Monthly Archives: May 2014

Laptops in English Class

Exams in English class often consist of a great deal of writing. This is painful for the teacher, who has to decode students’ frantic scribblings, and for the students, who must nurse aching wrists. I feel that laptops (Chromebooks, perhaps?) would be a great help in this situation. Many students nowadays can type faster than they write, and typing produces much more legible essays. If Google Chrome were used, sharing the essay with the teacher after the test would be a snap. No more file folders full of papers that will only eventually be thrown away.

Now, would cheating be a concern? Well, cheating is always a concern. But I would argue that it is no more a danger with a computer than with paper and pen. If students try to write the answers beforehand (which isn’t even a problem if the teacher doesn’t share the questions, which they often do not), then Google Drive has an Activity log that will show when a document was created. It can be found by clicking the i in the circle at the upper right hand corner. This will not show when shared documents were created, but if there is any doubt, then a student’s activity log can be checked.

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 1.25.37 PM


What if students look at other documents or go on the internet during the test? First off, there are apps that can be used (StayFocusd comes to mind) to block certain sites, although Ashland has its own firewall which is very effective. Chromebooks provided through the school could be set with limitations as to what sites can be visited. Also, the upright position of a computer screen is surely easier for a teacher to scan for cheating than the papers that the students are bent over. This will allow them to see if the students are suffering from wandering mouses.

It may take a bit of work to integrate laptops into the classroom and into tests, but in the case of English, it may very well be worth it.

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Technology in the Classroom – 3D Printing

3D Printers

Ashland High School has bought two 3D printers the Cube and the Makerbot 2. Though both the engineering class and the graphic design class use the printers, their potential in other classrooms are also great.


One Class 3D printing can be used in is the Robotics Classroom. Robotics involves many pieces involving Lego pieces and non Lego pieces. One of the first lessons of Robotics is how to circumvent this compatibility issue by

Made with the Cube 3D Printer
Made with the Cube 3D Printer

creating mounts. If you look at the picture it is a Lego piece at the top and a piece sticking out which attaches with the non Lego piece. This allows pieces to be easily attached without having to spend excess parts trying to circumvent.


Engineering to the Future

This class has the Cube to use but because of the Cube’s new entry the class has not used the Cube to it’s full potential. The Cube allows the school to request parts to be made so rather than replacing the whole item only a certain part is replaced. In addition the Cube allows new innovations to be made and allows AHS to showcase well made projects with the resources available.

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Technology in the classroom

The Ipads can be used in math and science classes as well as the foreign language room by using the many apps available for free. The use of apps such as mathpad which is used for writing equations and could be useful for putting equations that are normally hard to put on tests easier. In general there are virtual books for each subject so students will not have to carry large textbooks. Science apps are numerous and could be used for many different classes. In language there are dictionaries and translators as well as learning apps.

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Edmodo in Spanish

In AP Spanish, we partook in a  pen pal project in which we communicated with students from Mexico. Instead of using snail mail, my teacher decided to use Edmodo as a means of communication. This was an excellent integration of technology in the classroom, saving both time and money. We were able to exchange communications easily once a week from both school and home.

BScreen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.03.25 AMeyond student accessibility, Edmodo helped my teacher as she was actually able to grade through Edmodo. It allowed her to view our submitted documents, write her corrections directly on the paper using her mouse and keyboard, and post the grades and her corrections online very quickly. Students could then easily  access the document to view errors, comments, and the overall grade. Many students downloaded the iPhone app in order to view their penpal’s response sooner and in order to view their grades on the go.

Without technology, this amazing experience would not have been as amazing. This is a demonstrated example of how technology truly makes the world more interconnected. As we progress with similar activities, we will be able to share culture and experiences with the world beginning at a young age. A more interconnected world runs smoother, and technology like Edmodo can help.

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The other day when S.T.A.T presented different uses of technology to the faculty and staff at Ashland High School, a very important point was brought up. What would be more efficient for students? Having an in school iPad for each student, or a chromebook for each student?

Before I begin I would like to state that I am absolutely against chromebook. I am against chromebook because it is unlike most laptops. Now a days a laptop can do almost anything, on the flip side,  a chromebook is very much limited. Chromebook does not allow the user to download any personal programs that the user may like. The user is forced to use the programs provided by chrome. Furthermore most chromebook batteries only last for about three hours. But! For school use, all of these disabilities might be turned into advantages!

For example, students would not be able to goof off and play games they normally play. They would be forced to focus on their projects/essays. Because chromebook is centered around google accounts it makes it easier for Ashland Students to log in with their account and have everything synced to the computer. This would be an ease of access way to work on essays and projects assuming students use their google accounts for these reasons. Chromebooks disadvantage of only using programs provided by chrome is a good thing in this scenario because the only thing students could actually do is use google drive, which connects them, easily, with all of their documents.


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Virtual Keyboards in the Classroom

Keyboard hardware products can have a multitude of benefits in the classroom. The advantages they provide are highly beneficial when dealing with computers and typing long texts. To hone in on key advantages for keyboard uses, one must understand the different types of keyboards. All keyboards function the same way, yet have different qualities to them. For example; the traditional keyboard you’re probably using right now is a physical layout of a board with different keys on it. The other main type of keyboard is built into the device being used. These types reside in mobile products such as a notebook, iPad or phone. Another type of keyboard (branching off the traditional keyboard), is the bluetooth keyboard. There’s nothing specifically fancy about this other than the fact that it’s wireless.


Virtual keyboards are probably the least popular in that most people don’t use them. This doesn’t mean, however, that they’re not useful like other keyboards. The main concept of the virtual keyboard is that it projects an array of lasers that sense movement and an abruption in the current. Picture, on any flat surface, a projected keyboard that fully functions like the hardware keyboard. The benefits it provides reside in its universal use and ease of access. The projection box that projects the lasers is actually quite small and stores quite easily in most spaces. Its universality in conjunction with main brand products is a highly beneficial advantage as most products tend to only work with specific computers and mobile devices. For example mac keyboards only work with mac computers. and pc products with personal computers.


All in all the virtual keyboard is a very good investment. It lasts a very long time and doesn’t need cleaning like a traditional keyboard needs. You also don’t have to worry about broken keys like a hardware product because you’re simply tapping the surface you project the keyboard onto.


Some things to note are the price. Some of these products can have a hefty price tag that can dig deep into your wallet. Be wary of overpriced imitations. These products do the same exact things as any cheap virtual keyboard yet claim they have added benefits and features that either don’t work or aren’t useful to the average user of the product.

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Tweeting During Class…


As far as social media is concerned, Twitter is one of, if not the most popular sites out there today. People often post little elements of their day, whats on their mind at the time or just something they thought was funny and wanted to share to the world. The fact that Twitter is available almost everywhere on many devices, there are so many opportunities for people to see and say what is happening in the world and stay in touch with their community. However, there are many teachers that are seeing how it can help students in and out of the classroom in terms of education and they are taking advantage of the social phenomenon.

Some teachers are beginning to use Twitter for their classes in a number of ways that benefit the students. Some of the benefits are just small assets; teachers tweeting out homework assignments and due dates, reminding students about upcoming events and other small helpful tweets. Some teachers also make use of Twitter’s direct messaging system (DM) to inform students of their grades for a test that they may have just completed and are worried about. These little (near insignificant) tweets do aid students in managing and keeping track of their classes, but Twitter has so much untapped potential that can be used to help students.

If teachers can realize the potential that Twitter has, it can truly benefit the students. Not only can teachers tweet out what homework assignments are, but they can also tweet out links, or even screenshots, of the homework so students have access to it if they were absent from class or just need to replace a lost assignment. If there is a difficult unit or book coming up in the curriculum; the teacher can post links to help guides, audio books, analyses, notes, answer keys or anything they have that can be helpful to students. Even if the teacher does not have any specific tools to assist students at home, (or they do not want students just using the answer keys and avoiding doing the real work) they can tweet ‘tips and tricks’ that they may have gone over in class that can act as reminders for the current lesson.

Twitter’s DM also has much undiscovered potential for the class room. Besides just letting students know grades early, the DM system allows students to ask teachers question when away from school. Teachers and students can have private one on one conversations over Twitter(something that is not always a possibility during school). Talking none face to face is easier for some students and teachers because it removes the intimidation factor and nervousness that some students might have that prevent them from speaking out and asking questions during class. Students can also check in with teachers when doing projects and other major assignments to see if what they are doing is correct and they are on the right path.

The other main advantages to Twitter are that it is free and simple. No one needs to pay for anything to use it and it is assessable anywhere. Students do not even need an account to see your tweets; so everyone can check to see updates about the class.  Also, some teachers that do not want to deal with the hassle of creating a class website, can just use Twitter which is much more simple than managing your own website.

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