I am excited to share my current multimedia ‘reading’ concerning the meaningful integration of technology in the 21st Century classroom!
Kyle B. Pace, an Instructional Technology Specialist in Kansas, used to be a teacher, but now he teaches teachers how to effectively use and integrate technology in meaningful ways. His recent article, “Moving Beyond Adequate,” challenged me to think about whether I am content to sit in my comfort zone or whether I am courageous enough to “take it to the next level” in my classroom.
I’ll admit that I once thought that I would learn what I needed to learn and then continue to teach that same course every year because the curriculum of the schools I attended had changed very little since I had been a student, and it seemed that there was an expectation for me to teach the same great classics that had always been taught. I would teach these novels, poems and short stories–that had been the core of the English curriculum when I was a student–until the end of my career. Boring!!
A great deal has happened since I started teaching 14 years ago, and I now believe that there’s a great deal more change that needs to be effected in order to become a meaningful modern educational institution.
Beyond literacy and literature appreciation, our classroom needs to foster those skills of critical thinking, collaboration and self-reflection.
The following video was posted to Vimeo by Brian Mull a year ago under the title Myths and Opportunities: Technology in the Classroom. It is the perspective of Alan November on the changing nature of education and the influence of technology. Alan November is the Senior Partner and Founder of November Learning. November is concerned with using technology for more than simply accessing information — for “global communication, collaboration, assessment, and critical thinking” (Source). It’s 12 minutes long but worth the reflection about education and a better classroom methodology for our modern technological society.
Alan November’s perspective on education and learning resonates with me because I feel that we are not in sync with modern society. The world has dramatically changed and education has not.
I have been making a list of different Web 2.0 tools that I could use in the classroom to encourage collaboration, critical thinking and a more global approach to learning. In this process, I have already decided to use Google Documents for collaboration, as well as a blog type discussion board. Here is an issuu: you publish online document titled A New Way to Lecture: Using Web 2.0 to Create Interactive Lecture with Your Students, by Michael Zimmer, a Technology Integration Specialist in Hopkins County Schools in Western Kentucky; it outlines the use of some excellent Web 2.0 tools and how them could be effectively incorporated into your classroom.
Which of these tools could you incorporate into your classroom teaching to move beyond simply using the internet to access information and using Powerpoint to make a presentation? Remember the concepts of global learning, collaboration, critical thinking, and self-reflective evaluation. Do your assignments need tweeking or does your classroom design need an overhaul?
- Discussion Board about a topic. I will be having a class read the Non-Fiction/Fiction novel Night by Elie Wiesel in segments about which they will respond to one of three posted discussion starter questions. There are two ways I can change this assignment to fulfill the above concepts. First, I could put the students in charge of the discussion board by having each student be responsible to starting a discussion; for example, after reading the first segment, four students are responsible for starting the discussion with their observations and reactions. Second, students would be encouraged to make connections with other research findings that are a result of their self-directed learning. (This happened naturally with some students the last time we completed this assignment.) Third, students would be involved in the evaluation as the evaluation tool would have them self-reflect on given criteria and to grade themselves on those criteria. We could discuss the evaluation as a class and determine the criteria as a group.
- Group Assignment that requires the use of Google Docs and at least one other online collaborative presentation tool. NOT PPT!
- Group Video or Podcast about research topics. (My experiences with student videos has generally been poor because despite discussion about including quality content, they have generally been fluff!)
- Blogging novel response. Currently, I have a class that chooses between 6 novels for their novel study that is more appreciation focused with journal responses and one creative activity. I am considering having students complete their journals in a blog/discussion type format. They can use the same starters for their responses and choose from the same creative activities, but they would have to post their activities on a class website.
- Twitter use. Twitter could be used for any of the above assignments to make global connections: to connect with others related to a research/topic area, discover current trends, and/or make discoveries that take learning in a new direction.
Do you have another idea? Please share.