The MAC alumni who came as guest speakers today were awesome! It was great to get a feel for such a variety of settings, content areas, and ways the content we have covered and will cover in this class can be used in real teaching situations. I'm really grateful that we had the whole spread from West Bloomfield to Brooklyn in terms of diversity, SES, and technology provided by the school.
Things I will be looking up / keeping in mind:
- Looking in the dusty corners for unused tech that could be put to cool uses
- Being prepared to be the local "expert" in anything new I bring into the classroom (see this post)
- The importance of a real, authentic audience in increasing engagement, performance, and ownership
- "Did you know" by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod (Shift Happens)
- Creative ways to use some of the tools below (google forms, response systems, wall-wisher) to make grading faster and easier
- Use a beginning of the year survey to get a feel for access -- who has reliable internet access, computer, printer, etc. at home
- May need to explicitly teach students how to use word processing software, even if they're totally at home with social networking
- In low-access contexts, need to give kids lots of time and in-school or after-school access for any assignment requiring internet accedss
- The importance of real experiences in addition to virtual ones -- real dissections, egg drops, bridge building, etc.
- The usefulness of blurring the distinction between work and play, while still making the educational goals explicit at some point in the processs
Tools & applications
- Wallwisher -- for reading journals, for room norms (and appropriate use of teacher-approval on posts)
- drop.io for using cell phones instead of microphones to record audio
- How I can use Skype to bring all my awesome earth scientist friends into my classroom
- Microsoft's "mouse mischief" as a cheap student response system (seems to work only with Windows)
- Sliderocket for online slide presentations
- Low-tech substitutes for computers and cameras -- flip books
- Gallery-walks to have students practice critiquing skills with each other
- International Poetry Guild through ICS -- for my English-teaching friends
I thought there were a lot of provocative questions in the last half hour of class:
- Where's the balance between using technology to "meet students where they are" and drawing a clear distinction between "at home" and "at school" uses of technology? (I think this one captures my discomfort with AIM office hours -- it's definitely on the blurry line between the two, with an "at-home" technology used for "at-school" purposes.)
- What are the safety implications for being "always-on" and therefore more aware of safety bulletins issued by campus police, for instance, versus being "always-on" to the point where you're not aware of your surroundings because you're focused on your phone while walking or driving?
- How can you have students help you develop appropriate guidelines for when and how to use technology in class?
- If someone's playing World of Warcraft during class, is it the teacher's problem because they're either not engaging enough or not setting and enforcing the right classroom policies? Or is it the student's responsibility to bring the right mature, scholarly habits to class?
I don't have clear answers to any of those right now, but I'm looking forward to mulling them over as I prepare to actually start operating in a real classroom in September. Happy August!