Tuesday evening was our first class. It was held on Elluminate. I have never before participated in an online class nor have I used this tool. I was very nervous about this. However, the experience was very good. Alec guided us through the outline of the class as well as through the technical aspects of using Elluminate.
I was absolutely fascinated by the breadth of geography of the participants taking part in this class. It is always nice to learn from teachers in the same province, but I really look forward to learning from and learning about the teachers from outside of Saskatchewan. Since I joined Twitter in January, one of many things that I have enjoyed has been learning about the different working environments and conditions of my colleagues outside of my province and country. Because I grew up in Saskatchewan, went to university in Saskatchewan and have taught only in Saskatchewan, I had a pretty small view of what a teacher’s experience of school was. This is no longer the case. Each new person I connect with expands this view while helping me understand my own better. I look forward to enlarging my learning network to include those in our class.
A little about myself… I am a High School trained teacher with a French major and Math minor. I taught half a year in high school, then moved to middle years. I taught 6/7 for three years then moved down to grade 3. This is my 8th year teaching third grade. This is my home and I love it! I am passionate about learning, both for myself and my students. I love reading and make it a goal each year to share my love of books with my students. Two years ago, I applied for a grant to get a SMART Board and was successful. Last fall the whole kit was installed in my classroom and so began my real journey of learning about technology. However, what I thought would be a journey into tech integration became more a journey about best practices, cutting edge educational research, and world-wide collaboration which, of course included technology. This journey led has led me on many paths, one of which was to this class. Through my love of reading and my technology leadership in my school, I was also asked to take on a role of “teacher-leader” as our school takes on Accelerated Reader this year.
This new role is leading me towards the potential focus for my project. I have read such negative reviews of the AR program from reading teachers I have come to admire greatly on Twitter. As far as I can tell, many of their concerns are not necessarily with the program itself, but with the administration of the program. I think that the focus needs to stay on the enjoyment of reading rather than on the gaining of reading points for report card marks. One way that I have managed to share my love of reading with and its development in the students in my classroom has been through book talks. Talking about books gets kids excited to read them. In order to keep that spirit, I would like to create some way for students to share their reactions to books with all the students of the school, rather than just their classmates. I do not know exactly how to do this, but I was hoping to set up some way for students to be able to do podcasts or blog about the books that they read for others to be able to read the reviews. It would have to be searchable in some way so others can find the reviews. I was thinking of something similar to Shelfari or Goodreads but just for our school to start, and to be able to include more multi-media options. I have read more and more recently about libraries using QR codes as well. You can hear more about them in this video called QR Codes on Library Books? or for more general use of QR codes in education, this video Black & White and Scanned All Over. At this point, these are all just ideas with no clear plan yet. Is this doable?