Hi everyone!

No doubt this question has been posited in some form or another, but I'm quite new here (and new to the teaching profession, as well, since I'll be heading to teacher's college this September), so I thought I would ask anyhow. This forum is very active!

I've been a humanities student through-and-through for several years now, and will be teaching English and History at the secondary level eventually. I need to hone my computer skills after years of neglect, and I'm hoping to slowly acclimatize myself to incorporating technology into the classroom.

I'm interested in creating a website with my students... something akin (but not limited to) a blog. Reasonable? If so, what are your suggestions / what has worked for you (especially as English and/or History teachers)? I'm thinking about Blogspot or Wordpress (I don't have experience with Wordpress yet).

Also, can anyone suggest ideas for ways to begin, as an English and History teacher, to incorporate technology into my future classrooms when you aren't terribly tech-savvy?

[EDIT]: I should also point out that I think Ning is fantastic, but would love to hear about how some of you English teachers out there use it for your classes. Thanks!

Tags: English

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Feel free to browse and link to my site. I have visually linked 1000+ activities which I use in my computer lab.
The one killer in our field is grading. The more you use computers, the better. I have one practical idea on going paperless to share. I used the Microsoft Word "Replace" function to program in eighty or so canned responses with a quick teaching tool to place in bubble comments on students' word processing docs. Students really read these comments, as they have to respond/revise accordingly. Of course, I also add on personalized comments. But this is a time-saver and effective. See what you think! http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/grammar_mechanics/how-to-save-...
I teach middle school history. My entire class is centered around my website but I honestly do most of the back-end work. The kids write the blog and provide the work for The Fridge but I do the rest. Check it out at MrRoughton.com if you're interested.

I also have a wiki that the students did mostly themselves that I used for my class Alternate Reality Game at D-T-S.wikispaces.com.
It's really cool you use your website for your history assignments. Do you students check the website? how regularly? I'm curious if they like to go home and go online, or if you do this in school, or how it works. Thanks!
I recently started a blog for teaching with Google Docs and Blogger. You may want to follow it, might be helpful:

teachingwithgoogledocs.blogspot.com

I have blogs for my kids, and for my parents. I will be posting my slideshow for the training I did on Blogger this summer on that blog soon, too. Lots of ideas (more to come) as to how you can use Docs to eliminate paper and piles of correcting. Follow it and you should get lots of ideas.

VB
I use a free calendar, some flash, videos, and quizzes for my students. You can take a look at http://www.sausd.us/15002091212100100/site/default.asp
I have some Free IEP's at www.iepfree.com
I often read Karl Fisch's blog. He's a principal in Colorado and he's the one that first promoted the "Shift Happens" video. His blog often talks about an English teacher named Annie who does phenomenal things with tech. His blog is titled The Fischbowl. You might get some ideas on what to do with your students.
Here is a specific wiki activity that I did with my sixth grade students. http://yoursmarticles.blogspot.com/2009/04/wiki-lesson-for-literatu...

Also, my blog http://www.yoursmarticles.blogspot.com features a number of other ways to integrate technology.

Best of luck!
Sylvia,

Welcome to a great career. You will do well, I am sure. I use a Ning site as the portal for my High School English class. This is student-centered and primarily focused on building classroom relationships and creating a content-rich environment. Specifically, the site includes forums (lots of them), blog, calendar (I embed Google Calendar), RSS feeds (DailyLit and The Writers Almanac), pictures and videos (students and I post), small group pages, surveys (embed polldaddy), and notes and files. I also use the tabs for the links out to the other sites.

Moodle is the most important of these. It has the actual course material and files--more of a classic LMS. We also link to turnitin and some other supplemental sites such as Edline. The Ning site is good for video but we keep a YouTube channel and a Vimeo space for some other needs.

Even though we go out to these sites, the real activity of the class is in the Ning site. By the way, it is private and protected so only my students can get in. It does not take any great tech-savvy to build this. You mostly need a change of orientation from teacher-center to learning community creation.

The effect is incredible. Our school does not start for several more weeks but my students for this coming fall have been on the site for much of the summer communicating about books and reading and writing.

Best of luck to you. Let us know if we can help.

JP
There are many ways to incorporate tech into the classroom. You can start by creating a classroom page where students/parents can get notes, homework, etc. I have one at http://mrsrichardssite.wikispaces.com/

I just deleted some old classes, but have left one up for you to look at. I find wikis very easy to use (I also have a blog and google websites).

As for student use of technology, anything goes. I have used movie maker in history class and had students post to youtube here is an example. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1bIqkgNHMM

I have used Flickr to teach about the industrial revolution, glogster to show understanding of a concept etc....

This site is a goldfield of ideas, as well.

Tracy
try the site www.readinglogs.com. Might help improve communication with parents/students.
Become familiar with document cameras. Kids love them because they easily share their work with the class and teachers love them because they no longer need transparencies. Thoroughly familiarize yourself with a site before you introduce it. This way you develop a feel for errors they might make in navigating the site.

I have lots of websites on my website including information on developing hotlists and webquests (www.kn.att.com). I love using this site because I control what sites they see and there is no risk of typing in the wrong address. I have some sample webquests and hotlists on my site.

www.ellteacherpros.com

www.teachingsuccesseswithells.blogspot.com

Denise

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