Hopefully it will not come as a surprise when I say that I am a life-long learner. I feel like it oozes out of my pores, and that if you spend more than 5 minutes with me, you get that vibe. At least that’s what I hope.
And so I also hope that it’s not a surprise that the learning I’m most interested in these days is related to technology. I’ve written about some of it already , in the form of how my kids are blogging, and I’m sure that somewhere farther back I explained how I got to the place that I am now with using technology in my classroom (and if I haven’t, I’m sure I’ll decide to write about it!).
This post is the second one for the class I’m taking right now: EDUC 573–Applications of Technology. It’s a requirement for my Masters; even though my focus is not tech, it’s a topic helpful to every teacher these days. And even in just two weeks, I’ve already learned about and tried countless things! I’m beyond excited about “having” to do things that I’m interested in doing anyway.
So that brings me to my goal from last week. I was most excited about beginning to use my blog “in-the-moment” and pledged that I’d try something on it the next day. Which I did, indeed. This week my class reflected on themselves as learners and wrote their own goals, and we used the blog for our ActivActivity in math rotations two different times this week. And so far I’d say I LOVE IT! Kiddos loved seeing their work all right there in one place (rather than all spread out on their individual blogs), and I loved it for the same reason. We could quickly review what we had shared, and compare our thinking. There have already been several other suggestions for how we might continue to use this together. Love that my kiddos are such great thinkers, but I love even more that they know I’ll listen to and incorporate their ideas into what we do. It is, after all, OUR classroom, not just mine.
The topic this week was related to becoming familiar with and beginning to use learning management systems in the classroom. We investigated both Moodle and Edmodo, and considered how they could be used in the classroom to enhance the learning that’s already happening. And that’s the key, I think, to any tech that you’re using–it should complement the learning goals you already have. It should be the learning goal, nor should it come first. I also think that it’s key that whatever you add be easy to use. And for that reason, I am excited to start playing around with Edmodo in our classroom.
Edmodo is a learning management system that is comparable to “Facebook in the classroom.” It’s a safe, private, focused way for a class to communicate on a topic, and has countless features useful to teachers, students and even parents. I think that the first thing I’ll do (after a suggestion from a colleague) is give them some time to see what it can do. I am sure they’ll figure out alot of the ins and outs very quickly. Next my plan is to start literature circle conversations on Edmodo. We’re just about to start them anyway, and it would make sense as a starting place. I’m excited to see the difference in depth that may happen when kids have a chance to put their thoughts in writing this way. And as always happens, I’m sure someone will come up with a great idea for what to do with it next.
Aside from the LMS, we also read the article “Taking the Digital Plunge” by Bill Ferriter (2009). And while I originally focused in on a quote about how quickly finding like-minded learners helped me want to jump in and get my feet wet with tech, this one might even be more meaningful:
Connecting with colleagues online has helped me explore skills and dispositions necessary for
networked cooperation—skills like finding partners beyond borders, making my own thinking transparent,
revising positions on the basis of feedback, accessing valuable information from colearners, and
creating shared content. It has profoundly changed the way I learn.
This week alone, I’ve signed up and am starting to use Edmodo, created the template for my eportfolio, added over 50 links to my delicious account, and planned a Mystery Skype for next week with a teacher in my PLN on Twitter. I believe these are all powerful tools that used by both me and my students to make connections.
I’m excited to see what continues to come out of this learning I am “having” to do here. It’s so much fun it doesn’t seem at all like work!
What have you learned this week about technology? Have you read “Taking the Digital Plunge?” What did you learn? Have you tried Edmodo, Twitter, delicious or Mystery Skype? I’d love to hear your thoughts!