I've been working hard with my students, my colleagues and my administration. I've only been at my new school for a few months but I finally feel that I'm making a positive contribution to the school. I used to teach with a lot of technology. After being transferred to another school I found myself with very little access to computers in my classroom. I'm currently teaching visual art in grades 9 and 10.
I'm not the best blogger in the world but the next few posts through this next weekend will summarize what we've been doing in my classrooms and in my school.
Changing Gears to Slow it Down
I've been trying to involve the use of personal technology in my classroom. I'm lucky that most of my students have access to their own technology. Some bring phones, others bring iPods and tablets. Some of my students have nothing so I lend them my devices and we have on computer in the classroom that we can pass around. I'm always impressed by students willing to share their devices with their classmates as well.
My original thinking was to get my students to build Personal Learning Networks. This has turned into a more baby step kind of approach where my students are learning to use applications both web based and mobile to curate their own online portfolios. We're using Blogger to build these portfolios and I was able to set each student up with a Google Apps for Education account. We've had all kinds of hurdles throughout this process to clear. The past few days my students are starting to catch on. They can now check their email, they can go to the course blog, they take the time to read directions and then they ask lots of great questions. They are beginning to see how they can document the projects they create with their phone cameras. It's an exciting time in my art classroom!
I think that if I were to work with the same students again that they would have the basic skills necessary to move towards more collaboration and sharing online. I think that the development of a Personal Learning Network would be more achievable.