blogs, wikis, skype, and video. I was so impressed that students as young as first grade are able to work with all of this technology. The video shows the students actively engaged in their learning. An important word that I heard repeatedly in the student video was choice. Students can choose what lessons they are going to view on the class webpage. They can choose how they are going to express themselves on their blogs. They worked together to choose how to raise their nintendogs. I would certainly use any technology in my classroom that increased the amount of choice students have in their education.
As a teacher I would absolutely want to have my students writing blogs. Mrs. Cassidy discussed the myriad of benefits to be gained from students publishing their work in a public forum. She noted that blogging gives students an audience. This is so important because it gives them a feeling of importance. I want my students to feel that the work they are doing in class is meaningful. Having people from all over the world view what you have created and give you positive feedback and support your learning lends a meaning to the work that not even an A+ and a scratch-and-sniff sticker can compete with. The students in Mrs. Cassidy's class create blogs using classblogmeister which allows them to know how many people are visiting and where they are visiting from. Knowing that someone in another country is reading their work will surely increase their curiosity about other cultures as well as improve their geography skills.
The students also use wikis. How exciting for them to be able to create and collaborate with the world. I loved that she incorporated culture by having her students ask about the traditions of their audience. Their collaboration with the 2nd grade class in Gadsden was also really exciting because they are learning from and working with students of different ages which helps with their social development.
At one point in the student video the children were asking questions of a geologist who was communicating via skype. I was so excited by this idea. There are so many opportunities to learn from others and using technology makes experts on any subject so much more accessible. Not only are they learning about the subject being taught, but they are also learning to interact with others in a productive way. They are learning to learn by asking questions!
I so hope that I can incorporate these things into my classroom. One obstacle that occurred to me as Mrs. Cassidy was discussing the permission sheet that parents sign to allow students to use the blogs was, what if they won't sign? What if you have one or two parents who are afraid of technology and don't want their kids anywhere near the internet? I would hope to be able to convince them otherwise. If they can't be persuaded do you deny access to all students? Or do you single out those children and give them alternate assignments?