Little Kids....Big Potential
Ms. Kathy Cassidy is a first grade teacher in Canada that has introduced a new way of teaching. Ms. Cassidy's first graders are using smart boards, blogging, composing wikis and communicating with children all over the world by using technology. Blogs are used to help students with reading and writing, and they are able to get feedback from others on the blogs the students post. Ms. Cassidy uses blogs as an electronic portfolio as documentation of the students progress throughout the year. The students are taught internet etiquette in which they should never say anything mean or degrading. The students are also taught how to protect themselves online by only using their first name and not posting pictures with their name. The students are also introduced to Skype as a mode of communication with others. Ms. Cassidy even allows students to use Nintendo DS in the classroom that help students with reading; however, the DS allowed first graders to use problem solving and learn how to work together.
Dr. Strange's Spring 2011 class interviewed
Ms. Cassidy on Skype. Ms. Cassidy informed the class that she started using technology about ten years ago because she was given five computers. After Ms. Cassidy was given computers, she wanted to make use of the computers; therefore, she researched ways to integrate technology in her classroom. Ms. Cassidy also wrote a grant to buy other software to assist her with changing the way she taught. Technology has allowed first graders to use blogging and networking through the internet. The EDM 310 students were informed from Ms. Cassidy point of view of why teachers should be computer literate. Ms. Cassidy believes every teacher should be computer literate because technology is not going anywhere. She also suggests that teachers should develop their own network and learn different ways to integrate technology in the classroom. Ms. Cassidy also believes that educators should embrace technology and not use the same teaching methods that have worked in previous years. Teachers should use technology today because children lives revolve around technology and is an alternative to lecturing all day. According to Ms. Cassidy, teachers are handicapping students by not incorporating technology in the classroom.
Ms. Cassidy shared some valuable information in both her article and the Skype interview with Dr. Strange's class. I was impressed how children were blogging at first grade and already knew how to create web pages. I wish every teacher would recognize the potential children could have if technology were a part of the classroom. If students blog, then teachers would not have to worry about sending graded papers home every week, instead parents could go to their child's blog to see their progress. Blogs also allow students to reflect on how well their writing has improved throughout the school year without having to keep up with all the paper assignments. At first I could not even think of children as young as first grade being able to blog until reading Ms. Cassidy's blog, watching the Skype interview, and being in EDM 310. Today's society revolves around technology so why not allow children to learn how valuable technology could be in the classroom. However, with everything that I have learned about integrating technology in the classroom, I would have never thought Nintendo DS could be used in the classroom. I had no idea some of the simplest game devices could be used in the classroom. Therefore, there should be no excuse of why teachers cannot incorporate technology in the classroom because almost every child has a kind of hand-held game device. For the children that do not have a Nintendo DS, PSP or other game, school should purchase a set instead of wasting money on textbooks that are hardly ever used in the classroom. Until schools realize the way children were taught in past is not successful for the children today, then nothing will ever change, but it is up to the educators to inform those who do not understand how powerful technology is in the class. Let's not handicap our students, but equip our students for tomorrow.