Friday, May 23, 2014

High Tech Teacher

I have visions of a completely technological classroom, where students will start class each day on Edline by opening documents, PowerPoints, prezis, or links for that days lesson instead of picking up handout after handout.  Based on my experience, students become more engaged and excited about learning when technology is involved and the possibility of utilizing laptops in the classroom is quite exciting.
            What would this look like in my classroom?  I see students using the internet to research allusions in the language arts novels, plays, and historical documents we are studying in class.  Students will be blogging about independent reading as well as connections they are making to the texts studied in class.  Students will use Publisher, PowerPoint, Prezi, Pinterest and other online resources and programs to create presentations to share with the class, hitting the Common Core speaking and listening strand, as well as providing real-world presentation experience that almost always involves some sort of technology.  Students will use sites like Padlet to share golden lines of writing or textual evidence from a reading with the class on the screen, instead of writing these lines on the board. 
            Why?  Students learn more when they are engaged.  Students like technology.  It’s a win-win situation.  Personal devices are starting to trickle in to the Mason High School classrooms.  It started as iPhones and Androids, but is quickly turning into tablets and laptops.  With a classroom set of 15 laptops, I could be pretty close to having a full set in each class, taking into account students’ personal devices.  I also teach a subset of English 9 students who need extra help with reading and writing. Having the extra technology in the classroom for this subgroup of students will provide assistance in writing (by typing in Word and having the ability to use online tools such as dictionaries and thesauruses).  It will also be a valuable tool for these students while reading.  They constantly have vocabulary, allusion, and other questions while reading that could easily be looked up online.  Students could even read downloadable versions of books on apps that easily look words up, highlight, etc.
            With Common Core’s emphasis on close reading, students will be able to annotate using the insert comment feature in Word, or by highlighting lines while reading that they later go and insert as textual evidence on their blog.  The possibilities are endless and the learning opportunities for students are real world and engaging.