Friday, August 10, 2007
Am I Tech Savvy Yet?
I have been a computer teacher for 10 years and thought I was doing a pretty good job of keeping up. (I really wasn't.) Then I have spent the last two years working on my Master's in Technology as well as National Boards. I learned a lot during my Master's, but there was no time to really explore the things I was learning. I had the opportunity to go to NECC this year and get really charged up about the things I wanted to learn. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and applied for a different teaching position within my school. By teaching English and Social Studies, it is my goal to show the staff in my school that technology integration doesn't have to be hard and can enrich learning of our students. With that in mind, I set up classblogmeister so that my 8th grade can publish some of their writing. I feel that they need to learn how to write for that audience. I have planned my first assignment and I am going to have them write about the summer break using all the IM/text language. I think they will find that to be fun. That will give me the opportunity to talk to them about casual and formal language and we will re-write the same story in formal language. I am setting up a classroom wiki and we will add resources we find on the web that can help them in their writing. For my one Social Studies class, my mind is flying. The first unit is over geography. Google Earth is begging for this assignment. They will have to set up a tour showing me certain things like mountains and major waterways. Then for the next unit, I am planning to give them an outline and break them into groups. They will have an outline and a wiki and they will research their little hearts crazy. I will monitor their progress and make certain they are finding the things they need to learn. Our state has access to Colonial Williamsburg, so I see that going into the plan somewhere, too. I would like to use Tapped In and set up at least one of my classes to collaborate with a great teacher and her class in Texas. I think US History would work well with that. South Dakota could learn much about Texas through talking to other kids. Trying to be in the right frame of mind, I have been exploring many online tools. I am set in Technorati, Flickr, Bloglines, Delicious, and Twitter. I am trying to get Furl unblocked at school, but will work with it at home. I am working my way through blogging and setting up my classroom wiki. (Certainly can't have students doing what I don't!) But in my whirlwind of preparation, am I ready? Panic starts to set in and I feel like I just have scratched the surface. I don't mind learning with my students, but I also know I have a number of staff watching (some, I think, secretly hoping my technology integration will fail.) I can't let my fears win. I KNOW my students are going to enjoy this. It will be something knew. Whoever thought you could learn history without listening to lecture and watching movies. (Umm, I do have a couple of cool movies!) Students will be here in 25 days, so I need to push forward. I do have to teach a technology inservice to the staff before that, so I have some prep work to do there as well. My new classroom is starting to feel more like mine and less like the old teacher's. While still a bit nervous, I just can't wait to get students back in class. Several of them have found me online and messaged me. It makes me think summer is just a bit too long!