What are your overall take-aways from the methods/tools that you might use to differentiate the classroom environment (for teacher productivity and student progression)? Which of these may you use in your classroom in the future?
These past few weeks have been extremely enlightening! I must admit, though, that I’ve had many moments of information overload. There is just SO much available, it is difficult for me to focus on just one. And then I get the sneaky suspicion that while I’m focusing on one tool, I am missing out on something even easier and better. It’s like that saying goes, “A jack of all trades is the master of none.” I see this multi-tasking society creating a lot of “jacks” but few masters… and masters rule it all!
Alright, that got a little dark, but the premise still holds true. Having said that, I have been able to glean some tools that I believe will be helpful with my classes in the future. I am definitely going to implement using tools such as Edmodo, Dropbox, and Google calendar in order to help facilitate students and parents in collaboration. It’s already hard enough to homework turned in on a normal basis. However, if students get to use the computer to turn in their work—why! That’s pure incentive right there!
As far as differentiation, there is a wealth of apps, videos, and teaching sites readily available, provided the hardware and broadband is there. I am a HUGE fan of game-based learning. I see the potential of it, and I really appreciate James Paul Gee’s efforts in pushing for this concept as an educational tool. Children will keep with something that keeps them engaged, and good practice makes perfect. Granted, it’s not as simple as all that; monitoring would still be required by the teacher/parent. However, it’s easier to say, “Ok, just a few more minutes then we need to stop playing your learning game,” rather than, “Keep your head up. Don’t fall asleep. Did you answer all the questions? Do you feel like they’re right? What do you mean you don’t remember what you were supposed to do?” Everything has its balances.
I am looking forward to expanding the tech I use in the classroom in the future. I have no idea what’s going to be available, come the next six months even, but I’m learning to get my head out of the sand and meet the new tech head on.