Tuesday, March 31, 2009
This past year I have been privileged to be on the 21st Century team within my school. This means that I have been given [to use] in the classroom a whole host of technological resources. The document camera, projector, sound system, and mobile computer lab have been among the most useful resources. The document camera replaces the "old school" overhead projector. With this tool whatever I put underneath it is projected in full HD color! By projecting an "activity sheet" I no longer have to copy it. When I project a picture book all the students can see the pictures and words easily. Students love to show off their work to the entire class using the document camera. Of course without a projector the document camera is not very useful. I can also very easily show my writing or math work process by projecting the work. The sound system has been great. This allows me to bring in an "ipod" or other mp3 player and let students listen to poems that others have read and samples of "books on tape". This also allows all students to hear my voice well. The voice doesn't need to be raised. Sometimes when a teacher raises the voice, to be heard, it causes students stress, thinking the teacher is upset when in fact he is not. The computer lab allows me to use writing tools such as "Word" "Comic Life", "PowerPoint" and others. Also it allows me to use math games to strengthen and improve concepts taught in the class. These are all things I will continue to use next year as well as experimenting with things like "Podcasts".
The student Response System or "Clickers" as they are known are supposed to be a time saving device. These are devices not unlike calculator versions of the "Buzz" game clickers ("Buzz" is a quiz show video game). However they are not at all easy to figure out. The other teacher on my team, that is also on the 21st Century program, loves them. However I have been struggling with them. I have found they are not intuitive. For now I will not be using them much. As I have been teaching I have found that time is always an issue (not enough of it). Unfortunately the technology takes more time to use than it saves. I will try to use them again with the other teacher. We are planning on getting the classes together for a math "quiz show". With the other teacher's positive attitude and "know-how" this should help me.