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.