I have learned so much from this course! I had never created my own blog page before, although I had been heard saying (more than once) how I should figure that out and get posting. Well, here it finally has been done. Now that I know how to use the blog, I have created my classroom blog & will QUICKLY create a personal blog for updating my family and friends on all things Olsen related. Besides, now that I am capable of creating podcasts and videos, I have been uploading files of my kids like a crazy woman. (By the way, you can now listen to my podcast here from my last post!) I am already using a wiki in my classroom discussions and they will be continuing throughout the year as a meeting place. The current project assignment my students are working towards finishing involves using reliable Internet resources to create a power point with voice overlay (podcast). Once the individual work is done, they must upload their file to the group wiki board for collaboration on the final presented work. THEY are excited! I am excited they are excited! This is the first year I have used complete digital assignments and I could not be happier. I have taken away so much from this course, including the use of the web 2.0 tools, the 21st Century skills, learning the NETS, and incorporating them together!
My students have joined in my quest to learn in different ways. Ever since I told them they are referred to as Digital Natives (Prensky, 2001) as a generation and borrow Prensky's term of "twitch speed" to explain their uncanny ability to multitask, I've had their attention. My students believe I will let them learn in their forms and use their media to do it. They should, I told them this was the case. For the first time, I have students excited to do HOMEWORK! This led me back to the proverbial drawing board in order to incorporate my new learned skills into their world of learning. The are very excited to train me how to use my iPhone! They think it is great to play the teacher to me because I am willing to let them. We have to learn together, there are too many kinks in the knowledge tree; if we don't proceed as a team, we could all get lost!
Through the use of the web 2.0 tools and the 21st century skills, I have found myself stepping away from the leadership role of the academics. The current project mentioned above is completely student-driven. I have given the guidelines and "diving board". Each student is responsible for 1 of 5 HSCEs, which is the current curriculum. I have put multitudes of websites on delicious.com for them to access (and printed a hard copy for those...) and given a rubric for the assignment, but otherwise it is all them. The final is a collaborative group presentation for the class. That gives 5 presentations of greatness rather than 30 of mediocrity. I have never felt so happy to step away from the podium!
I will carry on with the path of technology in my classroom learning. I have to make extra time available after school, but it is worth the effort to see the kids working and learning. I am also going to actively work on my grants to get the laptop cart and other tools, like my own projector (not the 1 for the whole school) and wireless connections instead of the dying lines we have around the building, which go offline at least twice a week! I think it would be great to get a SMARTboard installed in my classroom, or at least to me, since the classroom assignment could change. I know by continuing to use digital formats for my students to learn and teach one another, I will increase their knowledge of the curriculum material and thereby increase their State of Michigan testing scores. Probably wouldn't hurt on the ACT and SAT either!
My long term goals are many. I will focus on a couple of the most important for the technology in my classroom. First, I want to win a grant for a laptop cart. I am sure I will have to share with the entire school, but at least I will have gained access. I will continue grant writing and revising to get those computers! Secondly, I will have unrestricted access to much needed web 2.0 tools because my students use them responsibly. I am continually fighting a losing battle for continual, uninterrupted use of a classroom blog (through educational sites!!!!!) and will continue to fight for the access. Thirdly, I am working towards the educational use of cell phones in a secondary classroom. I understand the possibility for wrong-doing here, but when given the opportunity to use the phones for "good and not evil" I have had great success. I will continue this long process of "students can be responsible if you just let them" campaign.
Let me know how you can help me out in any of my situations and/or goals!! (BTW, most of my answers have changed drastically from the week 1 questionnaire.)