29 June 2017

Exploring Technology Tools in the Classroom - An Article Review 3rd Edition

The article titled “Incorporating Digital Tools to Support the Writing Process” focuses on two classrooms that use technology to create more authentic writing opportunities that will hopefully motivate their students. Both classrooms had students with some sort of special education needs.
In the first classroom the teachers used Skype and a Wireless Keyboard. The wireless keyboard provided the students and the teacher with more mobility. The teacher was able to move around the room with her students as they researched to become more engaged with them. The students were working on writing expository texts. For their final paper they had to write about if they wanted a class pet. The class discussed the topic together, follow by researching animals they wanted. Then, without having the ability to take her kids to a pet store, the teacher decided to Skype with a PetSmart employee. The employee was able to answer questions for the students while they recorded answers. When the interview was over the students asked to create a FAQs flyer for the store. They continued their research and eventually developed a flier for the store. Then they shared the file on Skype with the employee to get feedback.
The second classroom used Popplet and Book Creator. The students were working on recount writing where the students write about past personal events. The teacher first used Popplet to model her brainstorming. The created the plan and left the plan up on the board for students to see. Once students had come up with plans including a variety of pictures, vocabulary, labels, etc. they partnered up to share plans. Then they began using Book Creator to write their stories. They were able to draw and use pictures, as well as write their text. Once the books were finished the teacher was able to share the books among the whole class on their iPads so all students could read the stories during independent time.
Although both classrooms included students with special needs, these are all apps and tools that would benefit any classroom greatly. Writing is always a huge struggle, especially in third grade when there is a huge, dramatic jump from basic paragraph writing to multiple paragraph writing and researching. Once Common Core Standards came into play, it seemed like writing became mostly geared toward expository types of writing. This is the type of writing most students will do over their educational career. It is very hard to get students invested in their writing and realize how important writing will be as they continue through school. I also think it is important they see how writing is used. I never thought about using Skype as a research tool, especially with the lack of money to go on field trips. I personally have never used Popplet or Book Creator, but the idea of using a tool to electronically brainstorm sounds like a huge benefit. It allows students to easily move ideas around and revise their thoughts. I also love the idea of Book Creator so all students and I am assuming parents will be able to easily see end products once students are finished. Overall all of the ideas given in the article really seem to authentic, and extremely motivating ideas that would help students with writing.
Saulsburry, R., Kilpatrick, J., Wolbers, K. A., & Dostal, H. (2015). Getting Students Excited about Learning: Incorporating Digital Tools to Support the Writing Process. Odyssey: New Directions in Deaf Education, 16, 30-34. doi:EJ1064118

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