8-A-1: Web Applications

My work days consist of teaching, tutoring, meetings, grading, answering emails and phone calls.  My days can fill up very quickly.  On any given school day, I have students contacting me to see when a good time would be to meet with them in the virtual classroom for tutoring.  While I typically have daily tutoring times available, students may not be able to attend those times due to a scheduling conflict.  By the time the student sends me an email and the chain continues to see when we both are available for tutoring, we have wasted a lot of precious time.  Emails can get lost in the mix, too!

One way to save time and help to meet my students’ needs is by using a Google Doc’s spreadsheet for student “contact” sign-ups.  As the teacher I can create a scheduling spreadsheet.  I can block off dates and times that I know I will be unable to help students.  Students can then view the document and add their name, what he or she needs help with, and contact preference.

A sample spreadsheet could look like this…

Monday, July 21, 2014
Tutoring or Teacher Contact Sign Ups

TIME AVAILABILITY Please help me with… Please contact me by…
8 AM – 8:30 AM      Bob Jones Solving Equations

Phone

8:30 AM – 9 AM      Anna Smith Exponents

Virtual Classroom

9 AM – 9:30 AM

 N/A

N/A

 N/A

The schedule can continue throughout the day and week.  The key would be for the teacher to continually monitor the spreadsheet.  To help keep track of changes, the teacher could have an email sent after any updates so the teacher can view cancelled or added appointments.

This app can also be used for students to sign up for peer tutoring or parent for a conference with the teacher.  The teacher can secure the app and prevent others outside the classroom for viewing and changing the document, too.  For peer tutoring, students could sign up to be a tutor during a certain day and time or to receive help similar to the manner used for tutoring with the teacher.  The teacher can also use the spreadsheet to keep track of who is helping others, those that need extra help, and when to open the virtual classroom for students to meet.  For parent-teacher conferences, the parents or guardians can also use this same set up to request a conference with the teacher.  This way efficiently helps to pick a date and time that both parties are available.

By using an app such as Google Doc’s spreadsheets, this will help the entire class run more efficiently and therefor promotes student learning and understanding.  In my experience, staying organized and up to date supports a successful classroom.

4-D-1: Wikis in Your Classroom

You can do so much with the use of wikis in the classroom.  Who knew?!  Before this course and researching wikis, I only thought about using a wiki for collaboration on a group assignment or project.  However, 50 Ways to Use Wikis for a More Collaborative and Interactive Classroom, gives several examples on putting wikis to work to enhance resource creation, student participation, group projects, student interaction, for the classroom, for the community, and much more.  This site has AWESOME wiki ideas with examples included.  Many, I can modify and implement for my Algebra I class.  I hope to put a lot of these ideas to practice in the 2014-2015 school year to motivate student interaction, creativity, participation, and collaboration.

I found creating a wiki with my classmates very easy.  I enjoyed this way of collaborating and interacting to create a group project.  The biggest challenge is that sometimes the wiki would not look visually appealing.  Although we would select a certain font or alignment, the wiki sometimes had a mind of its own and would change it.  However, the content and participation aspect of wiki use was easy and convenient.  I have never used a wiki as a formal student before this course.  I learned that I enjoy learning and participating in this manner.

My opinion in using Wikipedia has not changed.  I have used Wikipedia for my personal, learning, and teaching experiences.  I have found that the updated information to be very useful, in most cases.  With any technology resources, I always use caution.  Exploring the resource’s validity and reliability is necessary when using Wikipedia. 

Thus far in my teaching career, I have not had any resistance to using wikis in the classroom.  However, I have only used it for collaboration.  As I dive deeper into using wikis to promote classroom interaction and engagement, I may encounter issues on areas of wiki privacy, validity, participation, and usage.  My plan is to be proactive and create a “FAQ” that can address these possible issues and more.