Since I decided to drink coffee at 10 o'clock at night and had such a long nap this afternoon with my hubby being off of work I have decided to go ahead and knock out blog post #11. This means that I am one away from having to come up with my own assignment...yikes.
I really enjoyed watching the first graders in Mrs. Cassidy's class show how technology has enhanced their classroom experience. I found her interview with Dr. Strange's 2010 class over Skype to also be very interesting.
The video Mrs. Cassidy's students made showed an actaul account of the benefits of technology in the classroom. For someone like me who is hesitant about allowing technology to consume the next generation I was impressed with its value that I saw in the classroom. The video seemed to reflect a positive image of the use of technology while maintaining a balance of learning. Technology was used as a resource to enhance the lessons being taught in the classroom. The children were excited and engaged about learning. That is the environment I would like to create in my own classroom one day.
In her interview with Dr. Strange, Mrs. Cassidy addresses many concerns of the use of technology in the classroom. Dr. Strange inquires about the support she has received from the people within the community in regards to her implementing this new style of learning. Mrs. Cassidy comments that she works in a school district where she receives a lot of support from her technology coordinator within her division that helps with her endeavor of incorporating technology into the classroom. She has had many principals throughout her years of teaching and all have supported her using this approach in her classroom in some way or another. She has also received the encouragement from parents of the students she is teaching in her class.
Mrs. Cassidy also addresses using technology vs. not using technology. She says that she does not think technology is going away so we might as well use it in our classrooms. For example, when asked about having a blog vs. not having a blog she comments that her students are more excited about writing on their blogs than they are about writing on paper. Its all about writing for a larger audience vs. just writing on paper for her. She says that her students are more interested in blogging because she has a tool that tracts people from all over the world visiting their blogs. The students in her class are really excited about it.
When addressing Dr. Strange's question about technology literacy she comments on the importance of keeping up with what is currently happening in technology. She says that EDM 310 students should develop their own online network of resources such as Twitter or Blogger. She says that she doesn't really use technology in her personal life, but uses technology for what she is interested in. She encourages EDM 310 students to find networks that match their interests. "For everybody there's a different entry point and I think it is important to play off of what you are interested in...."
Finally, it was interesting the way she addressed the questions from Dr. Stranges' students. For example, she addressed the concern from Rebecca about protecting students from the negative information found online that would be inappropriate for them to view. Mrs. Cassidy explains that she is very thorough in her explanation to her students about what websites are good for learning and what websites are not. I thought this simple but very thorough approach was helpful.
I appreciate Mrs. Cassidy's approach to learning in her classroom and her philosophy behind it. I like the fact that she has a life outside of the technology world and uses technology to enhance her lessons. She doesn't seem to be consumed by technology, but uses it to her advantage. As I have commented before, it is all about keeping a balance. At the same time, it is about preparing our students for a world that is very quickly becoming more dependent on technology. I like the idea of my students blogging and learning the appropriate ways to comment on their peers' blog. I also like the idea of the classroom website as well as using wiki spaces to research information.
There would be many benefits to incorporating these resources into my classroom. Most importantly, this kind of learning environment would be hands on, exciting, and engaging for my students. It's all about building real life connections to facilitate learning. As Mrs. Cassidy proves in her video, when used correctly, technology is our friend that can help get the job done.