I have recently begun a new class in my Walden Master’s program called “Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas” and the focus of this class is on the integration of technology resources into daily teaching practices. The course text is titled Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use: A Standards-Based Approach and the authors present a step-by-stop approach to self-directed learning that assists teachers and students in reaching the national (ISTE) technology standards (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009). They call this a GAME (Goals, Action, Monitor, Evaluate) plan.
After studying the NETS-T standards, I have chosen two that I would like to focus on and strengthen:
2a Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity.
5c Evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning
A goal I would like to accomplish that would help to strengthen my teaching practice in both areas is to integrate student blogging in my classroom as both a collaborative discussion and journaling tool. I have set this goal because I believe that by integrating blogging into my classroom, it will increase student learning in many areas, but especially in writing content and skill. In my experience, students who write to an authentic audience write more, write in more detail, and are more likely to take care in using correct conventions, an important 3rd grade skill. During the last school year, I experimented with blogging through our district web-host site and saw its value in evoking authentic, meaningful responses from my students. However, this school year my district switched to a new web-host and this new site no longer supports blogging. I would like to find an alternative blogging site that is suitable for 3rd grade students, but the challenge is that I must make sure that the site is not only user friendly, with useful features, but is also safe for young children. My district is hesitant to approve collaborative website use without sufficient evidence that it will be safe and secure for students.
To accomplish this goal, I will need to take action by researching, finding, and experimenting with several blogging sites to see which I think will be the most effective tool and one that I will be permitted to use. I will need to seek authorization from my administration before using it with my students. Then, I will set up the blogging tool and begin to create lessons and activities that support learning in all content areas, but with special attention to writing skills.
As my students use this tool and I integrate it into my classroom practice, I will also strengthen my practice by monitoring and then eventually evaluating the blogging tool and its value in supporting and extending student learning. As my students are blogging, I will need to monitor the discussions and writing closely to see if my students are practicing and applying their writing, critical thinking, and discussion skills in a way that encourages creativity, but shows thoughtfulness and growth in understanding. If I decide that the blogging site is not meeting the needs of my students, I may need to reteach expectations, find an alternative site, or another method or collaboration tool. If I decide that it is an effective tool, I will then be able to create a series of lessons that utilize more functions of the blogging site and are more specific in content and skills.
I am looking forward to this next “3rd Grade Adventure in Cyberspace” and am ready to get started on my GAME plan! Any suggestions on blogging sites that are user friendly, suitable for young children, and have a high level of security and anonymity would be greatly appreciated!