As a seasoned educator, and one not born into a digital age, like most of my students, I find that I am pushing myself to learn the ins and outs of posting assignments, curricula, and managing digital grade books. I’m lucky enough to teach in a school in which every student has a laptop. Now, I’m charged with the daunting task of using all of this new technology in innovative ways so that my students will acquire the skill set that will enable them to be effective “21st century learners”. It’s an exciting responsibility for teachers and we have to take it seriously while approaching it realistically. I’m currently working on a certificate in educational technology and information literacy. The course work is introducing and giving me so many options for the classroom that sometimes I’m not sure where to begin. Nonetheless, I’ve just started a blog, acquired an RSS reader, and opened a Twitter and Diigo account. So as not to be completely overwhelmed, I’m taking baby steps in learning the bells and whistles of these new resources. Already, I’m astonished at the possibilities and can see that this will, in time, make a big difference in the way instruction is delivered to my students. Change IS difficult, especially for an old timer like me, but it’s time to step up.
I just attended a 2-day workshop at Yokohama International School called “The Networked Educator”. So many innovative educators together in one place. Impressive to say the least and also a call to action. While am currently using technology in the classroom, much of the integration has to do with managing student work, grades, and curricula. I was excited to see many ways in which teachers are integrating technology in innovative ways, connecting their students to the world through blogs and other web-based projects. I came away with so many great ideas and an enthusiasm generated from a weekend of collegial “connectedness”. Now to get started.
I’ve had little time to process the information I gathered at the workshop, since time is a rare commodity in the life of an educator. Nonetheless, I began right away this week to plan an integrated social studies/language arts project using Google Maps. My philosophy is “use it, or lose it”, so I want to move on these ideas while they are fresh in my mind. I’m not completly savvy with using Google Maps, but I took the deep breath and plunged in. I’m definitely in the “groan zone” as I move forward with this project, but I know that I can rely on my students and their digital intuitiveness….and…I’m moving on this.
I’m extremely excited to be a part of this network of educators. I am already feeling more “connected” in terms of my profession and I hope, by the end of these courses, that I’ll have a much richer digital presence professionally.