Monday, January 16, 2006
Why we have to use technology in our classrooms...
Several posts on this blog have been about different things teachers can do to integrate technology into their classroom. The question that most teachers ask is: Why should I do this? It is going to create more work for me. The thing with integrating technology into your classroom is that it takes a little longer to create new content for your class, but you get all of the extra time you spent back by making grading and collecting student work easier. So, why do you need to integrate technology into your classroom? Because that is the medium the students you teach are already using and will continue to use to communicate with each other. Besides what you see everyday on campus with students using their cell phones and MP3 players, what other evidence is there that students are using technology to communicate, invent and innovate? Here are a few references from the past few weeks showing how much students use the technology available to them.
More than half of all teenagers that use the Internet have created content, which could be a blog, podcast or web page. A USA Today article shows that many teenagers are using 'MySpace' to create their online content, currently there are 47 million 'MySpace' accounts leading Rupert Murdoch to buy the site for $580 million. Having seen all of these accounts around school and attempting to limit their use on campus, we find ourselves in a dilemma. Parents are also facing these same issues with their children. 'MySpace' and its college counterpart, 'Facebook.com.' have caught the attention of law enforcement officials. Colleges and Local police are using teen blogs to assist them in solving crimes. As you might expect, there are plenty of people using 'MySpace' to hide their identity and prey on teenagers that hang out there. Well, the teenagers turned the tables on one man. He claimed to be distant British royalty and teenagers who saw this blog, used other online tools to discredit him and report him to the police. Another story discredited a reporter from Hawaii, who was using parts of wikipedia in his articles without crediting the online encyclopedia. (Honolulu Star Bulletin apology to readers.)
Besides blogs, there are many other activities high school aged students are engaging in online. Many high school and college students would like to take more classes online. Some teachers are recording lectures and publishing them online in the form of podcasts. This allows students to review material in the teacher's own words prior to tests and allows students missing class to make up work without burdening the teacher.
Wiki's are another form of online collaboration where students create one document drawing from the work of all members of the group. You can use this in class with a small group of 3-4 or have a 'wiki-book' for your class. There are also open 'wiki-projects' that high school students can participate in. Since every change in a wiki is logged and archived, teachers can see who is contributing to the project and who hasn't. There are many free 'wiki' hosting services that you can create your own account for your classes. We can even host our own wiki on the Capuchino web site if there is enough interest.
If you have any questions or ideas you would like to put into action, please contact either Kyle or Dom.