Monday, June 14, 2010

Common Misconception #6 - Technology Integration Across all Subject Matter

There Can't Possibly be any Technology to Integrate in the Subject Matter that I Teach

Number six in the 8 Common Misconceptions about Technology Integration in Education deals with discovering technology that relates to the content areas that we all teach in education.  The idea that there is little technology available for your subject matter can't be farther from the truth.  No matter what you teach or even how you teach it, there are an abundance of resources available for your subject matter.

Gone are the days of relying on what comes with a textbook for additional resources in your classroom.  There is WAY more than that available.  I remember just getting new textbooks in 2008 and being concerned about the type of resources they were offering because I had little knowledge about anything else available.  I have come to the conclusion there is very little that textbooks can offer me that I can't get on the web for free.

First place you might want to look for resources for your subject matter is my Links Page that has links broken down by subject matter.  There are tons of great websites beyond just what is on my list.  The purpose of exploring my list of links is just to showcase some of the resources that are available for your subject matter.  I hope to be updating that list this summer, so check back before the start of the school year.

Next piece of advice is to join Twitter.  Once you have done that, search the Twitter4Teachers Wiki and start following teachers who teach the same subject as you and see the resources that they are sharing and using in their classroom.  You can then discuss through Twitter the different resources, lessons, and activities for use in your classroom.  Instead of going across the hall for questions, go global and use Twitter for those same questions.  You will get more than one opinion.

Once you have done that, create a Diigo account so you can start bookmarking resources that you find.  You can also go to the links below to find resources that have been tagged as your subject matter.  The resources are organized by the ones tagged the most.
If you teach another subject, visit any of the above and type in your subject and see what resources are available.  If you teach a certain curriculum, like Government, Algebra, Biology, Poetry, type in those subjects as well.  This is a great way to start discovering resources in your subject matter.  If you teach a certain grade level, try that as well.  If you prefer, you can search Delicious, another type of Social Bookmarking website.  

Another option is to search through Wikis that are subject based.  I recently discovered some that have discuss several resources.  You can read my Wiki Wednesday Blog Post about those Wikis.
The above will help you find specific subject based resources.  Other Web 2.0 resources are available and they can be used in several different ways across ALL subject matters.  For those, I suggest that you search through the Web 2.0/21st Century Tools and Web2.0 Tools 4 U 2 Use Wikis.  Don't think that you have to find subject based resources when there are TONS of resources that can be used across the curriculum.

3-5 years ago, it would be a good argument that there were very few technology resources to integrate into your subject matter, but with the development and integration of Web 2.0, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that there is no subject matter that does not have a resource for it.  With all these available resources, the argument that your subject matter keeps you from integrating technology is no longer valid.

As teachers, it is time to use the creative minds that we have and develop NEW and APPEALING lessons for our students.  We have to bring the technology they currently use into our classrooms.  Finding what works for your subject matter is what is important.  Start using it and start sharing how you are using these tools for other teachers.  No longer does WHAT you teach keep you from REALLY being able to teach to your students.

When your students think your subject matter is boring, many of these tools make it interesting to them.  It is up to you as a teacher to make the lessons interesting.  Taking time to learn how to use these tools can turn those uninteresting lessons into ones you look forward to teaching, and students look forward to learning.  You chose to teach a certain subject because you had an interest in it.  Use these tools to help create that same interest in your students.

What are your thoughts?  Have you found a resource that really brought out your subject matter?
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