Over the course of the past five weeks I feel as if I have grown much like the bacteria in a science experiment: exponentially! Technology has been oozing from my pores with all that I’ve taken in over the course of five weeks. It all began as a blur as I was thrown into creating, tweeting, blogging, chatting, interacting with peers, responding to work of others, emailing, posting, and researching. It was overwhelming in the beginning to be exposed to so many new technology tools to use for both personal and professional use. At best, I could describe it as being caught up in a tornado where I grabbed what I could while feeling like my mind was spinning out of control at Mach speed. As time progressed I became increasingly comfortable in the whirlwind we know as technology. It became less dizzying and daunting and became more “normal.”
The interactions with peers through Twitter and their blogs enlightened me on new methods and tools available to differentiate my classroom environment. I have often been heard making an audible “Wow!” as I learn from my peers. For example, I recently visited Anne Kurland’s WordPress and was amazed at her talent to create a video tutorial for all of us to enjoy. My peers have taught me about methods of organizations, ways to differentiate in the classroom, and various assessments they use in their classrooms. Furthermore, they have taught me about the various uses for tools such as Edmodo, Evernote, Moodle, Google Drive, Screen Cast O-Matic, Podcasts, Digital Storytelling, Vimeo, Wiggio, Dropbox, Voicethread, blogs, and wikis. I have learned more in these past five weeks about each than I would have on my own. Their insight gave me perspective on how these tools could be used within the classroom, even at the kindergarten level!
The interactions I have had up until this point on the twitter chats, though they in themselves can be at times daunting with all the tools presented by others that I am unfamiliar with, have enhanced my understanding of how I can do more than use tools for my own classroom. They have enlightened me on how to use my learning of new technologies to teach others within my building of the various uses of unused technologies within the classroom. Though some tools we have discussed in the twitter chats aren’t as applicable to my classroom it does not mean that it is not applicable to all classes within my elementary school. I was told recently that with increased knowledge comes increased responsibility (Dr. Fredenberg). With that said, I feel I could be more of a resource for my staff. Whether it was through presentations or simply sharing what I have or am doing in my class, others could benefit from my newly attained technological knowledge they might not be aware of.
What I stated above is not meant to sound as If I am all knowledgeable or have mastered certain technology tools. I am at the very basic level of most of the above mentioned tools. At best I am a novice learning as I go. Of the tools that I have learned about during these past five weeks the ones I would like to take back to my classroom to use with my students include the following: Wikis, Evernote, Voicethread, Blogs (Kidblog), and Digital Storytelling. Now, this seems like a lot to carry back to the classroom, but tools such as Wikis, Evernote, and Blogs would likely be controlled by me for the most part with student feedback and assistance. I would love to set up a class wiki page with student sections they could edit. It would be done with teacher assistance, but it would be student centered, closed to the public, and open to our class and parents for viewing. The blogs would be teacher run as well with students giving their thoughts to me so that I could upload it to our class blog. As for the rest, it would be a learning process I would have to immerse myself in.
In the past five weeks I have learned more than I could have imagined. What is exciting about such learning is that there is more yet to come. There are more twitter chats to partake in, blogs to read and respond to, articles to research, methods to look into, tools to try, and sites to explore. There is much to explore and to hopefully try out in my own classroom in the near future. Technology now seems less like the monster under my bed or the boogey man hiding in the closet. Rather than fear technology for the unknowns I have learned to look forward to how it can enhance my classroom.