Mrs. Cassidy Skype Interview was very interesting because she teaches 1st graders and you wouldn’t think that 1st graders used technology like the rest of the world. The truth is they probably use technology more than any business or “older” person because this is all that they have known in their lifetime. Mrs. Cassidy stated that she did not have a Facebook account until recently but she has used twitter a lot. I, on the other hand, did not have a Twitter account until recently but I have had a Facebook account for years. So, I guess what I am saying is, just as she said, it depends on the individual. Some will be more apt to use a certain type of technology and another person might be more apt to use a different one.
In Mrs. Cassidy first grade class they are able to try several different types of technology and learn the different types of technology. They don’t have to like everything they use, but she does want to introduce them to many different types of technology that may assist them in their learning. She is taking what we are doing in EDM 310 and incorporating it into her 1st grade curriculum. So, not only are they learning how to write, they are learning how to write, post, edit, comment, create videos, create podcasts and interview individuals using Skype and possibly other forms of technology that allows this. They use computers (stand alone programs), they use the internet, they use video games but all in the spirit of learning. They are learning the things a typical 1st grader should learn, but they are also learning how to use technology effectively and safely. Based on what Mrs. Cassidy stated in the interview, I would not be surprised if she were probably teaching them about the effective uses of smart phones although I cannot verify that right now.
In my classroom (which will be high school teenagers) I have a challenge if they have grown up where they were not allowed to use technology in school. I only have this problem because I will be providing them with links that prove useful in trying to help validate a point I have made or a lesson I have taught. I will invite them to bring their smart phones with the understanding that whatever you are doing or have done on that phone you must be willing to share with the entire classroom at any time. This means that whatever is on your phone, if you decide to bring it to class, must be suitable to share with the rest of the class. Because I will be teaching Math, I will look for them to create PLN’s that will assist them in their advancement in the class. I will not hinder them from contacting someone outside of the class if they can provide valuable insight. There are a million and one ways to do one thing and no one person is always right. So I will invite them to share what they have learned from their PLN with the rest of the class.
I may run into some challenges by allowing all of the technology in my class. Like Mrs. Cassidy I will only allow things that are relevant for learning the material I want the students to learn so I may have to keep a close eye on what the students are doing on the phones. I also have to make sure the students are learning what I am teaching them; not only the subject matter but also the responsibility that comes with that freedom. Incorporating the use of technology into the curriculum and making sure I cover everything that should be covered that year may be a little challenging although I believe it is well worth the extra time it may take. I will allow the technology but the students will all be given the opportunity to show what they have learned using the technology they have chosen. If they are not willing to share what they have learned or if it is not appropriate, that student will be dismissed from enjoying the use of that technology in the classroom and the freedom that comes with that opportunity. I will have to think of ways to incorporate the use of technology in the classroom beyond what I have mentioned to allow for PLN use and other things like that but I will get that done as I am creating my lesson plans.
I may also run into some problems with the administration at the school. Like Mrs. Cassidy, all of the administrators may not be advocates of using technology in the classroom and may try to prohibit me from allowing students to use that side of their creative minds. As I stated in a previous posts, I believe this is because they are not comfortable with the technology because it is unfamiliar territory to them. Hey, I may have been the same way had it not been for this class and me now understanding what is out there and how to use it effectively. Although, this could be an impediment I will do my best to educate those that are not in favor of me using this approach by showing stats of how the students have progressed in the class. I will also show them how it has helped my students and what advantages it has had for them from comments from the students and letters to administrators from the students. Every attempt will be made to ensure that what I have allowed, and is working, will continue in the classroom to make sure my students are effective learners using every tool available to them.
Lastly, I believe the students will experience several benefits by this approach. The first and probably least obvious is that they are becoming adults and need to understand how to behave as adults. The freedom they enjoy in my classroom will help them make better informed decisions in the future. They will learn how to find information that will assist them in their development. They will be able to teach someone else how to use the technology to assist them with their education. All of this because I allowed them to be creative, use the technology they were familiar with, encourage PLN’s; learn new ways to do things. I want to reinvent the wheel. It has been around for so long with no changes because people don’t want to change what’s working. Why not change it? Why not try something new? You never know what is out there unless you explore. We limit ourselves too much today and I will not do that with my students. I want them to explore. I want them to change the world and if I can help them do that, I definitely will.