Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Tech Savvy Teacher-TPACK

The content that I am focusing on in my lesson is the 3rd Grade standard in the Utah Core Curriculum that deals with the geography of Utah. Third grade science standard 5 states, "Students will understand the physical characteristics of Utah's wetlands, forests, and deserts and identify common organisms for each environment." The objective under the standard that we decided to focus on had students locate examples of areas that have characteristics of wetlands, forests, or deserts in Utah. In the lesson students were able to apply the knowledge that they had about the geography of Utah through identifying a variety of landforms.

The pedagogy that this activity used allowed for many teaching methods and practices. Students were given the opportunity to work together in small groups, talking with one another and sharing ideas with each other. The students were not limited to one correct answer, but were able to use their knowledge to investigate the many possibilities of landforms. I was able to assess their knowledge by viewing the pictures that they found and captured from Google Earth. The students also were able to share their images with the class and show more examples to their classmates. This is a good use of technology because students can teach and learn from one another, and it is a quick and easy way for teachers to gauge the students' understanding of the subject, by assessing the picture found by groups.

The technology that was used in this lesson is the Google Earth and screen capturing. This a wonderful program to use because it allows students the opportunity to search for and observe pictures of real landforms within the comfort of their classroom. They can view landforms from near and far. This is also a good program for pedagogy because it allows students to work in groups and share the different place that they found with their classmates. The screen capturing aspect of the lesson is good because it is what allows students to share their findings easily with the class in a future presentation.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Tech Savvy Teacher

The Tech Savvy Teacher

This is Google Earth, the technology that the students used to find examples of Utah's terrain.

Technology can be a great aid to teachers in all content areas, however often teachers do not know how to apply technology in the content they want to teach. Science, in particular, is a content area that lends itself to using technology to enhance student learning. Recently in my classroom, I discovered a fun and engaging way to teach a 4th grade science standard using Google Earth and screen capturing technology.
Content Knowledge. The curriculum standard was to apply their knowledge to locate examples of wetlands, forests and deserts in Utah. During the weeks prior to this activity, students learned about characteristics of Utah’s geography, including wetlands, forests, and deserts. The day of the activity, I used a projector to give a brief review to the class of how to use Google Earth. I then distributed a list of geographic features that I had prepared for a scavenger hunt activity. Then, in small groups, the students worked together to search for the scavenger hunt items, which included forests, wetlands, and deserts in Utah. For this activity they were limited to only searching in Utah, but for other activities they search multiple countries.
Technological Knowledge. Aside from using Google Earth, students also used other technology skills in this project. After locating each geographic feature on the list, the students used previously taught skills to capture the image on their screen and save it on their computer. These images were shown to the entire class later as examples of the geography that was found. This allowed students to see multiple examples of these geographic features in Utah, without leaving the classroom.

This is an example of a student's finding of Utah's Desert. (Southern Utah)

This is an example of a student's finding of Utah's Wetland. (Utah Lake)

This is an example of a student's finding of Utah's Forest. (Near Vernal, UT)

Pedagogical Knowledge. This activity allowed for great teaching methods. Students were working hands on with computers and collaborating in small groups. Students had the opportunity to be creative, and were not restricted to only one right answer. I created a non-competitive environment and gave them sufficient time so they did not rush through the activity, but were able fully participate at their own pace. When they were done finding all the features, I was able to assess their knowledge and understanding of the features by viewing the pictures they captured on Google Earth. The students also were able to share their images with other students at the end to show what they found, and provide more examples of the features to their peers.

This is one groups finding of wetland, desert, and forest in Utah.

By using technology to teach this science standard, my students were able to become active learners and see a variety of features they were learning about, all in their own state. Incorporating Google Earth and screen capturing in my lesson allowed me to include content, technological, and pedagogical knowledge.

Utah Core Curriculum
4th Grade Science

Standard 5: Students will understand the physical characteristics of Utah's wetlands, forests, and deserts and identify common organisms for each environment.
Objective 1: Describe the physical characteristics of Utah's wetlands, forests, and deserts.
C. Locate examples of areas that have characteristics of wetlands, forests, or deserts in Utah.

Technology Used: Google Earth, Screen Capturing

Monday, January 26, 2009


"TPACK" stands for Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge. The most effective way for a teacher to teach would be when they use an element of all three areas of knowledge. Technological knowledge refers to using current technology in the classroom as a teaching tool. Pedagogical knowledge is understanding the art of teaching, how students are most likely to learn and different management techniques. Content knowledge means knowing the material that you are teaching with great understanding. Each of these types of knowledge is very important, and by having a combination of all of them a teacher can teach so that students will retain and use. This is very important for a teacher to know and understand so that they can help their students reach their greatest potential.

After we talked about TPACK we were able to look at and talk about the many different resources and tools that are available to help incorporate Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge. Some of the programs that we looked at were Stellarium, Google Earth, and temperature technology. All of these programs are so cool and very useful for teachers! I think one of the coolest thing that I looked at was Google Earth and the way that you could zoom down to ground level. This would be very useful in helping students learn about geography and different landforms. Our next project in class is to create a lesson plan that involves all three types of knowledge; this will be really cool to see what my group comes up with and what other people in the class come up with too.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Week 2- RSS

So during class last week it was a little overwhelming and confusing about what exactly a RSS is. It was really neat to actually know what a RSS is and use it. I think that this will be really useful to me to be able to keep up on educational news. I think that I am really going to like this class and all of the resources that it will provide for me to use in the future. There are some links listed on the side of my blog that will direct you to where you need to go to find cool information.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Technology Background

So this is my first blog post! It was cool to create my first blog. I have used computers for many different purposes. Mainly e-mail, Microsoft Word, and facebook. I really don't know too much more than that. So I am excited for this class and learning all that I can about technology. This should be fun!