It is very important to have specific goals when teaching with technology. Is the goal for the students to learn content information? Is it the technology they should learn? Maybe a little bit of both? Without a focus, the lesson can get lost or overwhelmed by the technology, or the technology could be overshadowed by the content. I am guilty of this from time to time and have to remind myself of what it is I am trying to teach. I something find the "coolest" new program or software and spend more time teaching the program than addressing content. Making sure to keep technology integration in check and in line with goals is incredibly important in the classroom.
I'm normally pretty picky about technology to begin with, but my evaluations are typically more informal and I keep them to myself. I was glad that we were encouraged to try technologies that we might not consider, specifically webquests, and that we got to share our feelings with our classmates (and the world via MERLOT). I am not a fan of webquests and would have NEVER considered using one in my classroom. In my experience webquests tend to be old, complete with outdated links and hideous (or non existent) graphics. After seeing how easy it was to create one, however, I would now be more willing to do webquests with my class, as long as it is something I have created and geared specifically towards my students. I did like the one that I found to review, but it took so long for me to find one that I felt I could actually use that I probably would have been better off just creating my own to begin with. I do appreciate the fact that this class got me to try it, and actually find a place for it in my teaching. I also really like that we were encourage to created blogs for this class. I normally stick with Google products (sites, blogger, etc...) but I figured that I would try out Weebly since I've heard a lot about it. I really enjoyed it and currently have one of my students "beta testing" it for me while I decide how to best implement it with my students (and stick to my curriculum goals). I'm hoping to have each student maintain their own webpage next year once I figure out how I will tie it in.
My primary goal for this course was to create some materials that I could use with my third grade students. I am happy to say that I accomplished that goal! I am happy with the lesson I created, especially after revising. It is based on an activity that I already do each year, but the additions will make it even better next time. I was also pleased with the Native American webquest that I created. I had a lot of fun thinking of the adventure on which I could take my students! I also think the Earth's Changes StAIR will be a great tool to use in my science class. I can see using this to remediate and reinforce our class lessons. I will be on maternity leave for part of the 2013 school year, so I think I may make several other StAIRS for the substitute to use during that time.
One goal that I am planning to start working on over the summer is converting to a "flipped" classroom. I'm going to start with science, and eventually expand to incorporate more subjects. We already have a subscription to Discovery Education, which has tons of great videos that I'll be able to use. In addition to the premade videos, I plan to make a series of simple science videos, which I will upload to my class website and burn on to DVDs so that they will be ready as needed (DVDs for students without internet access at home). I also like the idea of incorporating a StAIR into the flipped class as a different means to presenting the information. I wouldn't have thought of that before this class. I think this is an achievable goal and one that will be beneficial for the students and for myself.
I'm Edie - wife, mom, teacher, instructional designer, home renovator,
and lover of nature, travel, technology, and vintage campers!