It was extremely important for me to use this final project as a leaning tool to take into my classroom. Like a lot of assignments I have done for college, I did not want this one to be another pointless assignment that would be deleted from my computer after the semester is over. To ensure this would not happen, I did a lot of research to find a website that I will actually use when I am an educator. I began by searching for online tools that are useful in the classroom. I came across several websites that had lists and explanations of tools and how they can be incorporated in the classroom. Then I spent time using each of the tools that I found interesting.
I first choose a site called Paper.li. The site allows users to make a newspaper from Facebook and Twitter posts. I chose this because the majority of my students will have social media, and I might even create a class Facebook or Twitter. I assumed that students could write posts that would be added to the newspaper, but I was assumed incorrectly. After spending substantial time trying to figure out how to use the website, I finally realized how to create articles. To do so, users search a topic, and a list of names pop up that relate to the topic. Users then choose which people or topics they want for their papers, and their posts will appear on the newspaper. It is not possible to search specific users, so this tool would not work for a classroom.
I then decided Stupeflix would be a better option for this assignment. I had seen someone in another class use the site to make a video, and I loved the results. I spent about an hour playing on the site and understanding how it works. Then I began to create my own video about The Program, written by Suzanne Young. This lead me to the realization that the website would work well with a Professional Book Talk assignment. I then created a teacher example, which included guidelines, instructions, and a student example. I loved the results, and I was very proud of the videos I created.
This most important aspect of this assignment was discovering useful technological tools for my classroom. I love the incorporation of technology in classrooms, but I had yet to spent a large amount of time discovering and learning about these tools. This assignment made me find time to do this, which I found to be extremely beneficial.
Choosing to create a Book Talk assignment that incorporates a movie-making aspect reminds me of assignments that I did in high school. In several of my English classes we were assigned to create a Book Talk and incorporate a visual aspect. I always enjoyed these assignments because I loved showcasing my creativity through PowerPoint. Creating a movie instead of a PowerPoint is another great way for students to explore and engage in technology. Several teachers assign students to create a PowerPoint, so having them make a movie is something new and exciting.
I also did an assignment similar to this in my Young Adult Literature class. Although I chose to create a PowerPoint, a few people in the class made videos using Stupeflix. Their videos created an immediate sense of appeal towards their given books. I found myself wanting to read the books, even though some of them were not my preferred genera.
From this experience I have learned that not all technologies and web tools are appropriate for or work well in classrooms. Teachers need to spend a substantial amount of time using the tools they plan to incorporate in lessons and assignments. I realized how important this is when I discovered that my first web tool, Paper.li, would not work for the final assignment. I apparently had not spent enough time using and learning about the website when I had first chosen it. I learned from this mistake by spending an hour on Stupeflix before I decided to use it. As a result, I was confident and comfortable in my decision to use it for the final project.
I also learned for this assignment how important it is to model technologies and web tools for students. While some students can log on to a computer and create a masterpiece without any instruction, many cannot. Depending on how intricate the web tool is, teachers should spend at least ten minutes, preferably more, modeling how to use the tool. This is an aspect of teaching that all teachers should practice.
I will absolutely be using Stupeflix in my classroom. I will also be using many of the other web tools that people presented during class. I think these tools are fantastic for increasing engagement and excitement for learning. Over the winter summer breaks I also plan on researching other educational tool that can be implemented in the classroom. I strongly believe that the incorporation of technology in classrooms is essential for student learning, especially because our society is consumed by various technologies. It is our responsibility as teachers to find ways to increase engagement and interest in learning. Technology is a great way to do this.
I will also be spending substantial time modeling web tools. I was one of those students in high school who became easily lost when using technology, so I understand the importance of good modeling instruction. I will explain procedures and instructions step-by-step and repeat them if necessary. I will also individually help students who appear to be struggling with the tool. This shows students that teachers do care and want to see them succeed.
This project, along with the class, has taught me to appreciate the many technologies that can be used for education. I had no idea that so many were available. I also had not thought about using many of the websites that I use for my own enjoyment, such as Facebook and Twitter, as being incorporated into the classroom. High school students are obsessed with social media and Internet interactions. Bringing this into the classroom immediately excites students and makes them want to learn and be interactive. It is especially great for students who do not like to speak in class. Allowing them to interact online gives them the ability to openly participate without twenty-something students watching them. Students can also give feedback to their peers on these sites, which instantly boosts confidence. From this, however, I realize that cyber bullying can easily occur. When using web tools and social media, it is important for teachers to monitor student activity. When students know that teachers are monitoring class websites, they are more likely to act appropriately and respectfully online. This teaches students to show respect for others in all situations, especially when online.
Overall, this class was beneficial in giving me confidence to explore many technologies in my classroom. I will take what I have learned and implement it in my classroom. My hope is to teach students the importance of using technology to further their education. I also want to teach students to make wise decisions when using these technologies. When used properly, all students will benefit from the incorporation of technology and web tools in the classroom.