As I return from this Easter break and catch up on reading in Twitter and some updates from my favourite bloggers, I feel a little overwhelmed! I am struck by how much is being done; how much is available to those of us trying to authentically integrate technology within our classrooms and curriculum. I feel like I’m in a travel agency where there are attractive images all around me of beautiful places that entice me to many different destinations.
|Wish this is where I went for holiday!|
The question almost seems to be do I take an e-tour; a package where I can take in the sites of many places of interest or do I customize my travels and spend longer in one area, really getting to know all that makes that place unique? I’d say fellow travellers will say that both offer positive possibilities!
|You can judge yourself accordingly. How comfortable|
are you with technology?
I know when it comes to quick little layovers with some websites, tools and links to useful resources, a short time visiting is all that’s required to get a sense of the benefits for inclusion in your classroom activities. Finding one site that has all those graphic organizers you need instead of having to design them yourself can definitely be something to stick in your backpack! Coming across a link that has interactive manipulatives for Math is a delight not to be missed! The rich resource of Teacher Tube is worth a longer stopover for videos, podcasts, lesson plans and so on that will support teaching and learning about so many topics (and you can post your stuff too!) You might want to spend the day curled up on your picnic blanket pondering articles that reflect current issues such as “Texting Helps Kids Write” available at National Writing Project.
As classroom teachers, we are often driving around looking for those neat mementos to take back as souvenirs! But is this all we should be asking of ourselves as we take the 21st century trip? There’s little doubt all these add to our teaching experiences in a satisfying way. And many of the tech tools we find along the way DO engage the students! But it is essential, I feel, to reflect on the lasting impression-the more meaningful ways of integrating technology into our practice.
I’m with George Couros when he says “We have to move from “neat” to “deep”. Neat can be the start and the initial engagement from students is definitely important (we all want to do things that we enjoy) but how will we move forward?”
One of the ways I can envision as part of my ‘moving forward’ is to plan an extended stay in “Edmodo”. I haven’t been there yet but it is on my itinerary for this fall.
This closed social learning site has many desirable features that sound intriguing and pedagogically purposeful. It will take the experience I have had of maintaining a class website and using Kidblog in a different direction. Edmodo is a multipurpose site that encompasses much of what I want to accomplish with my students and for my parents.
There is little doubt the Facebook look is appealing and user-friendly to many of my students (and parents). As described by Kim Munoz the ways I can enhance the teaching and learning are endless. (Check it out--She has included ideas, a link to her public page in Edmodo and to useful Edmodo guides.) Once the students, and I get comfortable in this place, I can add many Web 2.0 tools such as Animoto, Glogster, Fotobabble or Wallwisher!
These are the types of things I have yet to truly explore; I know where they are on the map but I have to go sightseeing again before I make them part of my classroom journey!
Part of moving forward has to be getting the most ‘bang for our buck’; digital technologies and multimodal texts are the landscape of today. We have to be able to develop a repertoire of literacy attitudes, skills and experiences that enable our students to travel confidently. They need to be able to navigate in increasingly more complex sites, to think creatively and critically about the world around them. Who knows where they will go on their journey!