As I look back on these last few months, the first thought that comes to mind is "Whew"! It has been one of many adventures and challenges! I realized on Friday as I lost the connection to the projector switching from the document camera back to the laptop and was forced to use the whiteboard, I have really integrated and become dependent on 21st Century learning tools in my classroom! It was very odd to teach a lesson which I normally use the laptop cart for and go back to the whiteboard. What a difference!
I have found big and little ways to incorporate routines of technology in the classroom. We utilize the smartboard and powerpoint on a daily basis in Literacy, and with the changes we have been making, I have been grateful for the opportunity to have a projector and laptop to plan thorough lessons that flow. A couple of my students have struggled with success in using the smart board in whole group settings, and I have found that small group or individual opportunities have offered a lot of success. For example in writing, I have our writer's process up on the smart board so that students move their name through Plan, Draft, Peer Edit, Teacher Edit, and Publish. We utilize the technology to enhance our learning, and that process has been an experience of the classroom community. As I reflect on some of our set routines, I think about the opportunities still out there to explore.
We also use live streaming to build background knowledge both is Science and Literacy, and are exploring a small community in Alaska where our class pen pals live. Last year writing to Alaska, I brought in pictures and made a poster board to help students gain background knowledge with what I thought was success. This year, I am able to easily take students to the community or similar environments via Google Earth, videos, and picasa. I notice we have taken a step further in our knowledge and understanding of the community and the area.
As we move into the 2nd half of the school year, I am looking forward to building on my successes, continuing to work on my challenges and explore new opportunities with 21 Century Learning.