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I have heard tons of people talking about Moodle, but I have never seen it used before. It sounds like a great resource - I am definitely going to have to check it out and see how I can use it in my classroom!
I have been blogging with my juniors all year, and as the year comes to a close I really believe that the majority of them have come to embrace the activity and enjoy the individual freedoms that it encourages. However, it was very difficult to get them on board, especially with regards to the commenting and responding. As my freshman draw near the end of their first year in high school, I decided to attempt a sort of blog assignment with them for a couple of weeks. It was a much shorter version than that of my juniors, and instead of using Blogger, I utilized the access to Moodle that my school district offers. My freshman took off with the discussion. At first it was a new shiny toy and they tended to complete the assignment and then the comments turned into frivolous banter. But, after the newness wore off, and we had a class discussion regarding appropriate use of the forum and the desired content, the frequency of their comments remained, but the content became more classroom focused.
With this example in mind, I have decided that they younger the student, the easier it is to get them to embrace technology or try a new way of learning. This is true with many things; however, I would like to see these same students as juniors in a couple of years and test their tech skills or up their knowledge of blogging in the classroom. I would bet that the time it would take them to embrace the integration of new technology would be far less than the students that I experimented with this year!
I am interested in using blogs for Spanish language journals. What sort of collaboration and interaction do you find your students are experiencing with blogs? Do you require them to follow each other? I'd love for my students to connect with native speakers but am a little leery about sending them out there to Spain or other Spanish-speaking countries without some help and protection. Any thoughts? Thanks!
I am very fortunate to have a Smartboard and laptops available in my classroom. Although, there is a fair amount of time needed to learn all the in's and outs of a Smartboard, I tend to use it to supplement text and or lecture. The students also get opportunities to use the Smartboard as well.
I have found that in an alternative education setting, the range of basic computer knowledge is HUGE! So I tend to walk kids through a lot of resources, more of an exposure than an in-depth lesson. If students tend to work well on a particular technology, we may go and spend more time using that particular thing. Since I may only have students for 1 marking period or less, I think it is more important for me to make sure they just know what is out there vs. perfecting a few pieces of technology. I may have them look at someone's blog instead of creating one. I have used photostory to create commercials for student businesses. We have uploaded resume's to the internet for job applications. In my school building, we have had students use various forms of pod casting, music producing , etc. Overall, I think my environment lends itself well to introducing topics, and integrating Face to Face with pure technology.