To Use or Not to Use Technology on my Practicum

Photo I took of my friend’s children in Colombia playing with their computers at home. Computers were provided by One Laptop Per Child to some students at their school. They have two computers for seven children now, but no internet access in the house. Sad thing is they barely have running water and the children still go to bed hungry every night.

I am considering using a blog/website during my practicum, but was mostly just going to have it as a reference tool for students. I would list homework and assignments, link to sites that are related to class content, and anything else that is relevant to the course materials and learning objectives. I know there is a ton of work involved in maintaining a site so that is one concern I have. I am also wondering about how useful it is if mostly it just posts homework and assignments…. will students actually use it? What about students who do not have access to a computer or the internet outside of school? I know there are always public libraries, but does this make the site of less value and put some students at an unfair advantage?

I have created a little poll to see what other teachers use their classroom sites for (or if they have one at all) and am hoping you will share your opinions/experience and provide some ideas in the comments for me. Thank you for being a part of my PLN!

Advertisements

7 comments

  1. Ian P. Kelly, M.Ed.

    Hey Ashley,

    Just read your post. I am a principal, was a teacher for 5 years and never had a web-site or a blog. Looking at what my teachers and others within my PLN accomplish with theirs, I feel like I would have been far more effective if I had utilized these tools.

    Blogs and web-pages can serve so many purposes and have the potential to really engage your students and families during and beyond the school day. You can check out some of what my teachers are doing with web-sites and blogs ( http://www.natickps.org/BenHem/Homepage.cfm or http://kidblog.org/MsFairsClass/ ).

    I think the fact that you are reflecting on the issue of access is commendable and it is a tough one. The first thing I would recommend would be to assess the access of your families. Send out a quick survey to your families. Do they own a computer? Do they have internet access? You can base your decisions about how to use the technology based upon this information.

    If everyone has access no problem! If that is not the case then you will need to consider how to use the tools so that your are providing your students all of the benefits of using the tools while not putting them at a disadvantage. An overly simple scenario might be something like this. 80% of my families have a computer and internet access. I would not use the blog to assign homework, but I would use it during the school day to engage students in writing and demonstrating their learning. In this way all of your students have access and are learning about and how to use the technology but are not punished because they do not have access at home.

    Let me know what you think.

    Ian

    • All valid points Ian. Thank you for sharing! Those websites are amazing. So much information on them.

      I might actually wait until I am in the classroom and ask my students if it is something they would use or at least be willing to try. Perhaps everyone can discreetly checkoff a few boxes on a small piece of paper so they don’t have to tell the whole class if they don’t want to or don’t have internet at home, etc. If I do set one up I wouldn’t use it for students to actually do assignments, but rather as an additional resource that is not required for them to do well in the class.

  2. I posted stuff on a blog for students to read. Many of your students will have Internet access so it won’t be an issue for them. Some of them will not and so they will access it as school from the library. I would just include it as an additional resource for three reasons.

    1. It acts as a record of what you have done, and this will make it easier for when you are looking for work later. You can share a resume, and a digital portfolio of your work.

    2. Some students will access it and find the resources useful. If you allow commenting, they will even comment on the blog (you may want to turn on comment moderation, just in case as students may not be used to this medium).

    3. It will be a personal record of what you’ve done and you’ll be able to build into the resources later. If you are careful with the tagging system it could greatly reduce how much time you have to spend later looking through your teaching resources.

    4. I have to say, I wish I’d used a blog when I first started teaching, it would be fun to go back through it and have a good laugh at how bad I was. 🙂

    • Okay, so that’s four reasons. Oops.

    • Considering points 1 and 3, would I be best to make it separate from this blog or somehow try to integrate the two? I see this one as my PLN and exploratory type of blog, so kind of feel it should be separate from the ones I ask my students to look at. I could always just link the two.

      • I really enjoy your blog-
        I have a moodle site that my grade seven students can use for information, assignments and discussion and a class blog where I post pictures etc (in addition to my more adult oriented blog at late literacy. All very interesting!

      • Thanks for the comments Meredyth. Great to hear about different experiences with technology from everyone! I will be checking your blog from now on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: