Sunday, April 7, 2013
Blog Assignment #11
Ms. Cassidy's Classroom
Ms. Cassidy is a first grade teacher in Moose Jaw, Canada. What makes her classroom somewhat unique is her implementation of technology. She has her students blogging, creating Wikis, Skyping with other classes and experts, just to name a few! One of the more innovative uses for technology she has is the use of the Ninetendo DS and the game "Nintendog". What can students learn from a video game, you may ask? Well, in Ms. Cassidy's class, a whole lot! The students are divided up into groups and must take of their virtual dog together. The purpose of this project builds strong leadership and teamwork skills.
In my own classroom I think I would use some of Ms. Cassidy's techniques. I have become a huge fan of blogging in the classroom and the networks it builds. Using the blog as an online portfolio (like we do in this class) of the students' work is also wonderful. I love that it would help not only myself and parents track progress, but also the students themselves. Giving students an audience is also a huge appeal for me with blogging. By the time a student reaches high school most of them feel like they've been writing for forever and they're sick of having to write just to gain the approval of some lady behind a desk. By having them write on a blog, they're work becomes open to literally the whole world and it's comments.
Another tool I would like to implement would be Skype. Almost everyone in this day and age knows how to use Skype (especially teenagers!). I've always enjoyed having experts come and speak on various topics that we were learning in school but this isn't always practical and can sometimes be expensive! Having a professional present through Skype makes it easier for educators to gain access and for the speaker to be comfortable with their surroundings. Skyping with other classrooms allows students and teachers to build networks around the world. It also gives students a better idea of why it's important for them to learn what is being taught and see what others are learning as well.
I think there are a couple of obstacles that could be encountered by using these approaches. A big one would be student disinterest. If the students aren't engaged, then the tools (no matter how innovative and cool) are still ineffective. So my task would be to find topics and speakers on those topics that are interesting or to let the students explore the Internet and let them discover the things that interest them.
Another problem would be administration inflexibility. We all know that some people are opposed to change, no matter the potential benefits. If the principal opposes to this approach I would talk to him or her and hopefully be able to win them over.