Five years ago my technological abilities consisted of hotmail: login. Successfully, as long as it was on a computer that I was familiar with; internet cafes while traveling often posed a tremendous puzzle.
The commencing of teaching at ISB catapulted me into the day-to-day use of technology on all fronts: Outlook, word documents, letters, spreadsheets and power points, culminating eventually in the use of Smartboard technology.
The continual use of the Smartboard had been my greatest technological achievement until I began this Coetail course in early 2009. Since then, I have been on yet another steep and interesting learning curve.
Setting up my first blog was an experience. Initially strange, I have since warmed to this method of communication, and this year one of my goals is to have student’s blog about their progress in math and science. I have already been in close contact with Ross Tague, my teaching partner who encourages our students to post reflections about their work in humanities. The ultimate goal will be for our students to have an electronic portfolio that is far more accessible, “organic” and exciting than the paper and cardboard one that sits in the corner of the room.
The use of the document camera has been another new tech piece I have picked up this year. My aim is to have kids come and present their ideas and strategies to the class, with the kind of regularity that allows them become comfortable doing so. This also fits in with the philosophy of our new math curriculum, which places emphasis on finding, using, and explaining strategies to solve problems.
Another new skill I am still refining is the use of creative commons, for example Flikr, as a resource to find images that I can use to improve presentations. An example of this can be seen on this blog.
Panthernet has been yet another tool that I have used this year for the very first time. My "baby steps" involved nothing more simple than posting a letter that was to be accessed by students, printed out, shown to parents, read and signed, and then returned to me. The next, ongoing steps have been to upload answers to already completed math homework questions. Students use this system to check and then correct; if any specific questions still remain, they are then to check with me the following day (or during homework club). This system allows us to be more efficient with valuable class time, while highlighting any concerns with specific questions/concepts.
In short, this course has provided me with a wealth of ideas with which to use to improve my teaching. The challenge will be to make the time to use as many of these ideas as possible, in order to then select the ones that will best suit my style and subject.