Thursday, September 11, 2008

Leading the Middle School Classroom to the 21st Century

New technologies are being introduced to us on a daily basis. 21st century terms such as blog, social network, twitter, skype, texting, RSS and wiki are rapidly becoming a major part of today's vernacular. While these terms may still sound a little foreign to many teachers, students are using these tools to connect to the world. It will not be very long before teachers are expected to incorporate some of these instruments into their instructional practice.

The challenge for teachers will be making sense of how these new technologies play-out in their classrooms. After all, middle school students are middle school students.

Dr. Tracy Weeks, the district's director for instructional technology (for another two hours...her last day is today), advises teachers who are a bit reluctant (or petrified) of bringing these new technologies into the classroom to follow a four step plan:

1. Collaborate with your PLC team or another colleague;
2. Don't reinvent the wheel - modify a lesson you are familiar with by adding 21st century technology components;
3. Deliver the lesson and be mindful of the engagement of your students;
4. Reflect on the delivery of the lesson (Don't forget to obtain feedback from your students and share the successes and challenges with your PLC team members and colleagues).

The August 2008 addition of Instructor shares 7 effective ways to bring today's technology into your classroom. Topics include the use of Blogs, Social Networks, Podcasts, Wikis, Bookmarking, Video Posting and Google Maps. You may read this article by click here. Happy reading!

-R



3 comments:

Erin Foxmann - Smith Middle - ESL Teacher said...

Of the seven technology strategies listed in Instructor, blogging seems the easiest to begin with. However, I am also intrigued by the potential for podcasts to be used for substitute lesson plans. If you've done this or know of someone who has done so, I'd love you to share feedback.
Thanks for the resource from Instructor, for the encouragement on the blog In the Middle, and for the new-to-CHCCS orientation at Smith Auditorium in August.

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