Technology and Teaching with Ms. Cassidy by Ronald Griffin
Ms. Cassidy is a first grade teacher from Canada, and she talks a lot about technology in education in the video Interview with Kathy Cassidy. So, how does a teacher approach getting technology in the classroom? According to Ms. Cassidy, a lot of it falls on the shoulders of the teacher. Ms. Cassidy got started implementing technology in her classroom from her own research and ideas. She said she had a technology coordinator at her school for support, but the bulk of the work she did herself. Working hard to get technology in the classroom is one thing, but to do in a way that is most beneficial to the students takes it to another level. After all, whats the point of having a computer in the class if it isn't utilized properly? This question is answered by Ms. Cassidy. She says to use technology in the proper way, teachers must understand technology themselves. If a teacher understands technology from an educational standpoint, then they will be well on their way to using it properly in the classroom. The road to successful technology in the classroom doesn't end here, rather it is only the beginning. Having a strong personal learning network can strengthen a teachers approach to technology in the classroom.
Ms. Cassidy spoke with conviction on how a personal learning network can help use technology in education. She said, as a teacher, one should use the things they connect with the best to find the proper advice. She said if a teacher is into writing than maybe they should use Blogger to connect with other teachers who favor writing. If a teacher has more interest in photos than try out Flicker to connect with other teachers through that. This starts the building process of their personal learning network. The take home message is, if one uses resources they are interested in themselves they will connect with other like minded individuals and be able to exchange ideas and better themselves as teachers. In the process, the teachers are being constant learners. Doesn't this concept sound somewhat familiar? This same concept is used when teaching students. A teacher should find the students' interests and tap into that in order to motivate and educate them. It is intriguing to see some concepts come full circle. The same concept is being used by a teacher to connect with their students and at the same time it's being used to implement something new like effective technological education. Having an effective personal learning network can allow for an influx of knowledge on how to approach using technology in the classroom.
There are several techniques Ms. Cassidy mentioned that I would consider using for my classroom. The first is the use of Blogger. I think the way Ms. Cassidy uses Blogger is great. She said she uses it as much as possible / applicable, and also uses it for the parents of the students. Having a class blog allows parents to see their child's work, as well as other children in the class. Important announcements can be put on the page and overall is a great way to keep parents connected to their child's education. Also, it allows a public forum for the students to share their knowledge and receive feedback.
Another great technique Ms. Cassidy uses that I would consider using myself is Skype. Being able to use Skype is a great resource, specifically with other classes. Using Skype for presentations of projects is a great way to involve other classrooms from anywhere. After the presentation, feedback can be given by other students and a general discussion could be held between the two classes. Skype can also be good for interviews with professionals in whatever course of study one is teaching. One drawback of using Skype can be its heavy reliance on the internet. If a whole period is scheduled around using Skype and the internet goes down then precious time can be wasted. Having a back up plan in these situations is crucial. Always being prepared is a responsibility teachers have, and by being prepared many problems can be averted.
Ms. Cassidy's interview was full of great advice. Staying in touch and up to date with technology and having a great personal learning network to tap into, is a great way to implement technology into the classroom. Using great techniques like Blogger and Skype can also help better eduction for students. The point that I feel has been steadily rising to the surface in the pool of educational knowledge time and again is always continue to learn. Whether one has been teaching for forty years or forty days, being a constant learner will allow them to successfully implement a plethora of educational tools into the classroom.