The 5 C's Reflection

The tech tools to use in the classroom

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My Deeper Understaning of the 5C's:

Technology has significantly changed the way in which students learn and how teachers teach. Learning about the 5C’s has validated my belief that educators must change their way of teaching to meet the needs of the way students now learn.

As I was researching the tools that I would use for each of the 5C's, I asked colleagues what their recommendation were, based on what they have used. Surprisingly, many of them had not heard of most, if not all, of the tools mentioned. I understand that ALL teachers Collect, Curate, Collaborate, Communicate, Create, + , with everyday educational planning and interacting with students and each other. However, teachers need to use the 5C’s with technology in their classroom. Technology offers students a new way to create and express themselves (no more poster board, diorama’s or book reports on cereal boxes. He-he!) It also invites critical thinking at a higher level and allows students to research and discover new concepts at a much quicker rate than in the past.

Granted teachers are on different "tech" levels in regards to experience and comfort level. Technology should be used in order to expedite learning and to make the lesson more engaging for students. Moving forward with educating our students, I feel that teachers should be educated in the 5C’s in technology. We need to grow and learn with our students. It is a changing world and we need to find exciting ways to motivate our students.

As I explored the many resources available for teachers, my first thought was to peruse the tools that I have not seen or used before. (except for google docs….that was a no brainer for collaboration) :) I did notice that many of these tools could be used in multiple categories of the 5C’s. Another criteria for choosing, was the cost. There are many free programs available for teachers, so I did not waste my time perusing through the ones that charged a monthly fee. I then looked at the use for teaches AND students in a 5th grade classroom.

Below are my reasons why I chose the tool and ways I have used them (or anticipate to) in my classroom. I only wrote about two, but added a third picture of a future possibility.

Connect/Communicate

Skype:
Skype is a great way to venture outside your classroom without ever leaving the building. Teachers and students can connect with anyone, anywhere in a live meeting. I have used Skype many times and found it to be one of the most easiest, inexpensive, and valuable "field trips" my class has ever taken. Some examples of how we have used Skype is having an various authors speak to us, seeing a dolphin trainer in action at the Georgia Aquarium, listening to the curator at museum in New York tell the students about a new dinosaur exhibit, and recently, Skyping with a Policy Advisor in Washington, D.C. It could also be used to collaborate with other classrooms around the globe.

Edmodo:
Edmodo is the perfect example of falling under multiple categories. Edmodo could also be used for Collaboration. It is the classroom Facebook, yet more safe and secure. Students and teaches can engage with each other outside of school. Teachers can post homework assignments, start online discussions, share files, resources, and more. The students log in with a private access code so no personal information needs to be given. Edmodo offers webinars for teachers to help with the set up and daily use. This could be used for writing projects or Literature Circle discussions. One advantage over Google docs is that videos can be posted and discussions are seen as a thread. I feel that this tool can help teach the young emerging social media users online etiquette and can help to create digital citizenship.

Collaboration

Google docs:
Google docs allows teaches and students to work together on the same document at the same time. It is very user friendly and offers the opportunity for classrooms to “go green” with the SHARE feature. The collaborators do not need to be in the same place or even work on the document at the same time. There is a ‘chat’ and ‘comment’ function, which makes working together even easier. Beside a word processor, Google also offers a Presentation, Form, and Spreadsheet program. We have used Google Form for creating student surveys in math and then showing the results in a graph form. We also use it daily during our Writer’s Workshop, where me or my students can make comments or offer feedback. Google offers tutorials for all that they offer.

Kidblog:
“Blogging is what the teenagers do,” said one of my 5th grade students when I mentioned we were going to start a blog. Kidblog is a safe, private blogging platform made especially for a classroom. Easy to set up and start. Students can add posts, videos, and images to their blog, share, and read their friends blogs. The teacher is able to edit inappropriate comments and control what is posted. Unlike some of the other tech tools used in schools, students do not need an email address to sign up. This is a nice option. Blogging helps students to organize their thinking and they will be putting more effort into their writing, since they have a real audience. Although I have not tried Kidblog yet, I liked that it also allows students to connect with other students outside of our classroom. Once they learn the blogging etiquette, I’d like to give that a try. After Spring Break, I will be using Kidblog to share their Rebecca Caudill book reviews they have been working on. I’m hoping this social piece inspires them to read a book a peer recommended. One other plus to Kidblog is that it offers an app for the iPad. This will be beneficial since I have a student with an IEP who uses an iPad for daily assignments.

Curation

Juxtapost:
I selected Juxtapost as a curation tool since it offered an option to post a private board with no “following”. It is a way to bookmark sites and save them on one spot. A “Juxtapost It!” button can be added to your toolbar to make posting it simple.
Some uses for Juxtapost in my classroom:
  • It could be a place to showcase their work at Open House.
  • Students could use this to bookmark the websites they are using for a research report.
  • Students could create an online poster as a project.
  • I could use it to organize websites for students to use with their Civil War project.
What I wasn’t thrilled with this is the “more like this” button. It is possible that a student could find a website that may not be appropriate.

Symbaloo:
I love Symbaloo as a curation tool! Symbaloo allows you to have all your favorite websites at your fingertips. It is very easy to use and can be added to your computer’s home page. There is no need to type in a web address manually, since the click of the button takes you right there. Multiple tabs can be used for different topics. A Symbaloo bookmark can be added to the tool bar for easy additions. I have used mine with my class to give them option for keyboarding practice, Social Studies topics, and Digital Safety. (http://www.symbaloo.com/shared/AAAABlhflfUAA42ACr56-A==)

Create

emaze:
emaze is a fun, visually appealing tool to use to make presentations. Can be used by both teacher and student. The nice thing for teachers is that old Power Point presentations can be uploaded and put into this format. The timing of the slides can be controlled or it can be presented manually. The students will love this option for presentations and will find it easy to use. (Even younger grades)
The only drawback for me was that final products will be made public unless there is an upgrade.

thinglink:
thinglink is a great way to share interactive images. Photos, images, websites, videos, text, etc. can be added to an image to make it come alive. Easy to use with any grade level for basically any subject. A wonderful way to introduce technology while students introduce themselves. It can be used for a geography lesson, biographies, reports, quizzes, etc.