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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tool #11: Self Assessing and Reflecting

1. What are your favorite tools you now have in your personal technology toolbox? Briefly describe a particular activity that you will plan for your students using at least one of these new tools.

My gadgets are: 2 laptops - my school Dell PC & my personal (aging) Mac Powerbook, iPad, cell phone, Flip camera, digital camera, 5 old IBM laptops, etc.
I use a broad spectrum of digital approaches. These have mentioned in prior blog posts. It is important that students become comfortable with all kinds of digital tools. Sometimes they need to be forced out of their little boxes, which often are little more than texting, updating their FB status, watching Youtube videos, gaming. When I announce that I am sending them an e-mail message, the nearly universal response is "I never read my e-mail". I tell them that they had better start. My approach to digital projects is to patiently but firmly insist that they can indeed learn new things. I tell them that I am happy to sit beside them and help them make their way through it, but there is no alternate assignment. And then they surprise themselves and get it done.

2. How have you transformed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom? How has your vision for your classroom changed? Are you going to need to make any changes to your classroom to accommodate the 21st Century learner?

I think I'm a bit of an outlier here, because I've always enjoyed jumping into things and taking a few risks. I am very fortunate to have manageable groups so this isn't so daunting. My thinking has undergone a gradual transformation for a while now, regarding digital communication and social media. However, there are some really wonderful, very old-fashioned teacher/learner experiences that can only happen in a face-to-face situation. 

3. Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

Hmmm, I was rather surprised at how clunky this assignment was. It did not flow, and flow is really important to me. Also, I am a very visual person, and some aspects of this seemed so opaque that I just had to force myself to complete the tasks. (Other personal issues - my mother's death and funeral, revising the German AP syllabus, preparations for the German exchange - slowed me down a lot. But there's always something.) I did discover a few gems, though, and have a few new ideas.

One thing that I have seen - and which did not surprise me at all - is how INCREDIBLY patient, kind, helpful, resourceful, upbeat, knowledgeable, doggedly persistent our librarian is. What a HUGE task this has been for her to coax / herd us all toward our destination. She deserves fresh flowers every day!

My advice might have been that the iPad was the reward that we received upon completion of this "11 Tools" task. That would perhaps have motivated some of the more reluctant among us, or it would have freed up a few dozen iPads which could have been put to use by those who really recognize their value. 

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