I must confess that initially when I was told by Dr. Watwood that I need to get a Delicious account, will be blogging, and that I had to send him the URL for this blog, I was feeling a bit apprehensive about the course. I love technology, but I am not one that fancies blogging. With all the identity theft, and Facebook and Craig's list related crimes that were evident on television, I was not a fan of either blogging or social networking websites.
However, I am one that applies my all to any task that I am assigned. As a result, the first thing that I did was to get blogging. I named my blog page "Technology and Its Place in Schools." I mean in the name of my job and class assignments I was going to get the job done. Still apprehensive, but willing to try.
I must say that the way in which we were eased into this world of technology by my professor was very beneficial to me. The first blog was about a video titled Welcome to my PLE! I was in awe about the way in which this student was using the internet. I would have loved to have a student like this and others in my class. While watching this video I remembered Alvin Toffler that had a lot to say about the need to change our education system. Then I thought, wow, this change could apply to our technologically advancing world, for we have to change with the times. Technology has progressed in ways that one would not have dreamed of in 1990 much less 1980. I remember when we had those cell phones that were so huge, yet one felt important while carrying it.
Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola, made the first US analogue mobile phone call on a larger prototype model in 1973. This is a reenactment in 2007
Next we blogged about our reaction to Vicki Davis and other education blogs that drew me in even more. Here was a teacher that was using mobile phones in the classroom in a way that boosted the teaching and learning environment. Gone are the days of the mobile phone shown in the picture above. Now mobile phones are so advanced that many can be used as a computer is. Again proving the point that this is a technologically advancing world. I had to board this technological boat.
Without a doubt, the fact that I was blogging anonymously helped even more. I am very protective when it comes to my identity. At this point, I am actually getting to love blogging. I think that I will definitely continue this practice when the course ends. I have even gotten my high school students blogging. The emphasis is on getting them writing and this is an interactive way that I find beneficial.
I have learnt that there is far more to the internet than just social networking sites, that I am still not a fan of. I have decided to use the internet from an educational point of view. Use the internet to enhance the teaching and learning environment. Use the internet to engage my students and ultimately continue to widen their educational capability via a medium that they know and enjoy. I completely agree that technology is a catalyst for teaching and learning in the classroom. Please read the rest of that article that was written by the North Carolina Regional Educational Laboratory. It talks about the importance of technology in the classroom. Here is another article about technology in the classroom. The Education Act speaks about the importance of technology in the classroom.This article by J. N. Lam discusses this fact and other issues.
Undoubtedly, I will be incorporating a number of the web tools that I have been introduced to in this course. I am currently using Wikispaces and loving it. My parents can keep track of what I am doing daily, and my students are posting their assignments on line. I am also using Jing as a way for my students to give tutorials on assigned tasks that they have completed. Tasks such as storytelling, tutorials on given topics, and the pictures feature that this website also offers. I am using other web tools such as, Snag it, Glogster, and they are loving every minute of it. It warms my heart to see my students learning and also being prepared to function in a society that embraces technology that they can now not only function in but also be comfortable with.
I definitely believe that the way in which Dr. Watwood introduced us to the course is wonderful. I am happy that, though he encourages us to comment and vote on assignments that we have posted, he is ultimately the one that decides the grades that we get. I also believe that by telling us to comment on education blogs prior to the tutorial is beneficial. The education blogs that I have viewed and commented on, such as, Vicki Davis and Miss Bliss, I would never have seen had I not been apart of this course. They opened my eyes to the ways in which other educators are using technology. Looking at Jason Wesch, I saw other creative ways that Wikispaces can be used. These blogs also made me realize that the ways in which I had been using technology in my class actually mirrors many of the ways other educators are using web tools.
What I would have done differently though was to have actually either completed and have presented the Jing tutorial myself as the Professor, or have the student who is completing the Jing Tutorial do so at least two days before the other students. Many of us, like myself, have never used Jing before. As a result, getting a tutorial on how to use it would have been extremely beneficial.
It was definitely a wonderful idea to get us to complete tutorials on different web tools. This served to ensure that we are exposed to the various Web 2.0 tools that are available for use in our daily lives and especially in our classrooms. It also helped those of us that may not be cognizant of the use and availability of these various websites. As for me, as popular as Jing seemed to be, I had never seen or used it prior to completing my tutorial. Now, as I said before, I absolutely love it.
Additionally, I have advanced in leaps and bounds when it comes to the use of web tools thanks to this class. Sir, I must thank you for opening my eyes to the varied types and applications of web tools. I know that as a result of this course, I have been able to incorporate the use of technology in my class as was expected. Some of our students were issued their laptops courtesy of the county. As teachers we were expected to use them daily. My students have been able to incorporate the use of this technology in ways that I never knew that I could do. Again, thanks to this course. I am definitely a fan of technology and sees its positive applicability to the classroom! :-)
http://www.screencast.com/t/yEZW6F3XStudents in a class using web tools on their laptops.