Thursday, December 14, 2006

Musings on What I've learned in 60 days

After having experimented with several of the new Web2.0 "style" technologies, I've become very pumped with the idea of working them into my curriculum. I've tried a wiki, Photo Story 3, blogging (my own), screencasting, and a few others. Some met with a lot of success, some didn't. Part of the problem with the few that didn't work in my class was I had no idea how to give directions to use it with my kids.
My eighth graders are mostly "digital savages", even though they have grown up with the technology, they do not have exposure to using technology beyond the basics, either because of economics at home, being newcomers to the US, or some other reason. Because of this they are still Web1.0 consumers, not Web2.0. They really have to have things explained, not just the purpose for using a program, but the way they use it. Programs they have used before several times are not a problem, they jump into it and function well, but anything new I have to drop down into first gear and really plan everything out.
Finding out about screencasting and blogs has really helped me out on this. Now I can record the directions on how to do an assignment while I actually work it out. I then save it and link the screencast to my webpage. Any of my students that missed the first explanation or need it again can follow along with the screencast. This gives it to them in both oral and visual directions, not to mention the written copy of the directions (also linked to the web page.) I'm in the process of doing this for all my assignments for all three grades, but it's already proven its worth with my 6th graders who have shown up with copies of missing work that they did at home using the web site.

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