Today, I had my second group Google Hangout. It was a lot smoother than the first time. We had a better handle over how to set up the Hangout. There were no technical difficulties (other than a group member not being able to log on to his computer). In these two sessions one of our members was using his ipad? and for half the time we did not see his face, just his blue wall. But! We were still able to communicate with each other. I was also able to see (for a short period of time), my other two group members faces’ in smaller screens in the bottom right corner.
We also knew exactly what we were going to discuss. Mark Barnes’ “Teaching the iStudent: A Quick Guide to Using Mobile Devices and Social Media in the k-12 Classroom.” We were able to discuss the fact that this book focuses on using technology in the classroom. Not just how to use technology in the classroom, but how to teach the appropriate use of these technologies. A lot of concerns today center around the issue of cyberbullying. We (as educators) become afraid of using technology and social media in the classroom because students can use them in negative ways. One way to possibly negate this issue, Mark Barnes supplies, is that we should be using these technologies from day 1 and teaching them how to appropriately use these technologies. Rather than ignore distractions in the classrooms, we should use them as “teachable moments.” We, as educators, need to be able to take something away from this in addition to teaching our students.
Another interesting thing that Barnes explains is the different forms of use of technology in the classroom. This incorporates blended learning within the classroom. If your school does not have an ample amount of technology to use, then this should not stop you from using technology in the classroom. You can apply the rotation model and break the students up into groups. Each group works on a “station” for a set period of time. After this time is up, the students are able to rotate to the next station. This also allows for differentiated instruction. Some students may need one on one direct instruction from the teacher. One station could be you (the teacher) teaching the small group, allowing for questions. Another station could be peer group discussion, while the final group could be on the computers researching or blogging.
After reading and discussing Mark Barnes’ “Teaching the iStudent,” I will be able to use technology more efficiently in my future classroom. He described several websites that would be useful in an English classroom. For instance, Kidblog.com. I can use this site to create and online blog that will allow students to create and share blog posts in order to discuss material discussed in class.