Kathy Cassidy is a first grade teacher in Moose Jaw, Canada. In her class video, Little Kids, Big Potential, she shares pictures and video clips of her students demonstrating technology in the classroom. They are shown blogging, using the SMARTBoard, computers, Skype, DS games and digital video camcorders. This appears to be the ideal classroom. Her approach to teaching using technology in these ways is exactly what we are learning in EDM310. It makes you wonder, are you smarter than a first grader? In the next video, Dr. Strange and some of his students do a Skype interview with Mrs. Cassidy, where she discusses the use of technology in her classroom and what we saw in the first video. She explains all the aspects of having kids online in class, from safety to the benefits of learning on the web to the benefits of a class blog to parents.
I can see myself using all these methods of teaching. I already use the computer to show my daughter interesting educational websites. We play games together on the computer, on her DS and on the Wii. She has a Wii in her classroom. She also has a SMARTBoard in the class, which we are currently learning how to use in EDM310. I am certain I will be using those things in my classroom. I also think Skype would be useful. Any time you can share technology with children, they are learning two things at once - technology and the lesson at hand. One impediment I might encounter would be a lack of funding to do all the things I want to do. Fortunately, much of what I would do in my class is free, such as Skype, blogging and the internet. Most classrooms in Mobile County are equipped with SMARTBoards and some computers. If we wanted more computers in the classroom, we could have a special fundraiser or ask parents to chip in or help find sponsors. That leads me to another potential impediment - lack of parental involvement. The way to get through to parents is to show them how technology is important. For instance, show them the class blog and the posts their children have made. Show them math games on the internet or ways to look up answers to science questions. This will encourage them to get on the computer with their child at home. So besides getting parents involved and simultaneously learning a reading lesson and a computer operation, another benefit of using these methods in the class is that students will help each other. When one child “gets it,” he will be excited about what he has learned and be eager to show the next student how to do it. By that child teaching it to the next, he is also reinforcing what he has learned. It’s a win-win situation.