I enjoyed watching the YouTube video, Little Kids...Big Potential, about Ms. Cassidy's 1st grade class. I was amazed at how well spoken many of her students are at such a young age, including the ones she had do the voice overs from her previous class.
As I was watching the Skype interview with Ms. Cassidy, I was thinking about how much I knew, or really how little I knew, about technology before I took EDM310. I never would have put myself in a category of being ten to twenty years behind with using technology, but that's exactly where I was prior to this course. I'm catching up, but there is still so much more to learn.
I like the suggestions Ms. Cassidy made for getting started. Start with the category in which you are most interested. If you like photography, she suggested trying Flicker or other photo sharing sites, if it's video, then try YouTube, and if you like to write, then Blogger would be a great site to share ideas. These are the types of tools Ms. Cassidy uses to bring technology into her classroom. A great question Ms. Cassidy asked was, "why would a child want to write with pencil and paper for me to see it, when they can write on a blog and the whole world can see it?" That's the reason blogging is such a popular tool in her classroom; the kids have an audience. They use a class blog meister and a cluster map to keep a record of how many people visit their sites and from what locations they are visiting. This makes the students very excited about writing. Blogging also provides an online portfolio that students and parents can access at their convenience. Parents are able to stay informed of what their child is learning and they can see the progress their child is making.
Skype is a tool Ms. Cassidy's class uses to communicate with other students in order to build relationships and share ideas about writing.
Ms. Cassidy says that kids and technology go hand in hand. It's not strange or unusual; it's just part of their world. I love the thought that kids no longer have to "power down when they come to school" instead they power up!
According to Ms. Cassidy, "It's all about education and teaching them what to do. You are handicapping yourself and your students by not using the technology that is available."
So will students come to my classroom to power up, to get connected, and to be engaged in learning? I believe they will if I can use technology to enhance my lessons. I agree with Ms. Cassidy, kids today are very comfortable with technology and they want to use it. They think it's fun and exciting and I want that fun and excitement to carry over into learning. Yes, I will use technology in my classroom.
I plan to be a high school math teacher, so the idea of the "flipped classroom" is very appealing to me. I still need to do more research, but if I understand the basic concept, then I could use YouTube, or something of that nature, to broadcast my lessons. Then, instead of lecturing every day, we would use the class time to work in groups and have more time to work on concepts with which individual students are struggling. Instead of homework, it becomes classwork, and I am there to provide assistance and observe the needs of my students. The classroom becomes a place of interaction; of thinking, collaborating and problem solving. With the lectures being accessible online, students would not fall behind when they are out for several days due to illness, field trips, or athletic events. I would also recommend a few websites that are designed to help students understand math concepts, like Khan Academy and S.O.S Math.
Teaching students to connect with other students, either through Twitter or Facebook or both, is a great way to help them establish a support system or study group. If they are struggling with a concept or a particular homework problem, they could ask for assistance from their peers. I could also use these tools to post assignments, send out project ideas, and make announcements or schedule changes.
I will continue to use Blogger. I'm not sure how much blogging my math students will do. I'm following William Chamberlain's blog and have enjoyed his posts about the lunch project they are doing in his math class. I am also following other high school math teachers on Twitter. I think it is great to share project ideas and classroom ideas with other educators through these tools. I plan to look further into how much blogging the students actually do for math class and what information they share.
I won't be sure exactly what I will use or how I will use it until I actually have a classroom and see what works best with my students, but I am sure I will use technology. I am excited about the changes taking place in education and can't wait to see what happens when we all power up!