Monday, August 6, 2012

TOOL #11

The tools I see myself using are Blogger, Wallwisher, and Edmodo. I would like to have students create blogs and use them once per unit (twice per six weeks) throughout the year. I would also like to have a teacher blog where students will be expected to comment on my posts on a more regular basis. I have adapted one of my previous activities (landform Frayer Model cards) so I can use Wallwisher and hopefully make the assignment more beneficial for the students. Edmodo is something I envision using to plan with my team instead of Diigo which we had begun to use last year.

My biggest transformation which has been taking place over the course of the last year is in changing my classroom from teacher centered to student centered. I find that using different modes of technology make this transformation much easier. There are so many options for students to explore the same material with digital tools that much of the work to create a student centered environment is done for us. The options are already out there. I will be incorporating technology more often but this will be much easier having the ipads at our everyday disposal.

Nothing about this program surprised me. But I do find myself coming back to the same idea. I am cautioned not to run to the other side of the boat. I am happy to embrace the new technology because frankly I think it makes my job more fun and interesting and I see the ways that this can open doors to struggling or non-traditional learners. In fact I was recently at a training for my GT certification and the speaker continually spoke of offering options to students for their projects. I like this idea too. But as a teacher and a parent, I think that traditional reading and writing are essential skills that will make or brake students in higher education. This cannot be something that students can continually opt out of. I see how much less time could be spent sharpening or developing (in some cases) those reading/writing skills when teachers try too hard to incorporate more and more technology into their lessons. The 21 Century Learner needs to be able to read, comprehend and express their own ideas grammatically. I think there are many ways to do this well using technology but I think there are also many ways technology can distract from that. My hope is that teachers continue to do a lot of what they are already doing while also finding new ways to engage kids using technology more often and when appropriate.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

TOOL #10

I want students to know and understand the copyright and fair use guidelines. I think many students struggle with how to put thoughts into their own words. There is a power point on Childnet that addresses this issue well. I also want students to understand the importance of keeping their passwords secret from all peers and friends. There are some cyberbullying videos that stress the unfortunate experience of friends betraying friends to a live audience. I think it is important for students to be kind and constructive when commenting online. Students should keep in mind that it takes courage to post thoughts online. These three ideas are important to me in teaching my students about digital citizenship.

I looked at many of the videos and websites listed on the resource page. Some were good and some were not. I would like to show something about copyright and fair use. I think I need help in explaining this to students. The powerpoint/activity is a good resource. I think a video on the cyberbullying would be good as well. I think teaching would include students looking at passages from the internet and having them work to put those thoughts in their own words. Then I would show them examples. I think this skill needs to be taught and learned. It does not come easy. There also appear to be some good games on Childnet for learning about digital citizenship.

I have edited my parent letter that goes home the first week to include information about digital citizenship and its importance in my classroom. I have mentioned it in past years but not to the extent I think it will be needed this year. I now have a lot more knowledge to share with parents about digital citizenship. Hopefully teacher letters in combination with the district letters to parents will help this technology shift happen more smoothly.