Little Kids, Big Potential is a great example of technology being used in classrooms. This video shows future teachers exactly why we should learn more and include technology in our classroom. These students are in first grade at a school in Canada. They use SmartBoards to work out problems like on a real board. The video also shows them communicating with a woman about rocks through Skype. This is a great idea to get students to learn. Instead of hearing the teacher lecture about different kinds of rocks, they are able to communicate with someone (that could be across the globe) and learn about rocks from an expert. They mention their blogs and the projects they do on it.
Ms. Kathy Cassidy did a Skype interview with EDM310 back in February 2010. She is a first grade teacher in Canada. This interview was so interesting to me. I was amazed that she is able to have such young children use what I (before this class) would have considered "complicated" technology. She starts off the interview with Dr. Strange talking about how she wanted her six year old students to be able to do things. About 10 years ago she started a webpage. About 5 years ago she started a class blog. About 2 years ago she started doing video. She keeps her classroom growing because technology is growing. When Dr. Strange asked her if all teachers should be technology literate, she responded yes. She stated that if all a teacher can do is a spreadsheet and Word, then they are not technology literate. You need to keep up with the changes because technology is here to stay. She states that we cannot teach students how we did 20 years ago because the world is changing. I agree with this. Every time I think about education staying the same, I think of Mr. Winkle. We cannot let everything else in the world change, except for education. She also stated that learning from other people is the new way of learning. This is also true. We are all teachers to some degree. We can let other people and students teach our students, as long as we remain the educator.
Not taking advantage of technology is hurtful towards your students and yourself. Some of the other teachers want to try to do what Ms. Cassidy is doing, but some teachers just do not want change. Ms. Cassidy talks about how writing a paper on a sheet of paper is not as exciting as writing one on the internet. One person, the teacher, will read the one on paper. If a student writes their paper on the internet, the whole world is able to see it. They are able to see people from all over the world reading their blogs.
She said that she is the teacher that mostly uses technology in her school, but none of the administration has discouraged it; although some are not interested. She stated that the parents love their children using technology. They are able to keep up with their child's school and see their child's writing progress improve. This was my first concern when listening to her talk. These are such young children that I figured some parents might have a problem with exposing their child on the internet. The children, of course, also love it because they are comfortable with technology. On the very first day of school, a form goes home to the parents that lets them know that their child will post their work on the internet. She makes sure to teach her students to be positive when leaving a comment, what websites are safe to go to, not to use their last name, and not to post a picture with their name. She teaches them WHAT to do on the internet. After reading Dr. Strange's blog a few months ago about being afraid of people on the internet, I really don't see the harm in posting your name next to your picture or posting your last name. Now posting your address, yes...I see a huge problem in that. But more than likely no stalker is going to hunt down your child from them doing a blog post. I suppose where these are such young children though, this is probably best to comfort the parents.
Her students use video, audio, and blogs during school. So what is a good place to start? She admits that she is not really into technology when it comes to her personal life. However, you need to start with what you are interested in. If you are interested in movies, sign up for YouTube. If you are interested in writing, start a blog. If you are interested in photography, sign up for Flicker. She admits that Twitter can be hard at first, but helping other people answer questions and connecting with people who are interested in the same things as you is great. She calls Twitter "the old people Facebook." I thought this was funny because I am still not fully on board with Twitter. I see how it can be great and useful, but when trying to read all the posts from all of my friends, I start to feel overwhelmed. I suppose it just takes time to get fully used to. After all, I have more friends on my Facebook than I do my Twitter and I am not overwhelmed with Facebook because I am "used to it."
At the end of the Skype interview, Ms. Cassidy showed the EDM310 students what we rarely get to see....SNOW, and lots of it. Although I doubt she meant to, while she was showing us snow she was also showing us another great thing about technology. We are able to communicate with someone from a different country instantly. We are able to talk about the same interests while experiencing completely different weather.