Back in the Classroom

After working for five years as a district-level technology facilitator, I am now returning to the classroom. It's my goal to make my 5th grade class a model for how technology can be powerfully integrated into instruction and learning. Join my students and me on the journey! It's sure to be bumpy, but exciting...

Location: Schaumburg, Illinois, United States

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

K12 Online Conference

The K12 Online Conference started this week. I downloaded David Warlick's keynote to my iPod. It's about an hour long, and I've yet to find a moment to view it. I love the format of this conference: learn when you have time, and post your ideas utilizing your favorite technologies including blogs, wikis, and Skype conferences. When I first came across this conference, I shared it with everyone I know who's into ed tech. No one has responded to the emails I sent promoting the conference. . I suggested my district make it "take home" staff development, a model we've used for other classes; no response. What's going on? I'm feeling like I'm the only one I know who recognizes the power of these web 2.0 technologies that allow a community learners to form around common learning goals.

I'm hoping, that this conference can re-energize my ed tech passions. Now that I'm in a classroom, and no longer part of my district's technology group, I find that I'm cutoff from those with whom I can have stimulating, thought provoking conversations regarding technology integration. Is anyone out there? I'm looking for you!

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Up and Running...Finally

I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post. I feel like I've fallen off of the ed tech planet completely; I haven't even had a moment to read my favorite blogs. I've followed Will Richardson's recommendation and set my browser's homepage to Bloglines. You know you're in trouble when you have 242 unread posts in your ed tech folder alone.

Much of 5th grade has been humbling so far. While the district tells me what to teach, and as an "old" new teacher I know how to teach, it still takes an enormous time investment to determine the way I wish to teach each of five subjects to this group of kids. I find I'm on the Internet or at the library looking for resources, or creating materials and grading papers in every free moment of my day. None of what needs to be done is difficult; it just takes more time than there is in a day. So, what gives, my passion for staying current in ed tech and working out- neither situation is good! I'm starving my mind and body! Hopefully things will get better as the year progresses...

As for technology in "Fowler's Fabulous Fifth", we're making headway. All of my kids finally have a laptop with a working battery, and as of today, all have permission to take them home. Up until this week, we've utilized the iBooks for reinforcement activities that can be done in small groups, and used them as a reference tool. Those of you how haven't been blessed/cursed with 1:1 laptops are rightfully thinking that this is an under-utilization of a resources. You're right. But, experience in a 1:1 setting has taught me there is a huge investment of time in initially getting the machines correctly set up with folders, network shortcuts, and preferences for applications. I am a huge stickler for saving into folders, both on the machine, and on the network. As a tech facilitator, seeing kids' desktops cluttered with 25 "works in progress" made me crazy! I was unwilling to go through the process repeatedly as all of the iBooks were up and running in the room.

So, today was a good technology day. The kids:
  1. created Inspiration maps detailing what they know about life in the 1400s, which will then be compared to what they know at the end of the explorer's unit we're just beginning
  2. are creating an Inspiration map as homework detailing what's important to them - part of the introduction to the explorer's unit
  3. who identified themselves as auditory learners have downloaded our current literacy anthology story in mp3 format; they will listen to it and read along while...
  4. creating an Inspiration map for homework that organizes the details for our non-fiction anthology selection