This truly has been a long and winding road (thank you John, Paul, George, and Ringo) as I journeyed through the technological jungle. Along the way I’ve shown myself that you can teach an old teacher new tricks. While some of the tools I’ve explored would be useful, some interesting, and some no so much, the trick now is to remember which is which and determine what I’m going to do with all of this new-found knowledge and experience.
I ended my last post by commenting that the “jungle of technology is still sometimes dark and scary, the path sometimes fraught with danger at every turn, and yet, I can’t turn back. I need to travel deeper into the technology jungle before I’m totally convinced one way or the other. I guess it’s the thrill of the hunt.” And so, my journey does not end here, but will continue, with many twists and turns, much backtracking, and, I’m sure, forays off the beaten path, as I continue to explore and use 21st century web tools. So, where do I go from here? Which technologies will I take into my classroom next week, which will I need to explore a little more first, and which will I cast by the side of the path , like a stray candy wrapper, as I move on to something else?
Of the many tools and resources I’ve explored there are several that I will definitely bring into my classroom right from the start. These include some of the YouTube videos I’ve found (and embedding them in a blog or Wiki so that my students and I can access them more easily), Bubbl.us for brainstorming – definitely for project teams, and GeoGebra for easy access dynamic geometry and graphing tools, along with Creative Commons and Flickr for myself and student access to appropriate images for projects and the like. I’m also thinking that I might be able to use some of the images to add some dimension to the pre-algebra review text that I wrote last year and the college algebra and/or applied math texts I’m thinking of starting for next year or the following (basically whenever it gets done.)
I am trying to make it a habit to check my Google Reader with some semblance of regularity, even if that means 5 AM every Saturday morning – which reminds me, I need to clean out my Web 1.0 inbox before the new school year starts. I also need to check my Diigo bookmarks and Classroom 2.0 on a regular basis as well. I don’t want to ‘forget’ about them as I did last year. I really want to take advantage of Diigo so that I don’t have to remember which computer I was on when I bookmarked a particular site, since I now use three different computers – my desktop at school, my laptop at home, and my Netbook going back and forth or while on the road (don’t worry, my husband drives!) I’d also like to check out sites for student projects and share those bookmarks, along with ‘sticky notes,’ highlighting and comments. Actually, as I write this, I should set my engineering teams up with Diigo access so that they can share resources easily while they are working on their projects. Good idea, if I do say so myself.
I still need to get comfortable with Podcasting and take the time to look for appropriate Podcasts before I try to use them for my own professional development or for use with my students. While I would love to use LibraryThing for my personal collection as well as my professional collection, I know that will not happen any time soon. As for the rest, I still need to develop a comfort level with some of the other tools I’d like to use before I bring them into the classroom, and some, like PageFlakes, I will definitely pass on.
Yes, the path may sometimes be fraught with danger at every turn, but that thrill of the hunt, the exhilaration of a successful accomplishment, and the fact that I am continuing to learn and grow as a human technologist (a term the president of my alma mater once coined to reference the new – then late 20th century – qualities an engineer would need to possess.) Armed with this desire and my mouse, I continue on this journey. Who knows where it will take me next? Wherever it may be, I’ll be the better for it.