Before you can walk the walk, you've got to think the thought ...

So I have spent the past few months leaning faster than I have ever learned before. While I have made some very small efforts to implement technology into my classroom in the past, coming across the new 2.0 tools changed my view of technology and learning as a whole. For me, it was important to gather a base of information before jumping into anything in my own classroom (the learning was too engaging to stop ...). I read blogs (thanks Ewan, Will, Chris, and many others), got a feed aggregator, used delicious, played with Audacity, and made a to-do list for myself that I hope to get to soon:

  • Skype
  • GoogleDocs
  • Second Life
've had my time to think and gather and stew and realize the power of these tools - their ability to connect people with information and people with people, and now I'm ready to start at least a little but of this in my classroom. We are lucky enough to have a visiting poet in our class this week, and I hope to take the opportunity to get my kids' work out to the world!

Of course, this whole thing has left me with far more questions than answers (and I've only been reading about this for about 2 months, I can only imagine the questions that exist for you veterans). And those questions tend to be focused around my own use of these tools rather than the larger scale issues that I hope to be able to consider more later.

How can technology be used to differentiate my classroom?

How can I use technology to "outsource" some simple tasks so that I can focus more of my time on students.

How will others in my school and district react to my own uses of technology? How much should I care how they react?

Is it possible to create an environment in my own school where people view technology in a similar light as I do? (I guess it has to start somewhere - my own classroom).

With just a few months left this year, what can I play around with and learn so that I can design next year's learning with more technolgoy involved?

And my new favorite one - Should I buy an Apple computer? (and if so, the laptop or the desktop!)

Well, those are just a few thoughts. I can't claim to be far along the continuum - I'm new at this. But I'm learning!

Views: 35

Comment by Jeremiah Patterson on April 23, 2007 at 8:58pm

Yesterday I posted on this site about an interview I have set up for Thursday about teacher leadership and activism. My thinking is that teacher leadership toward the establishment of school 2.0 is, essentially, activism -- advocacy that will result in policy shifts. Your post here essentially captures the voice I'm looking for. (If you have a moment, read the post -- it'll make more sense.) I'm very interested in your thinking around this. If you can't find it here, it's cross-posted on my blog... (

How has your exposure to web 2.0 tools and those using them well affected your collegial relationships?

Do you find yourself advocating for changes in policy (written or not) to reflect the possibilities you see for education?

I'm fired up because you appear to be as far "along the continuum" as I, but you are in the classroom. I firmly believe it will be teachers who lead this (r)evolution.

Care to contribute to my project?

Comment by techmentor on April 24, 2007 at 10:07am
Wow, huge learning curve isn't it!! I know. I am a middle school math teacher who was given the awesome job of become a technology mentor. Basically I get to go around to all the schools in my district and help teachers integrate technology in their lessons. It is an amazing opportunity and at times overwhelming. My own learning curve from September has been steep. But, here are a few thoughts.....

1. Use the technology you are comfortable with in your classroom. For elementary school maybe you want to start with a "wikispace" for a classroom project. It is hard to decided; there is so much you can do. Remember this, no matter what you use for technology the differentiation is there. Take for example my post to you on digital storytelling....You are meeting reading and writing outcomes plus by using technology you are meeting the needs of every type of learner in the class.

2. At first the use of technology will be a time management nightmare, but eventually you will find it is a saver of time. This does require some access to technology in the classroom(or a lab). Try a "webquest" will be amazed at how you will turn into the facilitator (moving around and helping) and no longer the teacher (at the front of the room). Most of our new teachers to incorporating technology start with "webquests". Go to GOOGLE and search "webquests" of "elementary webquests"...but again you will need access to a lab or some computers in your room.

3. I never worried about my teaching style and the teacher next door. If you start teaching using technology and students and parents like it...others will follow. The key is to keep parents informed and interested and keep students engaged. Any new and interesting teaching style can become a way for other teachers to see what you are doing. See if you can present at a staff meeting when you have some concrete examples. This has worked well for us. There will always be resistors on your staff. That's OK.

4. My favorite question. Apple or PC. I use both in my position, but I am a die hard Apple fan. However, there are limitations!! Be aware that software is more expensive and not everything is compatible. But, the creative side will come out on an Apple. It is truly built for education. We have a school in our district where all grade 7 students have Apple laptops and we have another where all grade 7 students have PC laptops. The results are astounding!! Apple wins every time. As far as a laptop vs. desktop....I have a MacBook Pro laptop. It's great, but runs very hot at times. I will probably buy a desktop next time as I really want the bigger monitor.

Sorry...another long post!!
Comment by Sylvia Martinez on April 24, 2007 at 8:51pm
Just me - but I would dump Second Life in place of Google Earth or video/music mashups.


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