Tuesday, September 25, 2007

WiZiQ and the Reluctant Teen

I don't know how I want to start this post. Please understand that I am fully for the integration of technology in our classrooms. In fact, I don't see it so much as an option as a necessity. That being said, let me start you at the beginning.

It all started with Jeff Utecht's wonderful post on WiZiQ. For those of you who don't know, WiZiQ is sort of like a webcasting portal with recording features and so on - that is entirely free. How cool is that? I LOVE Web 2.0. Anyway, I got to thinking how cool it would be to use this in the classroom.

And then I thought of my students.

Last week, I used Alan Levine's Negative Reinforcement University as a test for my psychology classes. If I had a teacher who had done that in school - well, it would have rocked my world. Instead, I heard a lot of complaints. Yes, some of the students did really enjoy it - and they all really learned from it - but many of them didn't like the extra "work" it took to get out of the dungeon.

Which brings me to my point. How do we integrate technology - or embed it, as Jeff Utecht writes - if our students are reluctant at best to accept this? And who can blame them? For the last twelve years, we have taught students to read on paper and write on paper. And now, all of a sudden, we want them to what? Play games to test their abilities? Listen to class discussions online as opposed to in a classroom setting? This must be a very foreign concept indeed.

How can we help our reluctant students move beyond pen and paper and into the realm of the Read-Write Web? We talk a lot about supporting teachers in this, but what about the students?

This sounds overly pessimistic - and I don't want to be. I'm actually pretty excited about WiZiQ, and am trying to figure out a way to use it in my classroom. But, in case you're still bummed, let me end on a happy note. (Make sure you are not in a quiet location when you open that last link.)

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WiZiQ, Education, Random

Friday, September 21, 2007

Busy-ness, Sleep Deprivation, and Other September-Themed Musings

Okay, so it's been a month since my last post. And that was a re-post of a funny email I received. Wow. I can't believe it has been a month. It really seems like yesterday - and yet, like it was three years ago.

We started school the last week of August (added the kiddos after Labor Day), and since then I feel so disconnected! Twitter - which was unblocked last year - has, up until now, been blocked at my school. (Our school has changed procedures, so I filled out a form to get Twitter un-blocked. There was a problem with the paperwork, but I think we have it figured out. I'm hoping to be online on Monday.) I had no idea how often I used Twitter to stay connected - and to get quick answers to tech issues!

I also added a new prep - psychology. I absolutely LOVE teaching it! I spend a lot of time each day trying to make the class as interesting and fun as possible, thus my Bloglines account is at 1744 new feeds. Wait - make that 1746.

And another new thing this year? I used to get asked about tech stuff around the school by members of my department and close friends. This year? Many more people. I've had to actually hide during my prep hour so that I can get work done. I'm really surprised that I can't figure out good hiding places (within range of the wi-fi) in a school of nearly 1000 kids.

If this sounds like complaining, it really isn't. It's awesome! The last school year was amazing - I was able to present at some great conferences, and I've learned so much. I'm really tired (okay, that was a little whiny) but at the end of the day, I feel like I'm really doing well. I've already done some techie things in my psych class. We did a PhotoStory, and then instead of a test, I took them to Alan Levine's Negative Reinforcement University, or NRU. They loved it!

I'm super flattered that people in my building are asking for my help and advice about tech stuff. The truth is, I usually don't know the answer to their question initially. (Shhhh....don't tell) But I do find them the answer, no matter how long it takes me to figure it out.

So, I apologize for the delay between postings. Just in case it takes me a little longer before I can write again, please let me leave you with some links:

My newly improved website. Same general look, but quite a different set-up.

Pavlov's Dog. This is only good if you teach Pavlov, but hey, it's still pretty fun. :)

Guided Tour. This is the guided tour for the iPod Touch. *drool*

Education 2050. If you've never read this before, now's as good a time as any.

And now, off to the Senior Lock-In. Man, I love my job!

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Back to School, Education, Random