ShowCase: Computer Applications in Education

Task 1: Building a Weebly Home
Weebly is a free website creator which is easy to use and produces a professional looking site. I could easily drag and drop pictures, text, video, hyperlinks to other websites. etc. There is also a blogging page which can be added to the website. I think there is an increasing number of educators who are using a classroom website. The website can be very informative and it is a good way to stay organized. You can have: pictures, links to useful websites, calendar, assignments, announcements etc. The blog page is interactive and allows the students to make comments.

Task 2: Journal Article/ Summary Reflection
"Creating a Virtual Learning Environment for Gifted and Talented Learner"
The article I reviewed gave me a starting point in understanding how teachers can integrate the curriculum with information technology to reach out to the needs of every student: special needs students, gifted students and students who are not as advanced. The author gave examples of teaching practices and websites that integrate technology in classrooms. I believe that information technology is the future of the classroom learning environment.

Task 3: Experiencing a Learning Web: Software Copyright and the Law
The research into Software Copyright was very useful for me as an educator.  I learned about the copyright laws,  software purchase agreements, software piracy and Acceptable Use Policy. As an educator I have the responsibility to ensure that the software used in the classroom conforms to the requirements outlined in the purchase agreement.

Task 4: STAR Center
This was one of my best experiences during this course. STAR Center provides skills to people with disabilities so they can become independent. I was very moved and enlightened by the facility and the people who are working in this environment. At the same time I learned a lot about how they use the technology to help the students with their special needs.

Task 5: Virtual Connection

Photo Journal - Voice Thread
Voice Thread is a very important educational tool. It provides an online space for the teachers and students to upload a picture and record their thoughts and understanding about the picture. A Voice Thread project can be used for students with different learning styles where they can share their learning and receive feedback from the teacher/peers. In my ESL classroom I will create Voice Threads for the students to be able to practice either repeating or responding. Voice Thread can be used for practice or for assessement. The students could explain the digital pictures taken during the field trip and how they relate to the topic discussed in the classroom.
Bookmarking Websites - TrailFire
This application was used to share websites with your students on a specific topic. TrailFire takes a list of websites and stitches them together in a trail which can be easily accessed by clicking forward and back. This tool can be used successfully in a presentation or to facilitate classroom web exploration on a specific topic. Students can also add comments to the pages on the trail which helps them to learn independently.
Using card games can be a great tool to teach basic concepts. When students play a card game they use all their senses through speaking, listening, seeing and handling the cards. We can also add the increase in fine motor skills and manual dexterity that can be gained by playing a card game. Therefore I will include this tool in my ESL classes especially for the younger kids.
BINGO game is a great educational tool because it can be used to teach all types of topics: from multiplication tables to spelling. By rewarding the students for winning the game, they become more interested and motivated about learning.
Puzzles are another fun game to use in the classroom. They are very educational because they involve acquiring new vocabulary and terminology, spelling and reasoning. Puzzles can also be used for different learning styles. The puzzles can be customized for a specific subject and there a lot of websites the teachers can create a curriculum based crossword. 
I love quizes! This the best tool to assess the students' knowledge and abilities. It can also be used at the beginning of the classroom to assess the students' prior learning.
Interactive PowerPoint Game
This last task was to design a game by using PowerPoint software. The game had a board with twenty-five questions written on PowerPoint slides which are hyperlinked to other slides containing answers.  If you want to play with teams, you can design a score board which will keep track of each team's score. This is a good activitity to increase student participation and work as a team. Teachers can also use different game templates on the Internet like "Hollywood Squares"; "Jeopardy"  and "Who Wants to be a Millionaire". It is just another way to motivate your students, hold their attention and have fun during the  class session.

Task 6: Teaching and Learning through Lesson Plan Development
After we learned about so many ways you can use technology in classroom, we went back to the core of teaching in the classroom: the lesson plan. We developed a lesson plan which incorporated use of technology in the classroom. It is very important to remember that the lesson plan needs to be aligned with the standards, needs to have well defined learning objectives and has to be written in such a way that any substitute teacher can teach the specific topic.