Monday, December 10, 2012

Integrating Technology in the Classroom

    When using technology in the classroom, the same factors for effective strategies are true as traditional methods.  The technology must meet the needs of various learners, with audio, video and accessibility. It must also keep the learner engaged and motivated to learn the topic.  If the technology breaks down, the teacher must have a back-up plan, just as in the traditional classroom. 
     Integrating web based technologies makes me think about which tools are the best to use in my environment, for my audience, and for my teaching style. While PowerPoints aren't always the answer, new technologies such as Camtasia may be more flexible and better hold the attention of the audience. 
      I've met my goals by adding to my toolbelt of available technologies to use.  I find myself getting stuck on the same few technologies (Blogs, Wikis, PowerPoints), and rarely venturing out of my comfort zone.  I used a Weebly for an assignment, as well as revisited Webquests. 
     I would like to re-do my StAIR project to be a truly stand alone resource. If done well, perhaps on Camtasia or a Weebly, I believe it could be a good resource for teachers learning CCSS and literacy resources in the content areas. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Using Technology Tools

     A Handy Tool
     Working with teachers face-to-face is always the best when presenting new information or instructional practices, but what happens in between the time we meet face-to face?   How do we stay in touch, share information, collaborate on plans, or review what was done in our sessions?   I've found a Wikispace to be quite helpful in this instance.  The Wikispace I've created for work with teachers holds all of our meeting agendas, meeting minutes, presentations, plans, and links to related resources.  I can edit and add, but so can any member of our group.  Everything we need for our current projects can be stored on a Wikispace, and can remain in existence even if the group doesn't get to meet in person.\, so past work can be archived here.
    A Wikispace used in this way helps teach follow-up content on best instructional practices by posting video of teachers demonstrating a specific instructional practice (ie. Anita Archer and explicit instruction of content area vocabulary).  If teachers want to tape themselves and get feedback on their teaching practice, they may also post video to the Wiki of themselves.  This collaborative space can meet the needs of providing additional training and feedback when often teachers cannot all physically meet at the same time and place due to busy schedules.
A Not-So-Handy Tool?  

     One thing I always question with the use of this Blog is how do I know it is useful in my work with teachers?  I post, I have some followers, but do teachers really take the time (or have the time?) to read it and go to other related links I post here?  I'm wondering if Blogs are "old" technology and simply not interactive enough to get the most use out of for the purposes of teaching.  Rather than sit and read an online journal, I'm wondering if teachers (and students) would rather access a game, webquest, or use something more interactive like VoiceThread, or simple website to gain information quickly and move-on to use in their practice. Blogs simply require more time to read and ponder before implementing.  Do current students have patience for a blog when there are other tools which may offer more instant gratification?