One of my aims of the course was to become more familiar with technology. I have learnt the term web 2.0 and am understanding some of its associated programs. I think this course has helped me to dip my toes into programs/software I would probably not have tried as I didn’t understand how to, or have the time too. It has made me more open to try new technology and not to worry if I can’t figure it out at first, but just having the opportunity to experiment. As this sometimes leads you into figuring out how to use it. This therefore means that we don’t necessarily need to understand fully all about certain programs as when students are exposed to them they will also learn best by trial and error. When planning the UBD units for the new school year I think technology programs should also be incorporated so they can be best utilized and you can ask for guidance before if needed. I have learnt many new things on this course, for instance; what is bogging and how you do it! I have enjoyed working with partners and groups as you learn a great deal from other people.

macThis week I volunteered for a teacher from a local school to shadow me. It has become second nature to me to use the projector to demonstrate key learning objectives, show PowerPoint’s and explain different games students can play to reinforce the objectives. In addition, using the laptop carts we have in Grade 4 as and when needed.   It has made me aware of how much I rely on the internet to find and use all of these wonderful tools. After having a conversation with the teacher, she stated that her school has no computers, they don’t have one at home and she teaches the same grade as me but she has 62 students compared to the 21 I have.  It therefore makes me feel very very fortunate that I have the technology and web2.0 to use and how lucky the students are to have this opportunity.  It does however make me aware of the daily challenges teachers in this country face to educate their students.

I have read various blogs and completed some research about the use of cell phones in the classroom. It really did surprise me to learn of all the new tools associated with cell phones. I admit my phone is purely used to text, call and schedule appointments and I really don’t use enough of the features available on my phone that most people would. I read this article here  about the top 20 ideas of using cell phones and it opened my eyes. I liked Amanda’s blog explaining the use of QR codes and thought that this would be something the students would thoroughly enjoy. Also, the fact that students can potentially e-mail you their homework from their phone in class will potentially fade out ‘the dog ate my homework!’  and the other many excuses that they seem to come up with! I do think that cell phones could be a possibility, but (I know a but) I do think that there may be a problem with phone envy, especially in the elementary school and many students begging parents for the new up to date phone which seem to come out every month.

A UK based company has made robots for schools! Don’t panic, not to make us redundant, you can breathe a sigh of relief your job is still safe!  The aim is to sell the robots to Secondary schools to get more students involved in Technology, Math and Science by using robotics. The humanoid robots work by programming them, so they can dance, jump, play football and much more. Students have to programme each of the 17 joints to make sure the robot does what you want it to do and not fall over. There is a short video clip on this site so you can see the robot in action! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/technology/ces/4159182/CES-2009-Robots-for-schools-to-make-computing-fun.html

My aims for this course in the beginning were to familiarise myself more with the macbook and their tools. When I found out that this course was becoming familiar with other technology and how to use it in the classroom I didn’t quite know what to write as I didn’t know what to expect! I do think now that I need to continue to explore tools associated with Web 2.0. By continuing to learn how to use wikis, skype, podcasts, social networking forums and blogging, I can understand how they can be best used and how to start incorporating them into the classroom.  I don’t intend to bombard the students with technology but by learning what all the tools are about, I can plan to use the best tool for the job!

 

Reading this article  http://www.nextgenerationlearning.org.uk/en/Technology/ got me thinking of how privileged students are nowadays. Gone are the chalk and blackboards, learning by copying information from one source to another, or listening to the teacher talk endlessly and taking notes.  Then a step up to a computer in the classroom, which never really got used as no one knew how to use it effectively; apart from typing and printing.  This phenomena then multiplied and you may have been lucky to have a few more computers in the classroom.  Nowadays most schools have computer suites and up to date software and educational programs to facilitate teaching and learning. Specific computer skills are taught to students in the first few years of schooling and most if not all students have access to a computer at home. Reflecting on my first year of teaching in London where only the office had a computer, I certainly think technology has definitely improved my teaching. I can honestly say I don’t know how I would cope if the technology were to disappear-ahhhhhhhh

It seems that every new year of teaching new technology is uncovered for me. I hadn’t heard of the term web 2.0 before this course, although I have heard of blogs, wikis etc.. Just when you begin to familiarise yourself with technology and how to use it effectively in the classroom new breeds come and change the way we teach, and students learn. We have to learn to embrace the new technology and to use it to enhance student learning within the classroom. You also need to be careful not to use technology for technology sake but really think about what you want students to achieve.

 Web 2.0 is changing the way we teach. For instance in my class, and the rest of grade 4 we used ‘Ning’ to create characters based on our unit of inquiry on Migration. Students set up their own page about their character and drew a picture of their character and scanned it on their page. The grade 4 ‘s were then able to access other students sites and learn about their migration stories and leave comments or ask them questions. This social networking site proved very popular and engaged student learning into learning about other migration stories.

We also need to be aware of overuse. If each year students are using ‘Ning’ or similar programmes, then we have the problem of over exposure and students repeating similar learning experiences and therefore you maybe won’t get the same student learning you would have hoped for. So now I need to immerse myself and try out the new technology associated with Web 2.0 Wish me luck!!!