Monday, March 19, 2012

Lincoln Elementary School Visit

Visiting Lincoln Elementary reminded me of all the reasons I wanted to be a teacher. Not only because of the technology use that can be used in classrooms with students, but the way teachers ran and dealt with their class. These teachers are dedicated to helping their students learn how to be independent learners by showing students how to take control of their classroom, work time and learning. This school was so refreshing and got me that much more excited to start teaching. The technology using throughout this school was amazing! It made me start to think of all the possibilities that are out there when integrating technology into a classroom. The tools in technology they shared with us ranged from Delicious and Diigo to Blabberize and Todaysmeet. Lincoln Elementary uses an interactive teaching technology called Mimio, this software works like a smart board only its distinct features make it very accessible and easy to use, tending to the schools specific needs. Students here start a Google accounts in the 3rd grade, while starting mini student lead activities throughout the day that even involve students using Mimio in 1st grade. I was also introduced to students using iPods and iPads in class where they would play educational games. The students were so engaged with all of this use of technology that the schools atmosphere seemed almost dream like. Not to mention how involved the teachers, as well as parents seem to be when it comes to this school community. I only was at Lincoln for about an hour, but I was able to get a peek at some of the things one can do when teaching, using technology while helping students become independent learners.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Creating Collaborative Project

Earlier this semester the Middle JAAR and I had worked on a collaborative project. The main goal of this project was not the end product alone, but the way we worked together, collaborating with each other to get our end result. The only difference with this project compared to other ones was the way we were allowed to collaborate with each other. We were not allowed to talk face to face, and communicate only through technology. That's right, we were in the same classroom twice a week together and lived on the same campus, but was only allowed to contact each other through Skype, Facebook, texting, Google Docs, etc. At first it felt it was difficult to do this, trying to find times everyone could meet through our computers and then trying to understand what everyone wanted to do for the project. This was our teacher’s way of simulating what it would be like to collaborate with others overseas and around the world, where you cannot meet face to face and have while working on projects through technologies. Even though the beginning was difficult, as the project progressed we adapted to the circumstances and effectively worked as a team. Once we were on a role it was very easy to get the project done, everyone working on their own time, at their own pace. We all contributed to a Google Doc where we added all our project links. Not that I perfect non-verbal projects, however, this was a learning experience and showed that they are probable. This is something I feel every student should get a chance to experience, whether it’s with a classmate in their class or one from around the world. Everyone can benefit from learning how to collaboratively work together on a project not using verbal communication.