Week eleven has really gotten me revved up about teaching. Not only from Project #12 and learning how to work the SMART Board (which I thought was very exciting), but from this weeks blog post and the videos that came from it. I have learned so much from this course already, I argue with myself about saving my thoughts for the last post, or write them now.
Part of my enthusiasm comes from a previous C4T and C4K posts and from exploring her blog. If you haven't already heard about Kathy Cassidy or have read about her on previously on my blog...you know who I am talking about. For those of you who don't Kathy Cassidy twitter refers to herself and her learning style as a "Grade one teacher inviting the world into her classroom".
Her classroom has achieved that goal of reaching a worldwide audience, and it is truly inspiring and motivating her students to learn in a new way. through the use of classroom and individual student's blogs to Skyping with people half-way across the world. Kathy Cassidy has become one of the most inspiring 21st century teachers and her blog has become a reference tool in crafting my future career as well as my current educational path.
The first video I watched was of Kathy Cassidy's class and how their classroom blends learning with technology It involved going a little more in depth, through the use of videos, pictures and narration by the students, to show us the various technological tools they use in their classroom. It showed pictures of the student's blog, videos of their classroom skyping, pictures of collaborative blog work.
The video was divided into five parts. Blogs, Webpage, Wikis, Video, and Nintendo DS, In the back ground, the students narrate the video. As you go through each stage, you hear the students describe what tool their are using, what it does, and how it is useful. For example, in the Blog section, students talked about commenting and how they use it to connect with other students just like them. They talked about their family being able to view it and also comment. This is also another example about the online audience I have been talking about; it gives the students a sense of purpose behind their work, they want to make others proud.
During the Webpage section, a.k.a. the class blog, they discussed how everything they need to know is in the class blog; homework assignments, activities and information that can all be accessed quickly and easily. Next are the Wikis, I'm sure you have heard of Wikis. It is an online website, much like Wikipedia, that is a collaborative information editing website. The kids talked about how if they did not know the answer to a question, or needed to obtain information, they could easily search for information on Wikis, or ask a question with soon to be found answers.
When dealing with videos and online learning, Skype is mostly emphasized to arrange meetings with teachers and students from across the world. Lastly the Nintendo DS are used to decision making and predictions. The students use them to play NintenDogs, which is a game where you take care of a virtual dog. If you wish to watch the video and find out more information on your class click the link to view her video Little Kids...Big Potential.
Now the second video describes Kathy's beginnings of learning through technology. It all started ten years ago when she was given five computers that turned into this huge snowball effect of learning. She began wanted to make the computers useful and find information and lessons where the computers could be manipulated by her students. She embarked on a journey of teaching herself how to do webpages and blogs. Kathy was also able to get funding. And just look at how things turned out? Her classroom now inspires education systems all across the world.
She also talks about the various challenges she faces throughout this journey. When asked if every teacher should be technological literate she answered with, "Absolutely, technology is not going to go away, it is here to stay." She talked about how doing a simple spread sheet, was technological literacy from twenty years ago. She stated that, "We have to keep learning.", to find a way that works for you and how you or your students learn best.
Video #3 & #4:
Video three picks off with Dr. Strange asking Kathy where you should start, as far as technology in the classroom goes. She believes you should start from where you are interested in and go from there; if you are interested in video, you should start there and move on. Same with photos or blogs, everyone is different and no method is fit to every student or teacher.
The fourth video consisted of the students asking Kathy questions details questions. One example asked from a Physical Education major was, "How often do you use the blogs?" This question is perfect because it is something I have always wanted to know about Kathy's classroom. She answered by explaining that it depends on the year, but usually twice a week. Some examples of some good questions where, "Do you think Facebook could be used for education?", "How do you protect your students from potential harmful information?" and so on.
As I talked about in the first paragraphs, I adore Kathy Cassidy as a teacher and as a person. I feel like I have learned so much from her already and I have never seen her in my life. I think that it is crazy for someone to have that much impact on you from someone in a different country. She has given me such an effective model for the framework of my future classroom.
I believe the world-wide audience is a deciding factor in why I intend to use ALL of the techniques she practices. She has shown me that students can learn in new ways and how effective it actually can be. Also, all of these tools tie in so many subjects. Blogging for language, literature and grammar, and Wiki for science and other various subjects.
Let's not forget the major factor in all this learning...technology. As she said in an earlier video, spread sheets were acceptable twenty years ago. Imagine how advanced technology will be by the time these students get to college. Using these tools in the classroom can prepare students for the advancing technologically literate society. I cannot wait change and enrich my students life through technology and blended learning.