The course so far…

I think that the tools that we have been exposed to so far in this course are going to really come in handy next year.  Since I will be in a brand new building that is fully loaded with technology and a SmartBoard in every classroom, this class seemed essential to take.  I plan on sharing all of these tools, applications and web resources with my colleagues who hopefully will share with more.  While some of the programs are ones that I’ve already used in the classroom (Discovery Education, Word, Google Docs, Comic Life….) I didn’t realize just how much I could do with them or everything that was offered within a program.  Some of the newer tools I was exposed to like Prezi and Quia are SO neat and easy to use, I can’t wait to utilize them in my AS classroom next year.

As far as actually being *in* the classroom, I’ve really liked the flexibility we’ve been given.  It’s nice that the professor recognizes that we all have different levels of technology experience and he allows us time to work independently while this opens up time for others to ask questions and receive further guidance.  We also get to apply everything we are learning to what WE individually teach instead of creating a generic assignment that has nothing to do with our classroom.  It’s nice getting a jump-start on planning for next year while at the same time completing assignments geared toward this course.  Win-win!

Access Nation Reaction

I actually was a little disturbed by how easily a complete stranger could gain access to someone’s personal information, visited sites and other private information by paying a company to do the grunt work.  While I personally have nothing to hide from say… a government agency using a company like for security means, it still freaks me out knowing that my information could be out there for weirdos to see.  In the episode it was especially disturbing that a woman was killed by one of her crazy patients, so then you have to wonder… is the next person you make angry going to go home and want to use these services to get revenge or worse?!?!?!

As far as how this would impact a situation in a classroom, teachers will have to be even more careful than they are now about what they allow students to post and share online.  Even if it is a secure GoogleDoc or safe educational blog site, if students post anything personal that a stranger could potentially use against them then the school could have a lawsuit on their hands.  It’s all scary to me BUT if we learn and teach students the correct and proper way to utilize these types of tools in the school setting, no harm should come from it.  Also, students should always use ID numbers or create usernames that don’t reveal who they really are but the teacher can still track them.

How Technology has Changed my Life

The first thing that comes to mind is how technology has made my life easier and tedious tasks more convenient and easy to do.  I think of so many different types of technologies like emailing, instant messaging, word processing tools, text messaging, teaching on a SmartBoard, Google Earth, using the world wide web, etc.  Not only is it easier to plan lessons as a part of my daily job, but it’s easier than ever to collaborate with other professionals!  Teaching has always been a job where sharing ideas and working together is just a given.  Now instead of holding meetings face to face or copying materials (or heaven forbid, making it all by HAND) you can instantly share all of that with the click of a mouse!  Students are more engaged when I use any type of technology within a lesson too.  It’s what they know, it’s their future and I’d hate to ever hold them back or gear them in the opposite direction of where life is taking them.  I also enjoy being the “student” and allowing kids to show ME a thing or two about the newest technologies.  :o)

So, the biggest change that technology has had on my life is how convenient and easy every day tasks have become.

Thoughts on “Shift Happens”

I have seen that video before and it still is very interesting to see all those stats and facts.  Immediately I think of all the positives and possibilities that can come with this new era of technology and the shift taking place just in the field of education alone!  Kids who attend schools in poorer areas who don’t have many up to date resources or money to buy new materials can now have access to endless FREE resources via the internet.  They can find educational videos, articles, books, and more with simple technology whether its provided by the school or the public library.  I also think how neat it is for students to be a part of a changing world that is more and more globally connected.  Kids are making connections around the globe with kids their own age and learning much more than they normally would from a textbook.  I personally think that the classroom is a great place to utilize a lot of the technology we see coming out and if we don’t learn to embrace it I almost feel like we’re holding the kids back in a sense because for the most part it already is part of every day life for these kids when they go home.  I know there is a fear of losing that personal connection if we “cram technology down the throats of students” but I would have to disagree.  It’s all about how the teacher plans lessons and implements the TOOLS in their classroom… I’d bet that personal connections could blossom.  Bottom line is – technology is here, it’s not going anywhere, education is changing at an alarming pace and we as the teachers are the ones responsible for preparing these kids for an ever-changing world.  We need to accept it, embrace it and remember that we are learners too.

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