First of all, I’d like to thank Winston Churchill for posthumously allowing me to borrow part of his quote to use for my title. Also, Google search for making it easy for me to search for quotes that I kinda think I might know.
It’s almost the end of the semester, and when I think about the start my main thought is, ‘It seems so long ago!’ I feel as if I’ve packed a lot into this semester. There are so many technologies I had the opportunity to encounter, and some that I actually plan on exploring more in order to incorporate them into my lesson plans.
As I’ve stated before, I found PowerPoint to be the most startling experience thus far. There are features I didn’t know it had, including the ability to link slides to other slides and websites to create a more interactive program for students. I think this feature is especially useful for students who enjoy more independent learning, and it’s beneficial for teachers who still need to make sure their students are getting the information they want or need to pass on.
GoogleDocs impressed me with its ability to allow for a group to be working on the same project at the same time at different computers and even at different locations. At the same time, as a teacher, I can be providing feedback that helps students in the process of creation, rather than at the end Most of all, the ability to see how the work has grown is something that I think is invaluable for both the student and the teacher.
Finally, this blog has opened up a world of possibility to allow me to connect to other people, including fellow educators and students. It’s another tool that I’d really like to find a way to incorporate into the classroom because of its self-reflection aspect.
Learning about these technologies helped put me in the place of my future students by allowing me to discover new ways of interpreting and demonstrating knowledge.
Reading all of the articles on blogs and wikis has me thinking a lot about ways to incorporate them into the classroom. I really liked the idea of creating a(much like Dr. Ransom has) for newsletters and goings-on in the classroom.
I mean, imagine having a place where the teacher can write an introduction to the classroom, maybe write about the units being studied. It would be a great way to get parents involved. In another class, a parent mentioned she’d like if the teacher sent resources for books to read with her kids that enhanced what the child was already learning. The Blog would also be a great place for parents to ask questions in an open forum where everybody could read.
I’ve been thinking, too, of different ways to get students involved. Maybe picking a student a day to write a “student experience” post to write about their impressions of what they’re learning. Other students could comment and discuss. Much like the blogs we have going on now, but it would also help the parents connect with the student experience. It would also be a great way to check in with students, their progress and impressions of the lessons.
Another great advantage seems to be the ability to connect with other teachers. One of the overwhelming parts about being a teacher, especially in a “Web 2.0″ world is that it’s a completely new experience. I can’t just rely on the old methods that I learned under. Being able to connect with other teachers, be able to say,”Hey, I tried this, it worked great!” or just to get feedback and have a great number of resources, seems to be very powerful. The idea makes me a little less apprehensive going forward.
One of the readings I had (title and author to follow, if I can find it) revolved around the idea of “authentic learning”. The author talked about the relevancy of having students write just for the teacher. It’s not realistic if they’re writing for one person all the time. Blogging could help writing skills (and reading skills) while working with an authentic audience. Not to mention that it would open up opportunities for children to form intelligent and respectful discussions, especially when they’re in disagreement.
These Web 2.0 tools seem to create an opportunity for some authentic learning experience, which is one of the goals for which I strive.