For this post, we were told to find an assignment each of us think Dr. John Strange should have assigned for us to do. My first thought was "Definitely NO assignments just for one week!!!"....then I thought about a few things: How many teachers out there actually believe in using technology in the classroom and how many do not? How much freedom can you really give elementary students with a computer, or an iPad? Will they actually gain something from whatever they use a PC for?
So I decided to have this as the assignment I would have like to do:
Read the post on <a href="url"> www.edutopia.org</a> about 'Technology Integration for Elementary Schools', by Grace Rubenstein. She has gotten MANY good tips from Paulette Williams (a technology- integration specialist and veteran teacher) on how to treat technology in the classroom with younger students. What are your opinions on this post? Would you use the same structure as you do with paper and pencil? What is you take on having a back-up plan in case technology fails on you? Write a paragraph or more on your thoughts for these questions.
Usually when I do an assignment, it is the same kind of thing for technology: what we do with it and how much it has done. This time, the post is by Grace Rubenstein and it is actually informative and excellent reading! She says to start with the standards: only use technology when it can enhance the material and not just because it is technology. Let the kids get hands-on with the new smart boards teachers have and give the students who are not using them the dry erase slates. Use the digital cameras to document field trips and different activities that the class does. Instead of doing the old fashioned in class presentations, try letting the kids record their presentations at home; gives the kids with bad stage fright an easier time.
Just because they are allowed to use a bit technology does not mean they can just go crazy with it. Give the students a set of guide lines to go by and, if possible, an example sheet for them to use as reference. Use the pen pal programs they have now to learn from cultures across the world. The Skype, or other video chats programs, are good use for that: they can learn about another culture from the actual people and places. Not only can they learn another culture, but how to address an e-mail and write one properly, understand rules for internet safety, and learn to brainstorm questions and discussion topics. Create a blog, or a class website, for them to use and show them repeated examples of how to do it, then start letting them take over it little by little til they have it down. Internet safety is a HUGE deal for kids that are still in elementary school and do not quite understand it. Pick sites that are friendly to kids, have lots of color in them, and will engage them in learning subjects with games and other activities. Keep an eye on what they browse, and make a specified list of sites they are allowed to get on....just add different sites to it so they do not get bored.
Kids are clumsy and rambunctious: this is NOT something that will ever change. I like how she says "take a deep breath, relax, and keep protective covers and cases on any breakables". She also says to keep a back up lesson plan with the old paper and printer system. Technology fails and batteries die, just keep some spare lesson plans on hand and have some extra batteries. It never hurts to go back to the old ways on occassion!!