"Little Kids-Big Potential"
I really enjoyed seeing Kathy Cassidy’s use of technology with her first graders in the classroom. She uses many techniques and tools such as blogging, wikis, a classroom webpage, Skype, and Nintendo DS in her classroom. There are many great things about blogging such as the student getting to see his or her writing improvement over time. With blogging, the student gets a much wider audience for their work. If she was not using blogging, the students get to write for whom? Just the teacher and maybe their classmates. With blogging, anyone can see their work and seeing how many people view their page, is exciting for children. Having a wider audience might motivate them even more, because of them knowing that anyone can read it. Also, this is a great tool for parents. No more only getting to see our student’s work in a meeting or when the student is working on it. The parent can access the student’s blog from home and see their improvement whenever they have the chance. I would use blogging in my classroom. With blogging, they could reflect on their assignments and share ideas on some things we could do in my math classroom. Another great tool she used was her classroom webpage. She uses this webpage not only for updates on the class but for the students searching. They have access to links that Mrs. Cassidy posted that helps their learning. This helps with the safety issue of using search engines. I would surely use a classroom web page in the same way that she did. I might encounter these safety issues, but I think with precise instruction and leaving all the useful links on our webpage will greatly limit any bad things they could possibly access. She also used Wikis. I am not very familiar with this tool, but she used it in the classroom for students to ask questions for people to enter responses to. For example, the students asked about traditions. Different people commented about the personal traditions they have such as brushing their teeth every night. If I learned more about wikis, I might use them in my classroom. One issue I might encounter is the feedback being negative, or someone might say something my students do not need to see. As a solution, most websites where you can comment have options to where comments can wait for moderation. That way I can approve the comment before it is posted where the students can see it. The other tool she used is Skype. Mrs. Cassidy uses it to chat with other classrooms and experts with her students. I think Skype is a great, great tool. I would use this in my classroom for sure. It is great to gain new perspectives on ideas from other classrooms or even experts on the subjects you are teaching. I think it is important for students to meet people who are using what they are learning everyday. It is important that students know what they are learning will help them in the future. One issue I could possibly see is trying to set up a skype interview during class and having technical failure. There are plenty of other sites that use video, and if that did happen, I would make sure to have those other sites ready for use. The last tool she used was the Nintendo DS. I do not think I would use this in my classroom, because I think it could end up as an distraction. Also, not every kid might have one, and I would rather the focus be on laptops and applying our knowledge to real life situations versus using gaming. I really loved when Mrs. Cassidy said that by not using technology in our classroom, we are “handicapping” ourselves and our students. This is the best way I have heard anyone explain it. Why wouldn’t you use technology in classroom? Have you seen how the world has changed? We can not continue to use the lecture and worksheet classroom. Our students need to know how to be able to use these tools, because technology is not getting any smaller in our lifetime.