Sunday, October 26, 2008

Interactive Spreadsheets

This week was spreadsheets and they were not the boring rows and columns of black and white numbers that you think of when you think of Excel or spreadsheets. We created our own interactive spreadsheets which were tailored to a subject and grade level of our interest. By adding logic statements, students could fill in the blanks to the questions and get a "Yay" or "Boo" response, which also had a point value associated with it. Also, we were able to change fonts, colors, add cool headings, and pictures to make them look fun, inviting, and age appropriate.

It was a good experience working with Excel even though I've used it before. What we did in class was more useful as far as using them in a classroom. I now know that it would be relatively easy to create a review or quiz for my students using Excel and that it would be something they would enjoy doing too. When other teachers are handing out xeroxed worksheets, my students will be doing theirs on the computer and personally, I think that is very COOL! Another use for Excel in the classroom would be a grade book/attendance sheet.

This was another experience where I had to step outside of my comfort zone to work on a project, but overall it was a positive experience and I enjoyed it. Spreadsheets are definitely more than words and numbers in columns, they are also another way to incorporate technology into my classroom.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Inspired by Inspiration

This week in IT 486, we worked with digital diagrams through a software called Inspiration. Although I had not heard of Inspiration nor worked with it, I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know what it's all about. Our assignment was to create our own digital diagram and I chose 'Dinosaurs' as my topic. Once you have a topic, a diagram can be created however you see that it would be most useful for the topic or the students who will be using it. I chose my main three branches to be 'kinds of dinosaurs', so I labeled them 'Herbivores', 'Carnivores', and 'Avian Reptiles'. To each of the three branches I added facts, that I found via the Internet, that differentiated the three groups of dinosaurs. I was able to change the background color, font, and add pictures to help bring the diagram together and make it make sense.

The good thing about digital diagrams is that they can be useful for students of all ages no matter what they are studying. First grade or even eleventh grade classrooms are always studying something that could be enhanced by technology.

Face it, digital diagrams are just fun to look at!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Whew, it's Midterm!

We have now taken our midterm exam and it is a great relief off of my shoulders. Taking an exam right before fall break is never any fun and for some reason the whole class was slightly freaked out by this silly exam. Thankfully it is now over and we can move on and enjoy the rest of the class.

We started working with Inspiration last class and began creating our projects with it today. It seems like a fairly easy program to use because we just simply opened the program and started working. Again we got to choose our topic so our project actually means something to us. The ideas I've seen so far are wonderful topics and subjects studied in real classrooms. It's nice to know that the things we are working on now will make their connections later in our practicum and internship.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fun with Digital Images

This was an exciting and fun week in IT 486. By working with digital images, it was helpful to refresh ourselves on how to acquire, alter, download, and save digital images and useful to see how we can incorporate them into lessons of all grade levels. Finding our own images from five different sources was helpful because it allowed us to see the various places that digital images come from and see the importance of citing the image so as not to commit copyright infringement. If you didn't personally take the image, you must make sure you give credit to whoever did, even if it is yourself.

When working with our groups, we had a lot of fun taking our own pictures and creating our own ABC slide show from the pictures we took around campus. This allowed us to get hands on with our pictures and be creative with the PowerPoint presentation we shared with the class.

I feel like I understood digital images very well before our lesson but I feel even more comfortable now. With the prevalence of digital cameras these days, most people are familiar with how to get photos from their cameras to the computer. It is important that we know the basics of digital images so that more complex tasks are easier in the future.