Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blog Post #13

ALEX: Alabama Learning Exchange

alex website

I am actually already familiar with the ALEX website because I just recently used it for my EPY 355 class. I had to look up ideas for a math project and this website was a great resource for just that. I found a math project I could use in a middle or high school classroom.

This website is a place for teachers to be able to post their lesson plans from all different subjects and grade levels on here to be able to assist other teachers teaching the same thing. It's a great collaboration tool on the web for teachers to be able to get ideas of different ways of teaching the same idea or to get project ideas. Everything is free and is shared by anyone who visits the site. Teachers can post any lesson plan they choose corresponding to the subject or grade level they teach.

When you enter the website you are given a number of choices to click on. The first is the COURSE OF STUDY button. You will find all of the subjects you would be interested in from Science to Driver's Education. By clicking on a subject such as Math, you will then be able to click on the grade level or the subject of Math you would like to find a lesson plan for.

There is also a button that says LESSON PLANS. This is another way to find all the lesson plans in the particular subject or grade level you are looking for. This search allows you to choose the subject and grade level at the same time. It is a more refined search. You are also able to upload your own personal lesson plans here.

You are able to create your own account on this website by clicking the PERSONAL WORKSPACE button. There's also a SEARCH button to find things and a WEB RESOURCES button that gives helpful websites that might interest teachers and students.

There is a tab that says PROFESSIONAL LEARNING. When you click on this it will bring you to a page with many more buttons to choose from. There's one that explains the Thinkfinity website and organization sponsored by the Verizon Foundation. It's similar to the ALEX website that's a collaboration resources for teachers but Thinkfinity also puts on technology training sessions for teachers in schools. There's also a tab to look up grant opportunities, as well as professional development opportunities, and different techno-savvy tricks like Google tools, multimedia apps, and Internet/E-mail apps.

The PODCAST TREASURY is a button that has different podcasts uploaded from each subject area. It's similar to an I-tunes for education. I found some that interested me for math...however it would never load.

The last button to click is the ALEXville button. This is set up like a blog with different news related to ALEX. You are also able to log-in and communicate with other educators. It is a community type site where everyone can see what's going on.

I think this website will be a great resource and will be very useful for me as a teacher. It has already helped me out and this is my first semester of taking education classes. I think even if I don't use the lesson plans, the ALEX site will give me some ideas for projects, as well as different ways of using technology in my math classroom. It gives me hope that I can use technology in the math classroom because I'm seeing podcasts on math topics right now. I have to say I'm very impressed with this website and how helpful it seems to be, or is trying to be. The "grant opportunities" page had some out-of-date grants mixed in with the current ones and the "internet/e-mail apps" didn't really have much to look at. The lesson plan idea is a great idea but the other technology tips and other tabs for professional learning would need to be continually updated as new grants are added or deleted because of funding, and because technology is constantly changing.  It makes me wonder how often ALEX used across the state of Alabama. But there's no excuse for teachers not to jump on the techno-friendly classroom bandwagon with something that's as helpful as this seems. At least this is a start.

ACCESS: Alabama Connecting Classroom, Educators, and Students Statewide

This is a website that can also be found through the ALEX website when you click on the Professional Learning button, and then the Distance Learning button. This website is all about distance learning for students. If a student wants to take a class not offered at their school then the school can offer the class through distance learning. The students would sit in a classroom and learn their subject with a teacher that could be hundreds of miles away on a TV screen. There are 2 types of instruction: video based or web based. There are also different course offerings for the student to choose from. This is a great website and initiative created by the state of Alabama.

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