Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What inspired me today...

Relating to what some other bloggers are posting about...

I was watching my students do research on famous philosophers for a History 10 research report today and again am amazed at some students abilities to show me just how valid Internet tools can be in a classroom.

I walked over to a students computer to see that he was watching a video on youtube.com. Here was my moment - my chance to discuss proper use of youtube to the class - when I noticed that he was not watching junk! He was watching a project that other students his age have done; a "Interview with Dead People: Thomas Hobbes" video. In which the students in the video were portraying the philosopher Thomas Hobbes while another student interviewed him (He could have dressed the part - but that is beside the point). I thought to myself - "WOO! PERFECT!" Not only did I get an awesome idea that becomes cross-curricular for my CPT and History course, but I have a new fun activity for my students!!! It also validaded that student's use of youtube for research. He was checking facts that the students were saying in the video and making sure he did not miss a word. It was gratifying to watch, even though it was not my kids in the video (soon maybe!?).

Here is the video that inspired me today!

Monday, September 22, 2008

An update and a food for thought....

I hope everyone's school year is going well, as mine is shaping up to be a good time. I am teaching - like I said - a bunch of new subjects, but am enjoying it all. I started teaching the Communication Production Technology 10 and 20 courses, which are a lot of fun but kinda scary at the same time for me. I am not too familiar with the in's and out's of film editing or shooting films but I am a work in progress, learning along with the students; as we all know that sometimes that is the best way (let them teach you and save yourself the work!) But seriously, I am enjoying it. Does anyone have any good ideas for CPT 10 or 20 assignments that have worked for them? Let me know!

My CPT 20 kids are starting off with a 5-10 minute game show skit, and my CPT 10 students are starting off with 60 second commercials. I am excited about working with "new" technology (new to me that is!), and applying all I have learned and heard about from our ISITS committee last year. Even though I am no longer in Lsky I am still there in a virtual world community sense.

We are doing PLC's across the division and they are talking about setting up wiki's for each group if they want - I love the idea but worry that some may not enjoy it as much as I. As a fan of wiki's, I am advocating at how user-friendly they are compared to some other options out there. Any ideas to help me get through? :-) I know, I know, charm the pants off them with my own amazing wikispace....I know that is what you're all thinking! :-)

I still struggle with "pushing" people to accept technology in classrooms and actually use it to enhance learning - not as the "easy way out" by giving them an assignment and just letting the students do whatever they want for it. For example: If you allow them to use powerpoint but they do not really know the program, and what a good presentation looks like, then for goodness sake show them some examples of what you want! Modeling is the best method when it comes to technology. From our digital citizenship presentations that we should all hear (our students included), digital citizenship does not just have to mean the internet - it can encompass all areas of technology (including programs, tools, methods, etc.)

I think we as teachers need to keep up to date on what is going on in current technological initiatives in not only your division but province wide, nation wide and globally. Each will impact you and your students, and as teachers it should be if it is not written somewhere already that our professional responsibility has reached a new height - not only do we have to give students breakfast, monitor their work, coach them sports, model good behavior and/or whatever else falls under the list -but we must include technological responsibilities. Keep up to date, maintain a blog and/or webpage, keep contact with parents and students through mediums of the 21st century, have a bloglines (or similar) account to keep updated on growth of others who are influential voices in technology such as the Vicki Davis's Cool Cat Teacher, Dean Shareski's Ideas and Thoughts from an Edtech or Clarence Fisher's Remote Access (Just to name only a few!). Big task? Maybe, but I think it is a worthwhile investment in our futures and a will make a large impact on our students and their employable abilities.

What do you think?