Category Archives: Education

Blogs with an educational aspect for inside or outside of the classroom.

Computer Use in the Classroom

At the Ashland High School, Google has made a huge impact on school connectivity. For instance, every teacher and student is given a School Gmail account. This string of accounts makes it easier for teachers to update students on assignments, let students communicate with each other, and allow them to easily share their projects on Google Drive to get their peers’s opinion and feedback. When students don’t understand what they are learning about in school, computers provide for them articles, links and videos that help with learning about the topic. Many teachers also use applications such as Google Calendar and Google Classroom to keep themselves, as well as the students, organized.

Although computers may offer an endless amount of information and tools, it is important for students to remember that computers aren’t the only source of help to pass a class. For English, dictionaries provide hundreds of words that can help create a thorough and professional essay. For Math, Science, and History, students can never go wrong with reading the textbook to understand the concept. Even for Foreign Languages, English to French and English to Spanish dictionaries can help a person find the words needed to say and write sentences in that language. But most importantly, teachers offer the best advice and information to understand how to pass their class.

There are also some consequences to always having to rely on a computer for help. For instance, about  15% of papers are plagiarized. By knowing that others on the internet have answered an assignment question, students will often look towards their answer instead creating their own original and creative idea of how to approach an answer. Research has also shown that online learning for toddlers and infants isn’t as effective as the traditional way of learning with human interaction. If children depend on computers at such a young age for learning, they won’t understand that human interaction can offer lots of help as well. Overall, it is important for people to understand the difference between using computers for help and the constant need to depend on computers for everything because being to reliable on computers can negatively affect how capable they are on using their own intelligence to complete tasks.

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Computers in the Classroom

Computers add a lot to a modern class. They have many utilities that can be used for any number of different activities.  Applications on tablets can also enrich the experience of a class.  Being able to do something virtually that could otherwise not be done allows new activities to be part of a class. For example, if someone is disgusted by a dissection, a virtual dissection app may exist and can allow this person to experience the same dissection. Also, if there is any information that is not found in sources in a classroom or the library, a computer or tablet allows a student to find answers via the internet. The language department in Ashland High School also utilizes the computers’ recording functionality to let many people have a speaking test at once..

However, computer usage should be limited to necessity. If information can be found in sources within the classroom, those sources should be used instead of the internet. Otherwise, students will not know how to find information alone, but instead they will only know how to find information on the internet. Also, when finding information on a computer is needed, a student should know what websites are trustworthy, and which have potentially incorrect information. Also, if apps are used instead of class activities, people will not gain the full knowledge of the experience. A person is more likely to make their own discoveries doing a real dissection than a virtual one, for example. Using computers does not promote discovery and curiosity nearly as much as actual activity.

Computers, while useful in many cases, should not be a part of everyday classes. Students must learn to manage finding information without computers. Also, in order to promote people’s individuality and curiosity,  normal class activities should be continued separate from computers, including computers only when absolutely necessary. From a young age, people should be learning to complete tasks without assistance from computers.  Otherwise they will become computer dependent.

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Google Scribe

 google scribe

Google Scribe is a product launched by google that provides text completion service. Using information from what you have already typed in a document, Google Scribe provides related word or phrase completion suggestions. In addition to saving keystrokes, Google Scribe’s suggestions indicate correct or popular phrases to use.

google-scribe-exampleThis addition to Google should allow for high school students that struggle to type essays, projects, or any writing piece quickly in school. This feature also helps students out with their grammar, and spelling of many words, whereas without this feature there would be many mistakes. In our high school I know that there are a few kids who have limited language skills and this program would allow them to learn, while also taking notes, or doing their homework!

 Google Scribe could help students format their essays if they are confused at home and don’t want to contact their teacher for help. All students or teachers have to do is start typing and as they near the end of the sentence suggestions start to be made which teach all students and teachers correct grammar and spelling.

google-scribe-example-2In conclusion, this feature would improve our grammar, spelling, and overall students would learn the correct way to type any writing piece they may have. It is a simple easy way of improving our skill set in high school and later on for college.

 

 

 

Sources:

http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2011/05/google-scribe-now-with-automatic-text_26.html

http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2010/09/google-scribe.html

 

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“Stand on the Shoulders of Giants”

Writing essays and reports has become part of a student’s daily life. Whether it’s for a book report, a science research paper, or even an article for a newspaper, students are constantly writing literature for school. But in order to complete these assignments, students constantly have to search for sources of information to understand and support the topic. And it doesn’t help that they have to search through thousands of websites and books to find the right facts needed.

Hours of searching for information can become a hassle, unless a student uses Google Scholar. Google Scholar is an online search engine specifically created to help make searching for scholarly literature and academic resources much easier and faster. The saying “don’t believe everything you read on the internet” has been around for generations. But unlike the ordinary Google app, Google Scholar filters in only articles, books and documents that would also be found in a local library’s catalog and database. So there is no need to worry about finding false information. The product also makes life easier by automatically providing a citation for every link provided for each search. Now there is no need for a student to make their own MLA or APA citation for every source of information used.

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Just like Google Search, there are an infinite amount of keywords to type into Google Scholar to find the best results. Just by typing in an author’s name, Google Scholar has offered hundreds of results that include books, citations, and PDF files that include the words ‘Mary Shelley.’If a student ever wants to save a link that they plan on using for future research, they are able to add it in the ‘My Library’ and go back to that article whenever they want. And in case a student wants to find the latest additions to a certain topic, they can choose or customize any time range that they wish.

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Whether a student wants to learn about a scientific breakthrough, or just needs to create a bibliography, Google Scholar is the most reliable and organized product to help students with their school writing assignments. But Google Scholar can also be beneficial for Publishers, Journalists, and Authors who wish to keep track of the use and popularity of their own articles. Overall, it’s no doubt that anyone can benefit from the use of Google Scholar.

Learn more about it at https://scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/about.html and see why their slogan is Newton’s quote, “Stand on the shoulders of giants”.

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Google Groups: Classroom Applications

While students regularly use features of Google such as Drive, Slides, and Gmail to do schoolwork and allow them to access their work from home and school, Google offers many other useful apps that have academic applications. Furthermore, the school and district use Google Calendars on their website for students to reference when Orientation Day or Picture Day is, for example. Teachers also use Google sites to make their websites to post homework, upcoming assignments, and helpful links.

However, teachers and students, especially in Ashland Public Schools, do not use Google Groups at all. Google Groups allows users have discussions on forums through presentations and photos, among other forms of media. For example, many other high school clubs and even classes have their own, private discussions which people need permission to access. A teacher could post a discussion question and students could post responses for engaging, easy to grade homework. Even the summer before classes start, a teacher could add all the students in one class to a certain discussion and begin assessing their abilities through periodical discussions. In addition, students could do homework on the go, as Google groups is accessible through mobile devices. Foreign language teachers could also use this feature, because the language of the discussion is easily changed.

In conclusion, Google Groups has countless applications to the classroom in enriching students’ understanding and keeping them engaged in classroom subjects. Teachers are also afforded a better glimpse into the students’ progress and understanding. Students could have a wider variety of homework and extra credit opportunities through discussions, pictures, and videos.

General applications of Groups

General applications of Groups

Examples of academic applications in various classes and clubs
Examples of academic applications in various classes and clubs

—Additional Resources—
To get started: 
Youtube video “How to Use Google Groups In The Classroom”
For more information: 
“Keep Your Classes Organized With Google Groups.” Blattinet. N.p., 22 Feb. 2013. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.

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Keeping up with Google Keep (and your work)

There was a time when people could not use their computer for everything. A time when someone’s room or office may have been covered in sticky notes just to keep track of everything they had to do. But that time is over. Products like google drive have pushed aside tangible objects to be replaced by online storage. In this day and age people use online documents or calendars to keep track of information or schedules. However, this leaves room for error. What if you forget to check your schedule one day and miss a meeting? How are you going to make a to-do list when you can’t customize enough to make one? The internet now has a way to do all this and more!

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With Google Keep, you can make virtual sticky notes. All the functionality of having your wall covered with sticky notes plus some, and absolutely none of the mess. There are plenty of things Google Keep can do that you can’t do with sticky notes, but first let’s address what both can do; Color code, To Do lists, Schedules, Reminders, etc. Now for what Google Keep can do that sticky notes can’t; Set reminders on certain notes, rearrange lists, easily re-sort notes, search through notes for words or colors (if you color code), be accessed from any location with internet, and more! And, when you are done with a note, you can archive it so it won’t clutter your note page, but you will still be able to find it again if you need to. To do lists also automatically moved checked off items to the bottom of the list.  A page of stickies may look like this:Screen cap1

 

Checked off to-do list:

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As you can see, Google Keep has a lot of utility. It can give you reminders for classes, store notes on what you need to go over in any given class period in the form of to-do lists to be checked off. It is easy to navigate and  even if you can’t find something, you can do a search for it. If you ever find you can’t find something, there is an easy to use menu on the left side that can be accessed by clicking the three bars on the top left:screencap2

Overall, Google Keep is a great way to stay organized, and keep your organization method neat, so your room doesn’t need to look like this:

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Google Comments

Comments point to the text they comment on.

When using Google Classroom, a teacher can give students writing assignments online in the form of a Google Doc. Once the student turns it in, the teacher can then view and edit it.

This introduces the chance for the teacher to use Google Docs’ commenting function to comment on their students’ work, letting them know how they can improve their work. Returning the work to the students allows the students to reply to the comments and make changes, making the writing process more interactive.

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Feed the World with Knowledge, Literally

Freerice.com is a website that allows users to answer multiple-choice questions on various topics and levels. Each correct answer donates 10 grains of rice to those who need it.

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The lack of focus of the questions is a downside, making it less useful for high schoolers, but some of the categories are ideal for elementary schoolers. The math subjects in particular make for good practice, and telling students that their work feeds the hungry can be a strong motivation for them to work harder.

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Online Research for K-8 Students

In high school, I was asked to do my first research project. I’d never done much research before, besides googling things I wanted to know, so when I was presented with a list of databases to look through for good sources, I had no idea how to start.

This video is a tutorial for using the Minuteman Library Network‘s online databases for research at a elementary and middle school level, so younger students can get a head start with learning how to find reliable information on the internet.

The voice in the video is provided by Cheska Komissar, who volunteered her services because I am not known for my clarity of speech.

Links:

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Audible Audiobooks

As most English teachers know, a good number of students don’t read their books. The best way to help with this would be to teach children to love reading, but that type of approach is of little use in high school, when the students’ thoughts about reading are long-since set in stone.

But the problem might not be in the books, but in the actual act of reading. Perhaps some students don’t read because they read slowly or need to focus intently to comprehend the reading. Some students might not read simply because they don’t like sitting down and staring at paper. So why do they have to read at all?

Why not listen?

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