Over the years, this blog has held a variety of topics, from baking and knitting to travels and hanging with friends to an earthquake and a mysterious guest in the night. The frequency of posts has waxed and waned, averaging less than one a month lately. I’ve posted about school before, and I will now be using this forum to focus more on that as I study for my master’s degree in education. Being required to begin blogging on specific topics, I find that I do not like to waste space on the net nor my own writing time by starting a separate blog. By posting here, this portion of my life will be chronicled in the same place as the rest, those few who read my blog (hello? are you out there?) will be able to follow along, and I will be able to look back at it after I’ve finished in line with my other postings. I’ve come to realize that most web accounts I’ve started have fallen by the wayside over the years, but this blog and FB are two that I’ve stuck with so far. …and I don’t expect that posting “notes” on FB would be accepted for this assignment!
Today’s post considers the use of technology in school, using the NETS as a standard. (What does it stand for? I don’t know) NETS covers five areas:
- Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity. I do try to give the students chances to be creative and deal with real-world problems, such as figuring out how to find the area of the classroom floor so we can order carpeting, or organizing a fund-raiser for an Swallow’s Nest, but not as often as I’d like and not often with technology. The one sub-point of this buzzword-bingo-winning category write-up that I do somewhat meet is to “model collaborative knowledge construction by engaging in learning with students, colleagues, and others in face-to-face and virtual environments.” Well, yes, I’m taking classes online! The students don’t often actually see me doing it, but they know I am a student as well as a teacher. Perhaps I could talk more about this with them.
- Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments. I think I did better at this last year, when I had some PPT assessments and reviews; so far this year, I haven’t used any of those. I would really like to see some examples of this category at a third grade level – it all sounds so *good* yet so *vague,* with no guidance on how to move from where I am to where I should be.
- Model Digital-Age Work and Learning. In this area, I am somewhat proud of my class web site (contact me personally if you’d like to see it; I don’t share the address widely). During the holidays it fell by the wayside, but I’m finally getting back into the newsletter-writing swing of things. I’ve posted not only announcements but also songs for memory, photos, links, and pages for students to use for research during one or two units. Really, it’s hard to find research materials on a third grade level online, and if I had time, I’d do that for more subjects.
- Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility. This is also an area for growth. If you’re looking for ideas on interacting with children from other countries, do check out flatstanleyproject.com and worldmathsday.com – they are a start!
- Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership. Well, I’ve used the internet to participate in discussions on how to teach knitting to my students, but this class is the first time I’ve used it to discuss how to teach technology outside of my school!
The assignment next asks about “barriers to technology use.” I suppose they are pretty average – there are only so many computers available, they don’t always work, and various servers, wireless, or other devices *cough* printers *cough* go down from time to time to time to time… But they are generally kept in good repair and are mostly easily accessible.
The admonition to “fear not” in regards to technology is not one I tend to need in terms of trying new things or sharing it with others. It may come into play though when I look at the long list of NETS standards and feel overwhelmed and vulnerable to being labeled a “poor teacher” for not meeting more of them. As I begin this class, I hope that I will begin to really understand how to incorporate and teach technology more thoroughly and “better” to my class. Book learning or discussion of standards can only go so far; I need to know how it will apply in my classroom in the next week for it to really do me good as a teacher. If I were to turn that hope into a goal, it would be: to use and model technology to meet my students’ needs and teach them how to use the technology (nicely vague), such as by having them write a proper e-mail to their classmate who moved away over the holiday, design and budget a garden using Excel, and create a poster or PSA about Swallow’s Nest using Publisher, Paint.net, or video editing software (much more specific!) There, that wasn’t so hard, was it?