In the three part interview with Kathy Cassidy, she discussed over Skype the benefits of using technology in her personal life and in the classroom. Ms. Cassidy teaches first grade and has her students use technology in the class with a class blog and with Skype. How the class blog is used in her classroom changes every year depending on how many students she has in her class. If her class is smaller, she will use posting on the blog as a "center" exercise. Posting may occur more than once a week. If her class is larger, then the class will all post to their blogs during computer time in the computer lab once a week. Through technology, Ms. Cassidy has expanded her Personal Learning Network and has compiled groups of people who help teach her class via technology. She has relationships with other teachers and instructors and the students of these teachers/instructors are assigned students in her class and asked to comment on the student's blog. Some of the classes also Skype with her class and by doing this it teaches students writing, audio and video all in one lesson.
I am looking forward to all the technology possibilities for my future classroom. I haven't decided what grade it is that I really want to teach so how I will use some of Ms. Cassidy's techniques in my classroom is unsure to me right now. It's obvious that first graders are using blogs and it can be used in a classroom but if I were to teach 5th graders, using blogs could be done in a much broader way. Regardless of what grade I teach, I think that introducing your class to Skype and other classrooms is a magnificent idea. Children don't realize just how different the rest of the world is and you could introduce them to that via Skype. You can also help them to start their personal learning network just by forming pen pals.
While technology isn't completely new anymore, using it in classrooms is. Depending on where I end up teaching will determine what kind of impediments I will face with introducing technology into my classroom. Instructors or fellow teachers who are not as educated in the technology options will be more resistant than someone who is educated and comfortable with technology. Parents can also be an impediment if they are uncomfortable with the use of technology. Some of that can come from the worry of who will have to pay for the use of technology in their child's classroom or how will they be able to help with homework if they are unsure how to use the required technology. We are in the business of education so the best way around all this is through education. Starting slowly with only a couple of classes at a time is easier than trying to change the whole school over at once. You will also need to get other teachers on board with wanting to revamp lesson plans that they have been using for years.
The benefits of using technology in the classroom are limitless. I have two school aged kids and I am certain that neither one of them will be using textbooks by the time they graduate high school. Their knowledge of technology will put most of ours to shame and if we don't encourage technology in the classrooms then we are cheating our students. Dragging our heels and trying to stop it from happening isn't going to work, it is only going to put us further behind. As teachers, we can share lesson plans all around the world and access people around the world and introduce our students to amazing things.
One thing that Ms. Cassidy said that really stood out to me was "Why would a child want to write on paper so that I can see it, when they can write on their blog and the whole world can see it." Children love an audience and praise so why not give it to them and see where they can go with it?
Interview with Kathy Cassidy Part 1Interview with Kathy Cassidy Part 2Interview with Kathy Cassidy Part 3