Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Putting Ed-Tech Into Practice - Hindsight is 20-20

Entering the 3rd month of being back in the classroom has opened my eyes to a lot about how I could have done things differently in years past and even this school year.  In all my administration classes, they talk a lot about reflecting on your teaching, so allow this post to be one where I do that.

When it comes to technology, I realized that I probably over thought the fact that kids do have easy access to computers and the Internet, or at least ways to get to one.  I am realizing that is not necessarily the case.  I do my best to make the computers in my classroom available, but with coaching a sport, I can't be available in the afternoons for the first few months and that has made it tough to "require" use by the students.

When it comes to keeping a classroom blog, I should have started out requiring kids to reply to a post for credit on a test, or something a long those lines.  I also should have done the same about getting the word out about my Facebook and Twitter pages to the parents.  I have realized that I am not getting the usage from students out of my blog, Facebook, and Twitter that I had hoped for, and that all falls back on me for how I approached it.

I am using the blog to update what we are doing in class, but not as an engaging tool with parents and students as I hoped it would be.  I know that next trimester I will need to do a better job of communicating this to parents.  I have also had a recheck on reality of what it means to teach 120 kids each day.  Communication takes a lot of work, even in the electronic age when it is supposed to be faster.

The good thing is that our district is on Trimester schedule, so in November I will have a whole new subject and classes of students.  This will allow me the opportunity to adjust my approach to utilizing the social media I have created in my classroom.  I will make it more of a focus during class time and share more of what is being done and what students are saying.  It will also be more applicable as I get into Government and Economics.  Sometimes, subject matter can play a huge role in how technology is used effectively.

A couple weeks ago I did take my students to the computer lab to work on a project.  The past two years I have read and read about how this generation knows how to use the Internet and a computer and type in Word successfully.  I am learning that is not really the case.  Technology is not as "natural" to them as we think it might be.  Certain aspects, yes, but as a whole, no.  It will be interesting to see if this changes in the coming years.

What have I had success in though?
- Students were able to easily navigate the CIA World Fact Book site for a geography project.
- Several students have signed up for the Remind 101 account that I have created.

With next trimester also comes the possibility of video conferencing with a 5th grade teacher who is a friend of mine and having our own "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" game; as we both study government.  I am looking forward to that, and hope to blog about the experience when we get to that point. 

How have you reflected on your teaching recently?

1 comment:

  1. Nikkie Zanevsky (@pkto3progress)October 12, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    Thanks for sharing this! It's great to get this perspective from someone who's started to work social media into his classroom. The lesson here is that it's definitely an ongoing process and social media does not magically engage students & parents right off the bat. I think it's so important to start and then continue to look critically at what can be improved (exactly as you're doing)... the "fail better, fail faster" method.