
The school I teach at already has computers and an online database to search for resources, with Hilitext I’m able to further enhance the speed they use to discover these resources by allowing it to highlight and point out key words for the students. What2Learn is also available for computer or Chromebook and can be accessed by students outside of class with at home technology. I’m able to Target students based on their level and link them to games specifically designed for them.
My school would just need to purchase Hilitext and What2Learn (if there is any cost). The school already has computers and Chromebooks for the students to use in class. The purchase of these software programs will improve my students in all subjects and topics they are struggling in. Specifically research papers and finding resources which will be a skill that my students will have to know how to do in college and preparing them is important, that is why I chose Hilitext. I chose What2Learn because I can make games that will challenge students and they can be math problems, grammar, vocab or about the nation’s history. Each game is personalized for each student’s weaknesses and where they need to make improvements.
I feel these programs are self-explanatory but I could always ask my school if there is any way they could pay for me to attend a few technology enhancement classes to further improve my class. After all, my school is competing within the state to have the best test scores and have been awarded grant money for new software and hardware as well as grants for teachers to learn more about technology in the classroom.
The sources will be maintained by me or the school if necessary. I cannot find a cost for the two software programs I picked so I assume they are free. They will be a one-time download or purchase if necessary and should only need flash-player updates if necessary which I’m capable of doing myself.
I couldn’t find if there were any cost for Hilitext or What2Learn but if there were I doubt would cost more than $20 each. I would pull from my technology grant in order to afford this software for my students. I believe that it will be worth the costs and the administrators of my school will agree.
I will compare my student’s research papers to their previous papers to see if their grade and resources improve. When students are working in the classroom on their chrome books on their papers I will walk around the class to see if they are having an easier time finding sources with the highlighted key words. I will ask the students how they do on their What2Learn games and see if their understanding of math skills or vocab, for example, has improved through homework, quizzes and tests.
Hilitext. n.d. Website. 6 November 2018.
What2Learn. n.d. Website. 6 November 2018.