Trials and tribulations of 21st century educator

Tweets & Pins!

I have recently started utilizing my twitter account (granted, my personal account) a lot more in the past month.  I’ve started to follow more people especially related to news and other political content and I’ve posted a few pictures.  With the election the past week, I started following important candidates in order to stay up-to-date with their campaigns.  In addition, I have started following a few news outlets.  

Very quickly, especially the day of the election, I realized I had made a few mistakes in my decisions on who to follow.  First, my twitter account became inundated with (relatively) useless information.  Second, I made the mistake of setting up some push notifications for different candidates. I quickly realized that every time that person was mentioned, I got a text message.  In other words, when Shelia from Wisconsin voted for Obama and decided to tweet it, I got a text about it.  Finally, some of the news outlets decided to double tweet the same stories.  This just led to a lot of clutter and repetition on my feed.  

Once I corrected these things, I really enjoyed that instantaneous nature of twitter.  It made me feel “in the know” and “hip”.  I will continue to search for more people to follow and attempt to post more tweets.

I have been trying to pin more articles and videos for work as well.  I currently share a “work” board with Danielle Demarest on pinterest.  I have yet to explore the new “secret” board feature, I think it will help in planning a few surprise parties in the future.

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iPads for Lessons

“What can students actually do with an iPad?

I found this article to be very helpful in explaining the many uses of the iPad in the classroom. I do not currently have an iPad, but would love to get my hands on one to explore it’s application to the Social Studies curriculum.  I also believe that it would be a great topic for future professional (and technology) development.  

One criticism of the article is that the example lessons seem to have very similar products from the students.  By this I mean, the assessments are all project-based.  I would like to know more about what the iPad can do beyond recording a video or making a poster/flyer.  

In the future, I hope that the Lindbergh School District can provide these new technologies for its staff and students.  By now, a majority of teachers know the basics of how to use a computer, iPad, or other electronic device… now we want the ability to use those items in the classroom with EVERY student.  I understand the resources are tight, but in order to continue on as a leading school district in Missouri, we need make these items available to all of our students and staff all the time.  

Tweet! Tweet!

Signing up for twitter was the easy part; deciding who/what to follow was a bit more challenging.  One thing is for sure, I am definitely more of a “consumer” of information that a “producer”.

I’ve had my twitter account for just over a year.  And while I’ve tweeted about 5 times since then, it is a great way to stay up-to-date with things that I care about.  Mostly, I follow friends and family members, especially ones that live in another state.  I also follow comedians and other entertainers for a quick laugh.

For more educational purposes, I follow news stations and other political figures. It’s good to get a mix of local and national news.  I also follow a few educators that focus on using technology in the classroom.  However, I quickly realized that I should take caution when deciding who I follow.  Some feeds are updated TOO often and just flood your feed with information that is not important or relevant.  This is a major turn off for me as a “consumer” of info.

I’ve also attempted to set up a twitter account for the tract team.  This would make it easier to get the word out about practice times, workouts, and meet results.  Both athletes and parents can follow the Track twitter feed.  Unfortunately, it has not been effective (yet!) because I didn’t update it regularly (again, I’m a more of a consumer).  This year I plan on doing more with twitter and facebook to share information with the team.  I’m hoping to get over my lazy consumer ways and start producing more information through social media.

21st Century Teacher

Students. Content. Knowledge.  Skills.  Learning.

The main goal of the teachers is to connect students with the knowledge and skills that will help them learn and grow.  And they achieve this through creating meaningful and thoughtful lessons that are applicable to the student’s lives.

In order for teachers to create meaningful lessons in the 21st century, they have to connect to 21st century kids.  This involves using the technology that is available and prominent within that generation of learners.

However, a true 21st century teacher needs to go beyond simply using the tools that are already available to them.  Teachers need to be constantly updating and learning the new methods of the next generation.  Now, this may seem overwhelming, but “staying up to date” could be as simple as following a blog or a twitter feed, where the information is sent directly to you.

While some teachers still fear technology, one thing is for sure, and that is technology is not going away.  In order to be effective teachers today, we need to continually create new ways to “fill the gaps” between the student and knowledge in a meaningful way.  Using technology is one way in which teachers can continue to educate students in a way that engages them and applied directly to their life.

Why teacher’s should blog

The blog Principles of Change provides us with some great examples of the importance of blogging to education.  First, and most notably  it allows for the sharing of ideas and techniques.  By following other teacher’s blogs, a new teacher (or even old teachers for that matter) can learn new methods of classroom management or content delivery.  Second, blogging provides the teachers with a means of reflection.   The teacher can assess the effectiveness of a lesson or a unit and then put it in writing (ok.. typing).  Not only that, but because blogs are archived a teacher can look back at a lesson from last year and implement the suggested changes in the new year.  (No more sticky notes stuck to random pages in the lesson planner).  Finally, blogging can serve as a means of connecting with students.  George (the blogger) gave a good example of how a teacher quoted a student in her blog.  This indicates the connections being made in the classroom that eventually lead to respectful-mentor relationships.  

While I acknowledge the importance of teacher blogs, I just wish (like many others) that I had more time to do it.  At the end of the the day, my reflection consists of scribbling notes in the margin of my planner. I hope my ability to reflect in the moment improves as I become a more experienced teacher, but for now most of my evaluating is completed in the summer.  

I would like to say that I do enjoy this assignment, and I see its benefit.  I just know I wouldn’t do it if it was not a requirement.

New Direction

In the past, this blog was for posting my weekly agenda for my classes.  From here on out, I will be using this blog as a means of reflecting on my teaching.  One thing I’m going to focus on is the use of technology in the classroom.  What is the 21st century classroom like?  How should teachers respond to the changes in the classroom?  What are some techniques that I can use to properly prepare my students from jobs in the 21st century?

These are some questions that will be guiding my reflections and teaching practices in the future.

Week of 3/12-3/16

World History

Monday: Cold War introduction, HW: Reading packet

Tuesday: Document Analysis and Group Thesis

Wednesday: FINAL DRAFT DUE, Questions for veterans

Thursday: WWII Veterans interviews

Friday:  Butter Battle

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US Gov

Monday: Political Spectrum

Tuesday: Political Parties, Guided Reading

Wednesday: Political Parties Chart

Thursday: Political Parties Chart

Friday: Game

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Geography

Monday: Library Day

Tuesday: Southern Europe, Venice Article

Wednesday: BLOGS DUE, Review

Thursday: Europe Test

Friday: Presentations