Edmodo, Tagxedo, Audio Drop Box, Google Docs, online Flash cards, Symbaloo, Powerpoint, Twitter, Blogger, .. just some of the applications we've used in my classrooms the first two weeks. By far Edmodo has been the most useful and used, but I think I'm OVERusing it. The assignments are too involved, copying pasting cognates from an article to the TURN IN note section, opening flashcards then writing down vocabulary they don't know yet. I think I'm stuck in mile-wide, inch-thick assignments. The students are spending so much time completing the assignments, I don't get to the meat of the lesson.
My students have a bellringer each day when they come into class. This week, I feel like the bellringer has been taking up to 20 minutes! - between not having forms signed, forgetting log-ins, locking themselves out (how are teachers doing it if they don't have the ability to unlock users on the network?!?!?), not understanding the assignment, not knowing how to perform the task, (copy/paste), there's the not knowing the material we're covering!!!
Today, during sixth grade encore, my students copied simple vocabulary words in French in Edmodo - they were cognates, and began with alphabet letters. We pronounced them, and compared them. Then I pulled out my ABC song cd, my 8 1/2 x 11 laminated paper flashcards with those same words on them in photos and their beginning alpha characters and taught.
I moved around the room, I sang and hummed, I called on students. They sang, and repeated and looked up from their laptops for the first time in weeks!! For the past two weeks, I've been so geared towards getting technology integrated, I didn't realize it had BECOME the lesson. I have not been teaching. I'd been pinned to the front of my classroom operating the projector with the powerpoint visually explaining the steps to be taken. I know my students are learning about technology, but I've got to INTEGRATE it, not let it take over my classroom.
There are lots and lots of shiny apps my students can use to learn/learn to use, but less is more I'm coming to believe. To use technology just to use it is not the best use of technology in the classroom. I'm looking forward to our 1:1 Device Pilot group meeting tomorrow evening. I hope I'm not the only one who's looking for a way to strike a balance.