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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thing 11

My "plan of attack" for the rest of the school year and into next school year is to slowly start incorporating what I've learned into the classroom. I'm not going to try to do everything at once because that would be overwhelming. One idea that comes to mind is to have students share their Power Point presentations over slideshare this term with my Spanish classes. They will each be researching a country and will have to present their country from the perspective of travel agents.

I'd like to really spend some time this summer working on a bloglines page that my students could access that would be strictly for the classroom and wouldn't contain personal preferences (such as ESPN tennis scores!). Along with that, I'd like to start a blog related to my English classes and my Spanish classes. I would like my English students to blog again next year. (It's possible I could set that up by the 3rd tri- I'll have to think about it). My hope is that discussions in a blog format would be more engaging than answering a packet of study guide questions. (One of the reasons I did a blog with seniors last year was also to get them in the habit of checking email and communicating with colleagues online because they'll have to know how to do that to succeed in college).

I'd really like to learn more about podcasts for Spanish. At our school we have a Japanese class that is taught through podcasts. I think I should try to sit in on it one day and see what it's like. I'd love to get in touch with a lady I worked with in Spain and have our students communicate online! That would be one of my ultimate goals. (We could save money on stamps, too!)

I'll have to look more at slidecasts, too. I'm interested to spend more time trying that out and then have students try it out.

Personally, Google docs is going to be awesome! What a time saver! I like being organized and using sites like delicious and bloglines is perfect for keeping things together online. I've already been tagging all our links in 11 things to delicious.

I can't wait to share some of this information with my coworkers. I wonder if any of them have already taken the 11 things course before. I know a few other English teachers have their students blog. I also know some teachers have facebook accounts and have students as friends on facebook. This could maybe help prevent cyber-bullying. I will definitely make colleagues aware of the 11 things course first by word of mouth. My boss is the one who emailed all of us about the course in the first place.

I'd like to bring up Google Docs and slideshare at the next foreign language department meeting. I'm hoping will discuss possibilities about these forums as a department.

Pedagogically, I'm excited to jump right in and get on board with these new technologies. I plan on it. But yet I wonder, if we're saying that kids are lacking social skills because they communicate via a screen instead of face-to-face, are we encouraging this form of communication by advocating the use of blogs and Google docs where a group of students can conduct a project without speaking face-to-face? I feel torn. There's a side to me that says "I can't wait to figure out how to communicate online with Spanish students from around the world!" And there's another side that says, "that's great, but you'll miss the varied and unique hand-writings of other cultures, stamps, envelopes, hands-on artifacts..".

I think we can best stay connected as a PLN by blogging and commenting on each others' thoughts. We can always still communicate by email if we have a specific question for someone.

I'm very excited about all that we've learned in the 11 things course. I noticed there's a 23 things course...I might have to look into the extra "things" beyond 11. Although, this is plenty to soak in at once and try out.

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