These inquisitive learners were immersed in a variety of online tools and popular classroom technology from Day 1 Hour 1. Technologies included Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, Skype, Audacity, YouTube, Windows Movie Maker, Google Earth, PowerPoint, and more. Pedagogy related to the use of such technology was an essential component of the workshop. They started Day 1 by creating a teaching philosophy that they expanded by the end of the week and also added a technology component to these teaching philosophies. All this new technology brought out some good questions from the learners:
How will our teaching change as we participate in the "Read/Write" web and how do we better prepare our students to be collaborators?
What will become relevant and irrelevant in this new age? Will cyberspace replace bricks-and-mortar buildings with digital libraries? Will teachers be passé?
My other reaction is that I feel disappointed in some of these technological changes. I was horrified when I read that the fastest growing user group is the age group 2-5!The principal technology behind the participants’ interaction was a wiki (created using Google Sites). Learners also learned how to create, use, and interact within a wiki environment. One leaner said, “I was amazed by the idea of a Wiki.... to be able to check facts about an article and to change it...like a real verbal interaction. Wiki is a very useful tool in a language class where the goal is interaction.”
Learners also experimented with the use of blogs and how it can be utilized in a language classroom environment. Multimedia editing was a big part of the curriculum. Visual literacy was a big component of multimedia creation. Learners were able to edit and use audio and video files with Audacity and MS Movie Maker, and incorporate these into Podcasts, YouTube, and Skype to make lessons interactive and fun for their students.
On the final day, the participants seemingly ready with the new set of technology tools presented their lesson plans. The anticipation was heavier than the release of the newest ‘Twilight’ movie (or close enough!). The learners presented lesson plans with a range of video and audio, interactive PowerPoint, use of YouTube videos, use of Wikis, Google Earth components, all successfully incorporated. It was quite an accomplishment for the learners and for the workshop instructors as well, since we had invested months in planning, designing, and presenting. The grueling week had finally come to a satisfying end!
Some of the quotes from the learners (after the week):
A lot of students tend to be very creative when using technology and it helps putting what they have learned into practice.
I will keep these possibilities in mind while incorporating these types of ideas into my own teaching style.
I love all of this technology but it is all complicated. Fantastic when it works!
It's a jumping-off point to get me headed in the right direction. And with Tech Tools 2 next summer (hint, hint), I could return more prepared and tech-savvy to my classroom.
Ok then - Cya'll next year (hopefully!)
Technologies discussed: Windows Movie Maker, Web 2.0, Video, Audio, Editing, Skype, YouTube, PowerPoint, Audacity, Blog, Wiki, Podcast, Picasa, Google Earth
Technology Integration Specialist,
Foreign Language Center
Ohio State University