Thinking Out Loud

At my school, I am often sought out for technology ideas. For instance, my school is really good about publicizing the things I do with blogs and wikis. When The Atlanta Jewish Times called the school looking to speak with educators about their use of technology, my colleagues made sure the reporter, Suzi Brozman, talked to me. They are really supportive of what I do with technology, and they seem really interested in the applications available. My colleagues, in short, see me as a leader in integrating technology into the classroom. But I’m not nearly doing enough. So much more could be done! A cursory glance at the things Lisa Huff (no relation — I don’t think!) is doing with her students was enough to tell me that. I was quite humbled by what I saw — saving and sharing her posts in Google Reader left and right. Here is what I want to do next year:

  • More wikis. Some ideas: wikis for portfolios, wikis for collaborative learning, wikis for teaching.
  • Blogging. I would like my students to have individual blogs for reflective writing. I think having a student blog where I publish their work is not really accomplishing all that I want to accomplish.
  • Podcasting. You really should hear my students talk. I tried to talk them into letting me record their Socratic seminar on the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, but they knew I’d post it here, and they weren’t ready for that. It’s a shame because it was a great discussion. They debated the issue for well over an hour! I like what Lisa Huff is doing with VoiceThread, a tool I was introduced to at a conference in November and still haven’t experimented with.

I find myself feeling so excited about these potential ideas that I want to sit down and plan it all out, which is crazy because I’m not really sure what I’ll be teaching yet (for one thing), and I still have seven weeks this year. I know what you’re thinking. Go ahead and try some things. Better late than never, right? Well, I just might. My ninth graders will be studying poetry and short stories soon (May), and I see some potential there. I think the student blogs will need to wait for next year, but perhaps I can do a poetry project using wikis and VoiceThread and/or SlideShare.

It didn’t occur to me until I saw Lisa discussing it in her blog that the fact that students could display their finished work through these types of online portfolios might be the “something extra” that makes them attractive to colleges and employers — a pretty persuasive argument for, as we say down here, getting off the stick and making it happen.

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4 thoughts on “Thinking Out Loud

  1. Your flattering words are far too kind.

    Just this week we've been reading Professions for Women, a speech by Virginia Woolf. Her words praising her predecessors in the feminist movement echo my journey into the edtech world:

    "…the road was cut many years ago…many

    famous [people], and many more unknown

    and forgotten, have been before me, making

    the path smooth, and regulating my steps."

    I can't take credit for the work I'm doing: it's merely a synthesis of the many ideas of educators across the globe, modified a bit to meet the needs of my students and my subject area. That's the beauty of Web 2.0: it gives voice to the "famous" and to hitherto "forgotten." Any of us–even a simple English teacher in rural Arkansas like myself–can learn from the work of others and transform our teaching, our classroom environments.

    As for working with others, I'd love for us to plan a collaborative project for next year. What do you think?

    P.S. I love your header–ingenious!

  2. Lisa, believe it or not, that is a real intersection here in Atlanta — not the least Photoshopped. Isn't that funny? The math teacher in the room next to me told me about it, and my husband then said he thought he knew where she was talking about. He was going to that area of town for some reason I have now forgotten, so I asked him to snap a picture of the intersection for me.

    As to the collaboration, sure, why not? I am not sure what my schedule will be next year, but that should be settled in a few months.

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