This week has been my best week yet in terms of using my newly-gained understanding of technology integration in the classroom!
The way I have ‘integrated’ has felt like a natural step from my current units, and has not even felt necessarily ‘new.’ It has been exciting, though, and rewarding for both the students and myself.
The week started with Year 9 completing their on-going wikispace, an information source about restricted diets. I was overwhelmed with what they could achieve. The wikispaces are much more powerful for their learning, and have clear advantages over old-style written assignments. The advantages include: a greater understanding of visual literacy, meeting a wide target audience, citing sources and images through hyper links . The biggest thing being that wikispaces are open to the world wide web, so it’s not just for my eyes or the NIST community, but it can reach out to people across the world for whom it directly relates. Organic Diet example.
My first ever ‘tweeting’ lesson was on Tuesday, where my students and I discussed what ways they could share their resource. The main social media was Facebook, Twitter, blogging and online forums. I taught students how to use hashtags, to find comments that directly link to their restricted diet to ensure they got their wikispace seen by those who were interested. It was quite exciting for the class to feel like they were sharing a useful resource, and some were quite nervous and even self-deprecating. It was even more exciting when we got responses two days later, so we knew we were being heard! Their twitter posts.
Running on the energy from the Year 9 sessions, I applied it to my Year 8 students. They have been creating their own recipes based on fusion cuisine.
After a Coetail discussion about the redefinition of the use of technology in the classroom, about it being the opportunity to reach hundreds of thousands of people around the world, I took the opportunity to teach the students about the epicurious website. Epicurious allows people to upload their own recipes and share in a community. I gave the students a generic login and they uploaded their recipes in pairs. The first excitement for me came as soon as the students started typing their plans and recipes. I knew they would be viewed by more than just myself. The students and I became very aware of how a recipe needs to be logical, easily followed and communicate effectively. The students, being only twelve years old, were particularly nervous and excited at the chance to share their own creation and the anticipation about receiving feedback about their own creation from somebody they may have never met.
My only disappointment with using this website with the students was that they could not share an image of their delicious dishes. Please look at their unique dishes here, maybe you can try. I even posted my first post on the Yr8 Blog to share their great work with the school community.
In conclusion, I genuinely feel like I’m taking the natural steps of integrating technology in my classroom and creating a buzz of excitement with my students. It just takes the confidence to allow yourself to fail and learn.