Digital Classrooms

The most important things to consider when designing a digital classroom is what technology is available to you and your students. You have to think about what tools are available and if those require certain space. If the students each have a ChromeBook then you may want to make sure that there are plug-ins available in your room. Also, something that is often forgotten is that you need to make sure your classroom has trusty wi-fi if you want your students to be using the internet.

Some things I considered when creating my digital classroom, these are assuming I get to have the tools I want in my classroom. I thought about the classes that I will be teaching and the age levels. Since I will be hopefully teaching elementary general music I will have some class periods where the students sit on the floor and others where the older students will be in chairs. I have to think about where the Interactive WhiteBoard will be located. Where speakers and digital keyboard are located. Also, where chairs will be for the classes that get chairs, when they are there and when they aren’t. I also know that I want to have work time for students to create their own compositions and lyrics, so I want to have a space in the back corner that they can go and feel relaxed while they work. I decided it wasn’t necessary for my classroom to have digital cameras, video equipment, or calculators. Students will have days that they will need to bring their devices if we are in a 1:1 school and until they are needed will be stored in the back of the room.

I hope to have an Interactive WhiteBoard available to me and an iPad with Apple TV or projector system so I can mirror up onto the IWB during class.


The Week of Tweets

This week we read articles and watched chat feeds about being connected via social media. Almost exclusively focusing on Twitter as the kind of social media. I learned that you need to understand what you’re talking about and how to use Web 2.0 tools. That the best way to learn new things ourselves is to ask others. Being connected through Twitter especially is an easy way to get quick and direct feedback. But be on the other end of it too, if you know the answer to a question or have a similar experience reach out or reflect upon your experience and maybe even throw in a hashtag #.

The chat that I watched was the #IAedchat that occurred mostly Sunday morning. The chat was entitled ‘Connecting the Dots’. They had time reminders saying when they were going to start and then people introduced themselves and where they are located. A few questions were asked then the rest seemed to be just interaction between those people participating. Their chat was about creating a PLN and/or finding your PLN. It helps you gain ideas and helps keep you positive in your practice. I think this topic was chosen because this month is Connected Educators Month.

Some people that I follow on Twitter are current teachers in random subjects, some technology people from schools, and music groups. I follow teachers in subjects that aren’t music because sometimes it works out well to adjust something that worked well in their classroom for my classroom. The technology based people because I am learning about integrating technology and 1:1 schools and I figured following these people was the best way to learn without a face to face conversation. And lastly I follow a lot of music groups: other schools bands’, National music education groups, and even the Iowa based groups.

I think Twitter chats are a cool thing. They allow people to have a messaging conversation without having to add others to the discussion. You can post and it is not limited in who can see or respond. I did notice that they go fast and that when you want to look back through them there are just so many that you have to scroll through. I could see myself participating once I have a little more experience. I just think that you have an instant environment where you won’t be judged for your questions and your feedback is general but still helpful, that would be a nice thing to have on hand.

Tips for a teacher that is new to Twitter or social networking:

1) You’re not the only one seeing this and your students may find it so make sure it is something appropriate and isn’t too personal necessarily.

2) Use it as a positive tool, there are so many people connect through these different forms of media you may create a ‘partner in crime’ with someone across the nation.

3) Be willing to try new tools and things because your students may already know them.

4) Use it to learn!


Being a Connected Educator

To be able to answer the question: What are the benefits of using technology/social media as a PLN to improve their practice and those of their students?, is not as easy as I thought it would be. After watching the videos in Google +, by Alec Couros, and reading the multiple articles. I feel like I have a better idea after going through all of those resources. A connected teacher is one that uses the technology and social media to help enhance their learning and their teaching. Being a connected teacher means that as a teacher you use technology and social media as a form of personal and professional development. You are able to use technology to communicate with people across the world about anything and everything. If you have a question or you’ve found out a fun piece of information that you think would help others in their classroom then you can post it online.

That is the main benefit I think, being able to communicate on a large level with hundreds, sometimes even thousands of people working in the same area as you. I’ve observed in my technology practicum that my cooperating teacher uses the school’s website to post informational videos and tips for the teachers. He uses email correspondence and sometimes takes their questions from email to guide his video tips. I’ve also noticed that he always has Twitter open. This is a tool that has instant response time. Someone posts a question and whoever is the first around the nation or world to see and has the answer responds. Sometimes even others respond if they’ve had different experiences. You have created a connection with these people via the social media or blogging, etc. They may become a resource your students use in research.

Another benefit is that your students are seeing your responsibly interact on the internet, you’re setting a good example and demonstrating good digital citizenship. I personally am working my way to being a connected educator. I have Facebook and Twitter personal accounts but haven’t set anything up for my future self yet. When I go to conferences and un-conferences and even workshops I write down the presenters email, website, and Twitter handle. Just so that when I do get my professional Twitter up and going I can look back through my notebooks and follow those that I thought were good educators or knowledgable people. I think that creating a class website when I get a classroom will be a good way of staying connected with the parents along with digital newsletters. The courses I am taking have helped me realize there are so many articles and videos out there that are beneficial reads, I just need to take time to learn from them.



“Teach above the line” a phrase that we are associating with SAMR. SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. I think that the phrase, “teach above the line” is an important one. This line, is above Augmentation just before Modification. I think that is important that we teach above this line because it is important for students to be creative. Students are able to redesign and use technology to transform their projects into something slightly different along the same lines.

SAMR is a good model for teachers and students to work off of when working with technology. It helps push the students technology skills and creativity to a new level. Each letter in SAMR helps increase the students productivity and helps get them farther in transforming tasks. The Grounded Integration is related to SAMR in that you are trying to integrate technology into the curriculum to make things easier. And students are expanding their horizons using new tools.


TPACK & Why it’s important to understand it

It is important for teachers to understand the framework for TPACK because it helps them balance their curriculum. Each piece of TPACK; technology, pedagogy, and content has to be balanced equally in to the classroom. If one is having more weight on the balance then there is a possibility that your students aren’t getting their best lesson. According to the article, What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge?, The current work on the TPACK framework seeks to extend this tradition of research and scholarship by bringing technology integration into the kinds of knowledge that teachers need to consider when teaching.” In my classroom I will use technology to help teach but I won’t rely on it, as well as I won’t only rely on my teaching techniques to get me through the day. I will rely on the content, the technology, and the students thirst for knowledge to get me through different lessons. I’ve always been told that you shouldn’t use technology just because it’s there, you should use it to make things better or more efficient. I hope to pass this on so that my students don’t turn to technology for every little problem but work to figure things out. And then if all else fails look it up. Each area of TPACK should enhance the others, making things better for the students and yourself. As a future educator I hope to be as willing and as enthusiastic to play with technology and try new things. To help better my students education.


Beginning C&I 302

To start with, Hi! I just started this course called C&I 302 which actually is Principles & Practices of Digital Learning. The course started off great and for those that don’t know it is one of many in acquiring Iowa State’s Learning Technologies minor. In this course I hope to learn about how to use technology effectively in the classroom setting. Hopefully I can get input from classmates about how they think technology would work best in the music classroom. I hope to learn more about technology in general and how it is changing.

The only concern I have with this course is that I will not be able to keep up. I just started the minor this last semester and feel that in skipping C&I 201 & 202 I may have missed some things. Also, I have a large course load but hope to put my heart in to learning as much as possible.