Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fortune Cookies and Teaching with Technology

It's strange that a fortune cookie I ate had a message that has caused me to reflect on how I have been teaching with technology. 

I am considered an early adopter of technology and its integration at my school. Some would even go as far to say I'm a "keener". There is sometimes a professional stigma that accompanies someone like this, and for this reason, I have been apprehensive to share with my own peers in house, yet I feel comfortable throwing it out on the web, where I am more at home in the ed tech blogosphere. Speaking to several peers about this including Terry Kaminski and Apple Educator John Maschak, its time to listen to the cookie. Have any of you been in a situation like this when being an early adopter? 

This fortune cookie comes at the right time, as I continue to develop the Arkanada Project with Jim Billings, and I see a new colleague and friend Neil Stephenson who is doing awesome work with his Humanities classes. The wiki was only started yesterday, and is a work in progress. If you want to contribute, you can join by emailing me: 

The Arkanada Project

Through the use of a NING, wiki, and a blog, students in Jim's class in Arkansas will be collaborating, sharing and peer teaching my students in Cold Lake, Alberta. Jim does a student news cast live each day on local cable, and I hope to pair up students to learn about journalism, ENG, using pro tools, with a focus on real world projects. His classroom is a TV studio, complete with a newsroom, and I will be using a combination of Boinx TV and Cam Twist to do our own weekly news show. I have shared how I use Cam Twist and which we will now both use to stream our shows live on the web.

We will be using Skype to introduce each other's classes, and then will be setting up time when individual students can talk face to face- this is where the real world learning will begin! 

Stop Animation

To start off my multimedia class today, I introduced them to stop motion films, but with a wonderful resource from the NFB. Norman McLaren's Neighbours is a masterful film and at almost 7 minutes of stop motion, it drives home to the students the complexity of the genre. Students then watched selected short films I linked for them from Youtube, and had 10 more minutes to watch films of their choice. The they had to post their thoughts on our class blog about the elements that we should focus on when creating and evaluating their own films. While I wish I have iStop Motion for all my iMacs, but we will have to work with student's own cameras and the iSight cameras. We are shooting for a 1 min film, and despite film being almost 30 frames per second, we will be playing the pictures back at around 10 frames per second, and will use Final Cut Express for putting it all together. Last time we used iMovie, and had to change the number of frames each picture was displayed hundreds of times over! 

Digital Literacy

Language Arts 9 started fresh today, and my first unit is Digital Literacy and writing with technology). We signed up for Gmail, tried out Google Docs, and tomorrow we will learn about developing student PLN's, and taking ownership of eduction. We will use Google Reader and iGoogle to start monitoring the blogosphere for writing , tech blogs, and blogs that of interest to each student. I asked them to find out what web 2.0 means and they responded in our class blog. 

Leading by Doing

There must be other teachers who use technology seamlessly in their classroom, and are in a similar position as I am. Pursuing innovative uses for technology and pairing them with sound pedagogy is something that I will continue to do, and now want to share more often with peers in my building to help inspire them to try something new with technology. My advice for them is to start with one thing, and you'll find yourself wanting to do more very soon. 

1 comment:

  1. Jared,

    I eco your comments about leadership and the apprehension you feel about sharing your work with your peers. As we both start this blogging experiment at similar times - its interesting that we both feel a level of comfort putting our stuff out there online - but awkward with our colleagues. I just received an encouraging note talking about the same issue - maybe it will help you:

    I was once told that we are not recognized as an expert until you are outside a 50 mile radius of your home.

    To promote your self is to promote ideas.

    Great job. Looking forward to more.