Saturday, December 26, 2009

Final Reflection

Wiki? Blog? Podcast? Before taking this course my experience with these Web tools had amounted to a single visit to Wikipedia. Over the past eight weeks I have learned the basic skills necessary to create each of these Web technologies, albeit at a very elementary level. However, being a novice teacher, what I am most excited about and have gained the most from is the ability to see what other teachers are doing in their classrooms. The willingness of these professionals to share their ideas, experiences and resources has provided me with a vast source of support and information on all aspects of teaching, including the use of technology in my classroom. I also will continue to broaden my knowledge of instructional technology through the use of websites, professional journals and professional developments opportunities as well as through the courses I am taking.
How will I eventually put all this new found knowledge to practical use in my classroom? I am very lucky to have available a mobile laptop cart with 24 laptops and wireless internet access. One of the biggest problems I have is getting students to study for tests and quizzes. Maybe by having my students create a wikipedia that they could add to throughout the year and use as a resource they will be more inclined to study. Another way I hope to put the laptops to good use is by using them to motivate students in the remedial math classes. These are very small non-credit classes for students performing below grade level. However, students will often refuse to do any work thus defeating the purpose of the class. Perhaps, through blogging, if there was an audience for their work, and collaboration with other students in same situation this would provide the encouragement these students need.
Technology has made the world a smaller place. As educators, we have a responsibility to teach students skills they will need in a globally oriented work environment. Integrating Web technologies into a classroom is one way to achieve this.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

21st Century Skills

One of the assignments this week for the course I'm taking is to visit the Web site of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and post my reactions and thoughts to my blog. I've seen references made to this organization in various print and Web resources but this was the first time I had gone to their Web site myself. I found their message to be uplifting yet sobering at the same time. What could be better than businesses and industries that have a stake in the global marketplace teaming up with policy makers in education to devise strategies to prepare students for the 21st century workplace. As I navigated the site I became increasingly frustrated. The information seemed so general and abstract, nothing concrete I could use in my classroom. Even using the search engine in the Route 21 section to search for resources specific to mathematics resulted in hundreds of results but nothing I could put to use as a classroom teacher.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blogs in My Classroom?

In the course I'm taking, I've been asked to write about how I might incorporate a blog in my classroom. I teach high school math so the first thing that comes to mind is to use my blog as a place to post homework assignments, reminders of upcoming tests and quizzes and links to sights that students can use for review, extra practice or homework help. Also, now that I'm using a Promethean Interactiv Board perhaps there's a way to post the notes and examples that I gave in class that day on the blog for students that were absent or asleep.
Rarely does a day go by that some student doesn't whine, "Why do we have to learn this? The only reason you need to know this stuff is if you want to be a math teacher." One idea I have for my blog is to ask people to comment on how they use the math they learned in school in their personal lives and at work. Hopefully we could get responses from people from all walks of life or students could solicit responses from people in a certain profession that interests them. I do realize that this could end up backfiring on me. Is it worth the risk?

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Maiden Post

To those of you who have stumbled upon my humble blog, let me tell you a few things about myself and the purpose of this blog. I just started my third year of teaching high school mathematics. This year I am teaching Algebra 2/Trig and Algebra. The algebra classes I teach are the first year of the two year track for our weaker math students. I am currently working on my Master's in Instructional Technology, hence the blog. My first assignment in the course I just started is to create a blog. Up until now I haven't so much as read a blog let alone post to one or create one of my own. I'd like to use this blog as a space for reflecting on my teaching, especially with regard to the use of technology in my classroom. As a new teacher I am always greatful for any ideas, tips, suggestion, resources and constructive criticism that my more experienced colleagues care to pass on.
I had two meetings after school today, one of which had to do with the issue of students using cell phones in school and how best to combat the problem. My question is does any one have a constructive use for cell phones in the classroom? Students have become so addicted to this form of technology it would be nice if we could put it to good use.