Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts ...

My absolutely favorite way I have incorporated technology so far would have to be the wiki that my honors class has created. Their learning has grown so tremendously over the course of the year, and I feel it is directly linked to the fact that they can learn from each other and have a live audience. In addition, this site will be accessible to them a few years down the road when they take the AP test. On this site, they have basically created their own cliff notes, but they also have to answer a thread discussion post every week. This usually has to do with something we are learning in class. They then are able to demonstrate their learning or acquire more practice through the thread discussion. During trimester 3, they are doing podcasts and this will also be linked to their novel page.
What I would change about this project, is that I would not do blogs during trimester 2. Rather I would incorporate podcasting during trimester 2. I would also do a lot more with teaching them about my availabilty. For example, they will often instant message me on the wiki and ask questions. When they do this at 9 p.m. and I don't respond they are genuinely confounded. They are also perplexed if I don't check it on a nightly basis or at all times on the weekend. This trimester, I have been working on having them realize that I will try and check it by 7:30 p.m. on weeknights or by noon on Sundays but not again after these times.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

21st Century Learner

Up until 5 minutes ago, I didn't realize how my students feel at times ... overwhelmed, freaked-out, and not sure where to even start. I knew the role of the learner had changed, and I knew that my role as a teacher had changed as a result. I felt like I had taken steps towards helping my students to become 21st century learners, but yikes, I haven't even learned to get up on my knees and start scooting yet.

In the last few years my learning style has changed a lot. I am much more reliant on technology for my learning and less reliant on just a book or a professor. I noticed this in grad school, when I found it necessary to start digging more into the classes rather than being taught by my prof. Too many of my classes were centered on learning that the district had undertaken about 5 years ago, so I wasn't feeling challenged. While some weeks this was nice, especially when I had a lot of essays to grade, other weeks it was frustrating and boring. In order to stave off the boredom and questioning of why I was spending my money ... ahhhh yes, the pay raise--so nice ... I found that I began doing more learning online. In addition, nearly all of my resources from my thesis was acquired using technology. Lastly, I also have turned more to blogs by other English teachers to see what others are doing to make it more interesting for students.

However, now I see it is just the tip of the iceberg, if that. I have always told students that they can't take me to college with them (although I suppose via email or blog, they can now), so they need to use the resources I am giving them. Those resources have changed, and it boggles how much. I am not even sure where to begin to give them the tools they need. It is definately a case of, "I don't even know what I don't know".

Lesson Using Technology Analysis

What has been your most successful lesson where you have integrated technology so far? What made it successful? How would you modify it for the next time you use it?What are some other ways you are planning on integrating technology this ye

My most successful lesson so far where I have integrated technology would either have to be the independent novel lesson or my Pre-Writing lesson. In the independent novel lesson, my 3rd hour class would learn a concept about setting, character, theme, or plot in class. We would practice using stories we read together. Then they would demonstrate their learning on their novel through discussion threads on the class wiki. I really loved reading their responses, to each other and watching them take their learning to a new level. By having a wider audience they were able to learn more about their own thinking process, and it showed up in their responses as the trimester progressed. The Pre-writing lesson was excellent because it allowed me to model in front of the kids, using my SMARTBOARD. We were able to make changes, move parts, show how one step connects to the next step.

What I would change for next year with the use of the wiki, is that I would implement it in all my classes, because having a larger audience really helped guide their thinking and writing. I may still try this for our T3 novel. The pre-writing lesson, worked really well and I don't think I would change it, because I continued to tweek it as I went, so that by my last hour it worked really well.

Some ways that I am implementing technology yet this year is that all students will become familiar with using databases for research, I am introducing at least one more class to using a wiki, and in my 3rd hour class they will be podcasting.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Favorite SMARTBOARD Lesson

Depending on when you ask me about my favorite SMARTBOARD lesson, my answer will change. Each time I try and new lesson and gain more experience I seem to like that lesson. Therefore, I suppose my favorite lesson to this point has to be my Writing Workshop lesson step 4. Step 4 in pre-writing asks the writer to create a web diagram. It was great because it was interactive and allows the student to enter their information, make changes, and be able to hide parts of the diagram as they make their decisions about what to take on to the next step.