Week 5 Summary – Group 1

It was an interesting week reading blogs, reviewing articles, and listening to the podcasts.  Across all of the resources this week, it was easy to find encouragement, strategies, and tips for integrating technology in the classroom today.

From the articles and blogs…

Courtney does a nice job summarizing the overall key points the Tech Trends article, “Educational Blog Management Strategies and Tools”, for any educators who want to start a blog, “For a blog to be successful, the educator must: 
1) …set up strategies
 2) …give strong examples
 [and] 3) …foster extended conversations through heavy teacher engagement early-on.”

Cheryl found commonalities between the formal and informal blogs with her observations that blogs permit a space to a journal of thoughts, ideas, and reflections; offer a method to exchange information; create the ability to build connections to others through collaboration; remove isolation by encouraging socialization; and sanctions a reflective environment for consideration of the information.

Marie’s takeaways from the blogs are particularly relevant for all teachers looking towards the application of blogs in the classroom with their students.  She states, “these technologies may be new to students; …it is important to teach the idea of proper posts and comments; …we need to spend time teaching students how to disagree with other views in a respectful way; …[and] we need to remember to reinforce the idea that what they write on public blogs will be seen by many, which will require careful monitoring on our part!”

Jordan offers his most important observation when he discusses that for those teachers who are pondering the use of blogs for learning in their classrooms, they should consider encouraging the free expression of ideas, create an environment for students to express their opinions in a public forum and still feel safe enough to express an opinion that may be unconventional or unpopular, and urge “commentary that is point-counterpoint rather than criticism”.

From the podcasts…

Courtney’s interview with Beth Wilmus, a foreign language teacher at her school, offers an enlightening perspective on using students’ own devices within the classroom for those who are interested in BYOD.

Cheryl’s interview with Jennifer Wiley, a 7th grade teacher at her daughter’s middle school, reminds us as educators that we must remember to consider scaffolding and differentiation “even with technology”.

Marie’s interview with Mike Hammel, one of her district’s technology integration coaches, reminds and challenges to teachers to create “…more opportunities for students to take content to a higher level…” (around 5:30).

Jordan’s interview with Dara Wheeler Ford, who teaches a few Nutrition courses at Penn State, does some pretty interesting stuff with Web 2.0 in her classes and has learned that technological tools often place permit a real-world context for what they were learning in class, facilitate a quicker application of their lessons, inspire personal motivation, and create connections with both the community and learning process.

All of the advice from the articles, blogs, and podcasts is an opportunity to learn from the experience and wisdom of others that is valuable to anyone who takes the moment to explore, question, and investigate.