Thursday, June 10, 2010

Final thoughts...

How will you continue to learn new ways of doing new things? What challenges do you predict for the 1:1 program?

1. I will continue to learn through my online community - Twitter, Google Buzz - I follow many ed tech gurus he keep me abreast of all the latest techy stuff.

2. I will continue to feed off Paul and Jennie who are so far ahead of the curve they might have already traveled to the future.

3. I will continue to learn from my students who love sharing stuff with me and don't make me feel like an old fart (well, not always).

Challenges.... I'll let you know as we go!

Pivot this.

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Reflect on how the web is not just a source of information, but a birthplace of information. How will you encourage the development of the information literacy skills our students will need for their futures?

Wow. I am currently suffering from brain burn-out as the last few days of school dwindle down.... and this is a super big question. Can I take a pass, please? Seriously. Are you trying to torture me, Paul?

Sigh. Here goes.

The web rocks. I don't know how I lived without it. I don't know how teachers taught without it. As I watched my students create glogs, blogs and prezis this year, I saw them contributing to the web of information that is out there. As they learn, I learn. To be honest, I feel like I'm always trying to catch-up and sometimes I am overwhelmed, but often excited too, by all that is possible. I'm still reeling from Gary Flake's Pivot application.

I will continue to encourage my students to develop their information literacy skills and I will continue to upgrade mine!

Do you share calendars?

How we might make student self-organization more appealing?

Some of my seventh grade students until

Many of my seventh grades seriously struggled with self-organization. Their homework was rarely completed, their assignments were late and often accompanied by lame excuses. After weeks of fruitless nagging to bring their agendas to class and copy down their assignments and homework, I gave up. They were clearly frustrated and so was I. Then, like a gift, I remembered how much easier my life had become after I started using and sharing my personal calendar with my family, friends and colleagues. I have since shared my class calendar and set them up with calendar alerts sent directly by SMS to their personal cell phones.

As a result, I have seen a dramatic increase in assignments being handed-in on time and homework completed more consistently. Google Calendar was a life-saver for my students.

Google Earth and Maps

Describe some ways you could you use Google Maps or Earth to engage learning in your classroom.

As a humanities teacher, I love Google Earth and Maps. I do admit that I need to use them more.... These online applications are an excellent way to incorporate geography into my lessons, make history lessons more tangible and make story settings more realistic.

I solemnly promise to use Google Earth and Maps more frequently next year! Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.

Do you share?

How might we prepare students for a life of mass-sharing?

I think it's important to give students the necessary skills to share responsibly, effectively, positively and safely. Teachers can model sharing with students by starting the year off with teacher-student shared document that could be used as a journal or notebook. Having many opportunities for students to work collaboratively online using various applications let's them practice their skills. Reflecting as a class on what worked well, what didn't and how to improve the next time will empower students to think about how they can be more effective when working within an online community.

I think students will, and in many cases already have, easily translated their group skills to online forums. Many kids play multi-player online games and IM regularly. We probably only need to teach them the finer details in diplomacy, negotiation and basic manners.

Follow me!

What online resources have you used to improve your teaching, and how do you usually find them?

I am like a vacuum cleaner or a sponge or magnet or some other object that sucks, attracts or collects information and resources. Luckily, I am not a hoarder and feel it is my duty to share whatever I find. Thank the internet heavens for Twitter and Google Buzz which allows me to share and pick up new ideas quickly and easily.

As far as what online resources I use in the classroom well, I can't even keep track or remember them all.

I suggest you start following me!
shesonatrip - twitter

My ball and chain....

Think back a few years to how you used to use your computer. Describe any changes you've noticed over that time. Finally, make some predictions about your computer use in 2013.

As I reflect on my relationships with my various computers, I realize that I have become more entrenched, needy, and slightly neurotic. It was never an equal partnership of mutual benefit but a one-sided dependency. My ball and chain are a full-on addiction of which there is no cure and no respite. In fact, I'm dragging my computer down with my lack of sophistication and computer savvy. I'm surprised that my computer has not fired me and moved onto someone who will grace its keyboard with more than two digit typing at about 5 words a minute. Someone who knows all the IM short hand, who can surf the internet without forgetting their original quest, and someone who knows a gigabyte from a... well, a... (insert techy term here).

My very first personal computer was a second-hand Apple. It was a clunky, cream-coloured, desktop with a tiny screen. I thought it was awesome. I was in my first year of college and taking an Advertising and Marketing degree. I thought I was super cool because I was in a program that specified an Apple computer under suggested class materials. We were taking design classes and would need to be able to run programs like Adobe Photoshop and QuarkXpress. My internet connection at the time was dial-up and slower than molasses flowing backwards up a hill under a meter of snow in the dead of winter in Moose Factory, Ontario. Luckily, I didn't spend much time on the internet. I probably spent a few hours a day working on my computer at home and the computers at school. Computers were for completing assignments. I checked my email every now and then. Socializing was still done face-to-face or by phone, class was still writing notes on lined paper.

My second computer wasn't an Apple. In fact, I would not get back to my roots for awhile. I dabbled with the "other" kind computer for a few years. In teacher's college, I received my first laptop as part of my B. Ed. program. Nipissing University was using my class as a pilot program for the 1:1 new teacher program. Thanks to Nipissing I discovered the world of high-speed internet, instant messaging, Google, and downloading music/movies illegally. We had an IT class which taught us how to incorporate technology in the classroom. I quickly learned how to multi-task; IM'ing my fellow classmates, checking my email, posting required comments to class discussion forums, and listening to my prof ponder the need for differentiation in the classroom. My computer usage leap-frogged significantly and my dependence became impossible to break.

Skipping ahead through my relationships and two continents later, I am currently using a Macbook which I love. I would not be able to exist without it. It has consumed me completely.

But I don't think this is a bad thing. Really, I don't! Without my Macbook I wouldn't have been able to keep up with my human relationships. As an overseas teacher, I rely on Skype, FaceBook, Picassa, Twitter and Gmail to maintain and even build my personal and professional relationships. My networks are worldwide and stronger than ever.

I worry about my laptop. I debate whether I should bring it with me on holidays. I'm afraid I will drop it. Or it will stop working. Or maybe it will be stolen. What would I do without it? How will I know who has just eaten toast for breakfast, who thinks that the new season of Lost is a waste of time, who needs a resource for teaching the Renaissance, and who has just posted a video of their two-year old laughing?? Seriously. This is hard-hitting news that I can't live without.

I need my laptop and that's why I have chained myself to my Macbook. For better or worse, it can't leave me in the dark. I won't allow it!