Friday, January 12, 2007

January Blog II

Why does optimism always kick you in the behind? I was re-reading a paper I wrote for the technology class last year and I have yet to accomplish anything I thought I would! Here is a section from that paper:

The internet is not a one-way communication tool. It differs widely from other technologies—such as television, radio, or movies. These only offer communication in one direction. With the internet students can be senders and receivers. In thinking about literature, I believe that communication is at its heart. This may be too broad, but reading and writing serve their functions in society by communicating ideas, information, and stories to one another. The internet does the exact same thing. Students can benefit by writing, viewing, and reading about the world, but they can also be participants in a real way. Many of the examples given in the text serve as excellent examples. For example, students can chat online with an expert on Shakespeare or share a short story with a group of writers. These uses all reinforce the idea that Language Arts is the study of communicating with one another efficiently.
Additionally the internet can work very well to support a positive learning environment. Parents can use a website to stay in touch with classroom assignments to create a sense of extended community. Teachers and students can use the internet as an easy research tool that would very much support the ideas of adaptive expertise. Even though students may not have all the knowledge they need to do a challenging project, they could use resources on the net and continue. The computer could also be used for assessments. More importantly, the internet could be used for real-world based projects. Students could design their own websites or newspapers while studying writing. Students could monitor their progress in writing by using a digital portfolio in which they talk about their strengths and weaknesses in writing thereby promoting self-awareness and metacognition. Moreover teachers can design numerous projects in which students can test their ideas and hypotheses.
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Technology extends far beyond number munchers and overheads. Taking to heart how students learn, I can see even more possibilities. I have very big plans for next year using the internet. I am hoping very much that the technology will be available to my students. I am very interested in using digital portfolios as stated before. I would also like to do a project much like the example of “Monsters, Mondrian, and Me” in Chapter 9 only modify it for middle school age students via e-mail. In one of my reaction papers I mentioned doing a project that involves students using low-tech media to trace school and home connections and then posting these on the web. I think bubbleshare.com would work well for that project. Also, I am planning on using the internet for research and classroom ideas. I am anxious to watch examples of good teachers and become involved in a network to continue learning. Although I feel as if this course served as researched-based reinforcement to many of the concepts and philosophies of student learning I already hold, I have many new ideas and a better understanding of why certain educational concepts and models are successful.

I am going to try and make these items my goal for next semester!

January Blog

January Blog 1: How do you feel about blogging?

I have always felt funny about blogging for a number of reasons. It feels strange to put yourself out on the world wide web when the experiences of teacher corps are quite personal. I also think that my shifting audience of a personal journal slash prospective MCT participants slash random hits from google searches is a absolutely absurd combination. I think it may be good for a laugh after I leave Mississippi, but I then I think it may be good for a cry. I do not like being told to blog. I hope that people do read the blogs if they are interesting in applying for teacher corps. I mean some of the details of our blogs are quite revealing about life in MTC. I also hope that the first years can read them and not have to feel so lonely. I have enjoyed reading other teacher’s blogs—especially last year. I was thankful that some people were honest about their experiences. I felt pretty alone last year and blogs were one way of staying connected.