Friday, November 30, 2012

The return to normalcy...

I've discovered a comfortable compromise between all-out tech and teaching/learning with tech.  With the beginning of second quarter, I laid out a plan to rotate daily work with our devices. I vary my "bellringers" between edmodo assignments, socrative quizzes, polleverywheres  voice recordings, old fashioned "paper" bellringers and non-graded activities like online language games, and realia.  It keeps things less robotic and routine and each application has individual benefits and reaches/appeals to different students. I still use edmodo as the vehicle to link to the other sites. It's just so direct and easy.  It's also simple to post, check work and give feedback.

Our devices are daily - just not every class and I'm finding it easier to integrate technology now.  Surprisingly, that came when I allowed myself to relax and "go back" to my style of teaching.  I just wasn't connecting with my students because I was doing TOO much technology.  Yes, Marty and others said "start slow", "ease into it" - but, I felt very strongly compelled to use the devices 24-7 - to model their effectiveness and because I felt compelled to demonstrate my commitment to the Pilot program, (oh and yes - I do love technology!!).

A big help was that our systems technicians worked their magic and now we're up and running in much less time.  That's helped immeasurably.  And finally, I moved the students' seats from groups of four to pairs of rows.  I can see all the computer screens from the back of the room at one time, yet they can still partner up to help one another while I keep more of their attention. Even though I'm feeling less than successful instituting what I perceived the Community of Learners ideals to be, I believe we've in fact become a real Community of Learners because of the bond, affection, respect and positive atmosphere we share together now that we've settled into routine and "normalcy". Come see for yourself - Room 401 - Kernersville Middle School!

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