Sign Me Up for a Classroom Makeover!

Honestly, my classroom needs a makeover. When I look around my fifth grade classroom on a typical day, I see fifth graders engaging with curriculum using the traditional paper and pencil method. Yes, they are working collaboratively. Yes, they are being challenged with higher order thinking prompts. But no, technology is not permeating my classroom like it should be. Why not? My excuses are typical, yet true. How can I constantly utilize technology when there is one mobile laptop cart to be shared among three classrooms? How will I manage my classroom when it takes some students ten minutes to type a sentence and other students ten seconds? How will I find the time to teach online etiquette when I barely have time to teach my content?

Although my hesitations contain elements of truth, there is another truth that cannot be ignored. The increasing technology in our society has changed the way students learn. Web 2.0 has changed the way students gain, create, and distribute information. It has changed the way students collaborate. It has changed the way students engage with content. Therefore, my classroom must change.

I know that my classroom must become a place where students constantly have the opportunity to increase their digital literacy skills. Now it’s time to make that knowledge a reality by finding a way to overcome my hesitations, and make my classroom a place where Web 2.0 tools are more commonplace than worksheets. It’s time that my classroom not only prepares my students for with content knowledge for the future, but also with digital literacy skills that will ensure their success in their future careers. To do this, my goal is to start small by selecting a handful of developmentally-appropriate Web 2.0 tools that I can begin implementing with my fifth graders next school year. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with all that Web 2.0 has to offer and stressing out over trying to do it all, I want myself and my students to become experts on only a few tools. This way, we can focus on quality, not quantity. In my classroom, I want to ensure that technology is used to aid learning, and not used simply for the sake of using technology.

If I’m able to achieve this goal, I see my classroom as a place where students are collaborating on group projects using wikis, posting comments about novels they’ve read to blogs, and both learning and teaching content through podcasts and screencasts. I’ve got some work to do, but I know my students will be receptive and as students from the “Net-Generation,” I know this is what they need.

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4 thoughts on “Sign Me Up for a Classroom Makeover!

  1. Although I am not working directly with students I still feel that you are right in feeling overwhelmed. There are so many tools out there that I feel I can aimlessly wander around the “net” for a long time and always seem to find a tool that is just a little better than the last one I looked at. I’m really in a place where I have to have a consultant make-over! I want to find “the tool” or even “2-3 tools” that will help me focus on the the task at hand and leave me feeling like I’ve used the most efficient one. I don’t want to continue to change my mind just because something new has been developed. Good luck with your “classroom make-over”!

  2. My class too is in need of a Web 2.0 makeover! I view my classroom the same way you do, full of engagement, higher-level thinking, and collaboration. I am also on a mission to enhance my classroom with technology that has meaning and true benefits to the learning experiences. I love your idea of blogging about books that students are reading. This will not only expand the collaboration between students, but also expose the students to so many more books! They will be reading and writing more than ever before. I am looking forward to reading about more of your ideas.
    ~Jessica

  3. I have returned to a classroom this year after many years working with individuals and small groups. I, like you, now experience not enough devices to go around. My saving grace has been small, flexible groups. Not everyone does the same thing at the same time, and not everyone does it the same way. While one group has a teacher directed lesson others will work independently or collaboratively. We do have a computer lab that is more available to Lower School since Middle School students all have iPads but I have to remember to schedule the space. And yes, I sometimes feel like all I do is repeat myself. By the end of the day I have sharpened my communication skills and also have peer helpers in those who have been through the process. You are wise to carefully consider what will work for you and your students. Just remember to keep breathing!

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