Saturday, April 9, 2011
Blog Assignment 11
This week I had the pleasure of watching a youtube video and a recorded Skype interview featuring Ms. Cassidy and her first grade classroom. Ms. Cassidy is a teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada who has learned to incorporate technology into her classroom in a very effective way. The thing that amazes me most about Ms. Cassidy'd class is that they are able to use technology at such a young age. I used to think that it was unrealistic to incorporate technology in a classroom with such young students. I didn't think that this age group would be able to be productive withc computers. Also, I thought that it was questionable to expose children to the dangers of the internet. However, Ms. Cassidy has proven that all of my previous thoughts were misconceptions.
Some of the tools that Ms. Cassidy uses is a class website, blogs, computer games, video recording, Skype and even Nintendo DS game systems! All of this may seem overwhelming, but Ms. Cassidy has found a way to effectively incorporate all of these tools. Ms. Cassidy allows her students to navigate the internet through following links on her class website. She also allows her students to write their own blogs which their families and friends can comment on. The students create wikis to learn about different topics by getting feedback from other people on the world wide web. The students have conversations on Skype with others about educational topics such as writing and science. The students are also allowed to play with Nintendo DS game systems. This may not seem very educational, but it actually helps them with their reading and their problem solving.
I would love to use these same techniques with my students someday. I can see a lot of benefits to allowing the children to create blogs and navigate the internet. In a traditional classroom that simply uses paper and pencils, students are not as excited to complete their assignments. This is not the case is Ms. Cassidy's classroom. She describes her students joy at being able to post assignments online so they can share their progress with others. The students are motivated because they know that other people are paying attention to their work and they are encouraged by this. In a traditional class, parents would not be able to see their students progress unless they came to the school and viewed their child's personal classwork file. Using blogs makes it a lot easier for parents to keep track of their child's work. Ms. Cassidy does a great job of teaching her students how to use technology and the internet properly, effectively and safely.
The only problem that I could foresee in using the techniques that Ms. Cassidy employs in her class is making sure that students are not goofing off while they are using the computers. Also, a teacher using these techniques would have to make sure that the students do not fight over computers and game systems. Some teacher might think that all of this would take too much extra effort. They might think that it is pointless to allow children to use the internet or make blogs. They would rather stick to assigning problems in workbooks and giving out coloring sheets. I think that the students in Ms. Cassidy's classroom will be much better prepared for their futures than the students in classrooms without technology. If incorporating technology and educational games into the classroom motivates students to learn, then all teachers should be using these tools! I'm sure that parents are pushing to make sure that their child is enrolled in Ms. Cassidy's classroom. I hope that I will be the kind of teacher that is willing to explore new ways to better my classroom so that parents will want me to teach their children. I have learned a lot from watching Ms. Cassidy's teaching style. If you would like to learn more about Ms. Cassidy, you can follow this link to her class website http://staff.prairiesouth.ca/sites/kcassidy/