Monday, February 23, 2009

Transforming Teachers

I have been so energized by several of the teachers that I work with who are transforming themselves into 21st Century Educators!

Using Wikis:
I have my 3 grades (4th, 5th, and 6th) all working on PBWiki. The students LOVE getting to work online and collaborate with others. This tool has really added bump in their motivation and responsibility towards their school work, not to mention improving their writing skills!

I also just gave one teacher editing rights to her webquest by moving her files from being housed in Dreamweaver, to it being housed on a wiki. I will no longer have to update the site because now she can do it without knowing webpage software!

Several teachers are also starting to blog, one teacher using her classroom blog as a means to teach. You can tell the students who are about to go in her room and learn because they are SO excited!

My school is fortunate enough to have a leader who is 100% motivated for this change or reform in education. He backs us with reading material, technology tools, professional development opportunities, and much more. This year he has gone to the NING! Our school has its private NING, where we are encouraged to hold book discussions, reply to his blog entries, further discuss revamping our report cards, etc...but are also having fun with getting to advise whether we should cancel school for snow day, or play with funny comments on what is going to happen on our school retreat, etc. He has gotten us to start in a comfortable setting to start communicating through this Web 3.0 tool! And since "we" are getting comfortable, several of us have been joining other NINGS. Some of my teachers are getting into Classroom 2.0

This tool is slowly making its way into the classroom. Several teachers jumped on board, but don't have the understanding of the tool quite yet. One even deleted her account. :-( But others have made global connections with other educators, creating collaborative classroom activities. Two teachers are using cutting edge programs and finding great websites to use with the students from the people they follow on Twitter. A few of us are even using Twitter as a means of advertising student projects to allow others to see and comment on the work. It has really improved the quality of the projects since the kids know that others besides the class and the teacher are going to be looking at what they did.

Watching the classroom transform with these tools makes the learning environment so exciting. The kids in the hallway have a completely different attitude when walking into a class where the teacher has transformed!

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I have been in education since 1996 and never taught without technology!