To say I have learned a lot in the past five weeks of my online class is an understatement. I have attended Google Hangouts, learned about wikis, back channels, created a blog, and even tweeted! With the smoke clearing from my neighborhood fireworks and Target bringing out their Back to School paraphernalia (I saw them making space today), the start of the school year is not too far away. And the first question I have for myself is Where am I going to start?
I have lots of new tools to try and let my students use, but I have to make a plan of action. I watched & read a lesson about 15 webtools in 15 days. The idea behind this approach is to present the students with a list of tools that they pick, give them a week a class time to prepare, make mistakes, troubleshoot, and present their findings to the class in groups of 2-4. I really want to use this unit at the start of the year instead of at the end as suggested. This will keep the ideas I have learned from this class fresh and then kids can have these tools to use all year long. Here are some concerns/questions I have when thinking about doing this...
- I must have my days of work time and presenting planned out ahead of time so I can reserve a computer cart to use in my classroom.
- What will I do if the computers are running slow or all kids cannot log on during work time? During a group presentation?
- My students don't have access to a class Wiki, could I use something like a GoogleDoc instead? If not, how could I have them share what they have done in one place? Could I make a folder on the shared drive for each class?
I have a few tools I have loved over the course of this class & plan on using immediately: screen cast-o-matic for audio visual lessons, blendspace & ted ed to differentiate lessons or try the flipped classroom experience, Piktochart to make inforgraphics, bubbl.us for mindmaps, and I am strongly considering using Twitter in my classroom as a back channel.
Because my school is not 1:1 & using computers in the classroom is not the easiest thing to do, I know I have to be realistic about the implementation of all my new tools.
So there's a look at where I am going to go with these tools. Now what about something I can do now? In our literature books we teach a section where the big question is How Much Information is Enough? Within this unit, there is a small section about belonging to a place. Students read seven different pieces of various genres. I made a wideo that introduces this part of the unit and gives the kids their reading objective by embedding an infographic I made on easel.ly.