When I think about all that I’ve read and learned about in this course, I too feel like, “Where do I start?” I’ve been teaching for several years now and have even taken Ed Tech courses in the past and I know the importance of integrating technology and all the Web 2.0 applications into my curriculum. I sometimes feel like I need to “wipe the slate clean” and just start over when it comes to how I prepare lessons and set up projects for my students. Don’t get me wrong, I use technology on a daily basis with my students, but I still feel like there is so much more for me to be doing to prepare our youth for what awaits them down the line. It seems like such a daunting task especially when I’m already struggling to fit in the curriculum I am already accountable for my students to know. However, preparing our students for the 21st Century is an important task that I must as an educator take on as a responsibility.
The first thing I think about when asked, “What is my plan of attack?” I think of one of the earlier blogs from “Cool Cat Teacher” about our students being safe online and getting the support of parents and administration to move forward. Other blogs like Blog Rules for teachers and Bud the teacher's blogging rules make me realize the importance of one of the first steps I need to take…setting up guidelines and rules for my students to follow before blogging or holding discussions (via my classroom wiki). Setting up these rules/guidelines may be something I can even have my students help me to create. I feel before I can begin any type of collaborative learning online, I need to be sure my students are ready for taking on that responsibility themselves.
Pedagogically, the biggest thing I want to take from this course is the whole idea of collaborative learning using technology. All of the tools we have been introduced to give us the means to get our students out there working together, sharing and analyzing information, thinking critically, and creating for an authentic audience. Having students blogging with each other about books they have read, writing papers and sharing them on a wiki to be edited by peers, presenting information that has been researched via SlideShare all allow for the collaboration we are seeking.
Personally and professionally there are applications that I already use, such as email, Facebook, delicious, and Google docs. All of these apps allow me to stay in touch with others of similar interests and to share research and findings with each other. Some of the teachers at my school already have delicious accounts, and getting the others on board with delicious will be advantageous for us all. Our principal has already sent out documents using Google docs and has even suggested eventually having teachers and students use Google docs in place of Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. It just may be the way to go?
I am very interested in keeping my blog going and hope that others also want to keep theirs going as well. Staying connected as a “PLN” will allow us to bounce ideas off each other and share what has worked and even what has not worked in our classrooms. I can definitely see the benefit of blogging with the teachers at my school. I believe because we are a small group, it would not be difficult to get the others who have not taken this class to blog with us.
This is all very exciting to me! I hope that I can take what I know and apply it to my teaching affectively, and as a life-long learner, I look forward to what may be ahead and is yet to come!
Thanks, Jim, for a great class, and thanks too to everyone who has participated with their thoughts, ideas, and comments. It’s been a great experience!