Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Transforming My Classroom--Integrating Technology

My last assignment for the course, Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society is to post a reflection of how this course affected my development as a teacher. In this course I learned many new ways to incorporate technology into my classroom and positively affect student achievement; plus it makes learning fun (not only for me but my students enjoy using technology).

This course has really helped me develop my technological skills. I would use technology in my classroom: word processing, Power points, and the Internet but I never would have dreamed about the learning potential of Web 2.0. Wikis and podcasts are now going to be part of my curriculum (the potential of wikis is amazing). Using Google Reader, I am kept up to date with the latest posts about integrating technology in the classroom. If there is something new and exciting, I know about it and can check it out and hopefully incorporate it. The sky is the limit!

The course challenged my technological abilities and expanded them. I am not afraid to do more collaborative projects and learn right along with my students. In our text Will Richardson wrote that these technologies are demanding that we reexamine the way we think about content and curriculum, and they are nurturing new, important shifts in how to best teach students (Richardson, 2008, p.131). As a teacher it is my job to prepare my students with the 21st century skills they will need to succeed. Therefore, I have set two long-term goals (within two years) to transform my classroom environment into a place where technology is integrated seamlessly to meet instructional goals and increase student achievement. My first goal is to create a wiki with my students for my social studies text. My social studies texts are pushing ten years old and with the wiki we could constantly update the content. Also, the wiki would allow my students to study anywhere they have Internet access (no need to bring home heavy textbooks). Finally, it will save my school district thousands of dollars and hopefully they will reinvest it into technology. My second goal is to give my students choices on how to complete projects using technology. For example, if I give a writing assignment, write Chapter 18 for the book "Number the Stars" by Louis Lowry, I will give my students choices on how to complete this. They can create a podcast, a wiki, a screencast, or any creative way using technology that accomplishes the lesson's objectives. This allows me to differentiate to meet my student's different learning styles and will excite my students about learning.

Technology is changing very rapidly and incorporating technology into the classroom gives my students the 21 century skills they will need when they enter the workforce. Providing my students with that opportunity and to see them succeed is not only enjoyable, but very exciting!

Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Podcasting - No Problem!

I have just completed my week 5 application for the masters course I am taking through Walden University. I was quite skeptical at first if I could create a podcast but I have to admit using Audacity and LAME along with Podcastmachine is pretty simple. I just plugged in a microphone and went to work. Me and my students are looking forward to using podcasts and I will be starting a podcast in which my students lead the Pledge of Allegiance for morning announcements using a podcast sent via email to the principal's office. Although neither me nor my students sound that great, it was a lot of fun.