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I've been busy applying to attend the 2011 Microsoft Innovative Education Forum that focuses on integrating technology in the classroom (cross your fingers! I'd love a trip to Washington, DC!). My topic is "Connecting Classrooms with Skype" and details my kids interacting with a classroom in North Carolina.
This has been a great time for me to reflect on classroom technology integration, and I'd like to share my thoughts on that.
I've had a lot of experience with teachers and technology in the classroom since I'm a building and district technology trainer. I do see many creative activities for elementary students that build on PowerPoint, Publisher, Smart Notebook and other great technology tools. However...
...the biggest hurdle I see with the use of technology at school is not getting it into the hands of the students. Meaning: It is becoming increasingly common for teachers to use technology to present lessons, but still all too uncommon to allow the children to use the technology themselves to create or present.
This is a huge mistake. Do I need to give the standard lecture on preparing kids for 21st century jobs? I doubt it; everyone knows this is true. Much more to the point is this fact: kids love to use technology. Love it. Love it. And not just to play computer games! (Classrooms that use computers only as game-based babysitters are missing the boat, even if the games are on math websites).
Bonus! Here's a short video of my kids preparing to do a Skype check. They are the members of my before-school computer club.
Adorable, aren't they?! I'm already dreading the last day of school when I have to say goodbye.
Anyway...back to integrating technology in the classroom. Now that testing is over for the year, we are working on review. I'm having my students shoot, edit and present short videos on different content areas using Flip Cams...right now they are having a blast just coming up with crazy ideas on how to use the green screen to insert different backgrounds behind their acting. Should be pretty funny!
The point is that they'll learn a bit about video production and how to use the actual equipment and programs, and a lot about how to use different technologies to reinforce and capture knowledge, which is exactly what they will be doing in just a few years at their first jobs...no matter what field the end up in.
Tip: A great place to start students with hands-on technology is student-led conferences. Have them make short PowerPoints on their performance in different content areas to present to their parents.
What are your ideas? Please share them on my FaceBook wall!
NOTE: When integrating technology in the classroom using programs that capture student images, be sure to have your video releases signed by parents and filed away. I get mine done at the first of the year. Check with your district for local policies and forms.
"The most interesting information comes from children,
for they tell all they know and then stop."
If a student teacher realizes he doesn't know the answer to a student question in the middle of a lesson, should he interrupt a lesson to ask the supervising teacher or is it better to tell the class that he will address the issue later?
Part of becoming a teacher is asking questions...and, frankly, being questioned. This is a great opportunity for ANY teacher to say, "I don't know, but I bet I can find out and get back to you."
This is a great thing to model for students...
Read the full response under the Teaching Careers Q&A Section
"What makes a good teacher?" That seems to be the question of the decade...and not just this decade. Pick any decade for the last 70 years, and you'll find a spirited debate on public school reform. I love to engage in this important discussion because it is extremely important to my profession. Read more
I've revised and re-launched my entire student teacher section. It, too, includes ideas on integrating technology in the classroom for self-assessment and rapid improvement. I've updated lots of great success tips for any student teachers you may know. It's filled not just with "how" but also "why"...including "why does a classroom teacher take on a student teacher?" Our up-and-coming teachers need reality as much as they need experience. Read more
I'm writing a monthly column for Teachers.net Gazette with the ongoing theme of "BUSTED: Myths Exposed for New Teachers."
See you next month...with more teaching insights and articles. In the meantime, brainstorm a few ideas for next year about integrating technology in the classroom!
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