Before we started this class, I did not define myself as a techno-constructivist. I still do not. But I am working on it. For many years now, I've wanted to have my own professional website. I never created one and I didn't know about the tools available to create one. When I found out about weebly and we saw the model a teacher created, I was very excited and I knew exactly what my project was about.
I was looking for other teacher websites to get ideas on how the layout should be and on what information I should include. I had an idea of what I wanted to have on my website- a page for parents, a page for students- but I was wondering what else I should add to the website. I want it to be useful for parents and students alike. It was hard to find one so I was on my own in terms of creating a website. Weebly was easy to use. I'm very proud of my website mostly because I did it myself and I think it would be useful source for parents and students. At the end of this course, we got to see some teacher-created websites that gave me some ideas about what else I should add to my website. As of right now, it's still in progress. I plan on working on it and making it better. I want to add a "For Teachers" page in addition to the other pages and add some facts about ELL students and how to support them in the classroom.
I added other tools to my website so it would look/ make it more interesting and teach my students how to use these tools as well. One of my favorite tools is the timeline. One of the projects my students work on is on a book about their lives and it's very time consuming. I can see that some of my students aren't very excited about the project anymore because it's taking them so long to finish. I think that using the timeline as a project would be fun, less boring, and more interactive. My students would have a chance to practice some basic computer skills, which many of them lack of.
My weebly website also has a blog page. I'm excited about this feature because I can see my students using it every day as we write on our journals every day. Sometimes, I have my students comment on each others' journal entries. I still need to work on that page a little more and see if it has the same capabilities that blogger has ( ability to hyperlink, add pictures, add video). It would be great if it did. My students would be excited to use not just words to convey their thoughts and ideas. They could use pictures and videos to express themselves.
This class got me excited to start using more technology in the classroom. Also, it made me think of what that it would look like in my class. We do not have computers that work well. I usually bring my iPad and computer to class and let my students use it. I'm thinking of purchasing ChromeBooks for my classroom. I service a very small number of ELL students so I don't need many ChromeBooks. Our district is enforcing the students and teachers the idea of using Google Drive and is trying to get a ChromeBook to every student. Even with limited technology in the classroom, I know that my students have technology in their hands (smartphones) and at home. If I show my students how to use tools, they could work with it at home. My middle school students still get excited when they use their iPads or smartphones in the classroom. They also love to show us what they created on their phones. They could create projects that they'll be excited to show us because they get to use technology. When kids are excited about something, they'll learn.
When I think about technology in the classroom, I think of how many teachers in my district resist using it in school. I think of the comments teachers say when the dismissal bell rings and the kids walk out of the hallways with their phones on. As we learned about Michael Wesch's idea on technology and how integral it is in our students' lives, I kept thinking about how many teachers in my building react to using computers, Elmos, and Google Drive- they hate it. I don't blame them. With the push and stress of the Common Core Standards, they feel they don't have time to use and then teach how to use technology to students. They feel that it's a burden. But technology is an essential part of our lives and if our students don't get in the routine of using technology, they'll be at a disadvantage. Also, they'll be bored, not interested, and wondering why they need to learn about the different types of rocks, for example. If they use technology to find out about why there are so many different rock types, I think it would motivate them to learn and they would learn, too.
I also think about Sugata Mitra and how the kids from the slums figured out how to use a computer. If the kids who never used a computer can teach themselves how to use a computer, I think our students can teach themselves how to use technology. His TED talk was so inspiring. To ease the teachers' anxiety and refusal to use technology, maybe I should share these ideas with them. I also think that many teachers realize that they're still needed in the classroom because they hold the power, the knowledge. Not anymore. Knowledge is out there, everywhere on the web. We are no longer the sources of knowledge and we need to learn how to be the facilitators of knowledge so our students know how to retrieve appropriate knowledge. This is a challenge for so many teachers who are used to be in the front of the classroom and lead the lesson. It is a challenge for me. And I like this challenge.
Here's my self evaluation. Have a great summer and thank you for an