We are at the end of the class. It went so fast! I have put a lot of thought and effort into accomplishing my tasks each week (though some more than others) and learned a lot. I know I stated in my last post that the class has pushed me beyond my comfort zone, beyond what I would have explored on my own. Of course we had support! I also didn’t know some of the technology existed, or how to use it beyond static participation. I want to thank all who participated in the class. It was great to connect with educators outside our grade level or hallway. (Even if it was across the parking lot, Kalea.) I learned from all of you, especially Todd and Thatcher. The online format is helpful and with technology changing so fast you really can connect online with hangouts and video. I wish I could have connected in person at the coffee shop, but I still learned about everyone. I feel the format of this class was really suited to our goals, talents and time constraints. Teachers do not usually make the best students. I feel like we want to grow and share, but we don’t sit still and listen for extended periods very well. This class allowed us to learn and work at our own pace, while still pushing us.
I feel I have gained valuable tools that I will use in my classroom. Especially the online blog and portfolio. I want to refine them, then make a new class blog to share with parents. I know some parents might not be able to access it, but I think at least half would use it. On our class blog I will be using all the tools I learned in this class. Video, sound and pictures will be essential. As far as a personal portfolio, that will come after I get the classroom blog up and running. Although, if I could figure out tabs or pages, these areas that are separate in my head could be one thing. The idea of students starting a portfolio in kindergarten and adding to it through high school is one with great potential. I am picturing all the boxes of paper we parents have saved in a closet somewhere, never to be seen. What a wonderful idea that it be digital and not hard to get to! The students would have ownership of their progress and image. There are many possibilities for teachers and students out there. We, as teachers need to keep learning and prepare our students to adapt to technology by modeling. We can do it!
Well it is the end of week six. I feel I have grown a lot in my knowledge and confidence in dealing with technology. The class has helped me use some of the tools out there more effectively and has benefited both my personal and professional lives. Our two instructors, Todd and Thatcher, made it non-threatening and helped me when I got really stuck several times. The class pushed me beyond what I would have done on my own and I feel I am better for it. My personal learning network is not up to where I would like it to be, but as week six told us, this takes time. At least it is started and I will keep adding to it. I have also gained some new ideas to try in the classroom from my own brain and from others. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the little world that is our classroom and be very near sighted. Isolation can creep up on you. We have so much out there to explore and use if we only remember to open up our world. Of course to do that we need the knowledge, the courage and the will to do so. Oh, and perseverance. Just keeping at it got me through a lot of potholes along the way. I did not get tweetdeck set up as my computer is having issues, but will try again in the future. I hope to continue to follow or keep up with some of you to enrich my professional learning network. I have found networking extremely helpful and supportive in two areas of my personal life: 1) being a breast cancer survivor and 2)being a military mom. I cannot tell you how important online communities have been to me in those areas. Now I can add teaching to that list.
I stated this was week four by mistake. It is week FIVE.
For my audio recording I read our curriculum story for the week with some introduction. My students and their parents could listen to it for more exposure. Also, in the future I will have the students read it aloud and they can think of their own sound effects to add, then listen to their creation.
This week has been the easiest for me thus far. I believe this is due to the fact that I am a visual person and have always loved images and minute details. This week has created a photography monster of me. Everywhere I went I would look for details or visually interesting images. I am enjoying it so much and will be using Flicker for many years. I can thank this class for getting me started. I was waiting for retirement or something to get started. I realized I could start NOW!
Ok, as far as education. I already use images frequently (google images usually) to show or “explain” something to my students. As I stated last week I also use you tube videos for this. But if it is a quick thing, an image works. I can easily show a few pictures of a walrus, covered wagon, kind of flower or whatever comes up. On a deeper level I have an idea that I want to try. It would get students to pay attention to detail and their surroundings. I will go around the school and take some close up pictures of places around the school and then show the students the images to see if they know where in their school the picture was taken. For the ones they can’t correctly identify they will be on the lookout as we go to music, PE or lunch. I can also tie this into writing. First grade stories initially tend to be two or three sentences long. “I went to the store with my mom. We bought some cereal.” Using the images as a jumping off point we can explore how details help create a whole, more clear and interesting “picture” with our words. Many teachers already use images to give directions or label things in younger elementary classrooms as their reading ability is limited. I want to do a better job of that also.