Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Global Learner Year One Reflections

The conclusion of my first year as a member of the Global Learners program is rapidly drawing to a close. I can comfortably say that in many ways this has been one of the most exciting years I've had as a teacher in quite a while. Not only did I choose to take on collaboration/group work as a norm of the class, but I integrated technology into my teaching far beyond what I thought I would. (Quote of the day from one of my juniors as he is typing his final: "Mr.... how do you spell 'miracles'?") Ning, Edmodo, Twitter, CoverItLive, YouTube, TextTheMob, Power Point, Google docs,, and the like played far more of a role in my classes and in my instruction than I initially believed they could, to the point that they became as much of the classroom culture as a whiteboard or a textbook. There are some that I've introduced my students to but haven't really dug into yet, like RSS feeds (I use them, but haven't spent a lot of classroom time on them yet), podcasting, videocasting, OpenZine, and so forth. I used blogs this year, and will continue those as well. I'm sure there are other educational technologies that I've not even heard of, but will seek out and utilize as much as I can.

On the one hand, it does mean a good bit of extra time and work for me, at least initially, but when schools in other countries are making it a part of their regular curriculum, then it becomes a given that my students need to be made aware of these tools as well; under no circumstances will my students be given the opportunity to be left out of the conversation. There are plenty who disagree and feel that social networking and the like have no place in the classroom; I and many others respectfully disagree. The bottom line is that the technology is here to stay and as educators we can either adapt or be left behind. The tragedy of that is if we choose to become Luddites, we drag our students down with us and so disenable their ability to stay involved and connected to the world that they can, do, and will live in.

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