As you know, I have embraced the possibilities of Web 2.0 technologies even though I am what is known as a “digital dinosaur” according to my age (*). I used to make fun of my advancing years by joking with students that I was in the classroom when “dinosaurs roamed the earth.” My students, most of them, anyway, are in their 20s and 30s. They sort of laugh nervously when I make this joke. I’m beginning to believe they might actually visualize me roaming the plains with velociraptors, so I’ve quit making this joke. This decision was further cemented when I saw the following YouTube segment.
In Literacy Beat, we have talked before about how teaching content literacy to secondary teacher candidates is a challenge for literacy researchers and educators, as students come from all disciplines to take this one required literacy methods course. This summer I taught two sections of this class for the California State University, and, as usual, I wanted to try something new with—and for—my students. In prior years, I asked students to make audio podcasts (see https://literacybeat.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/podcasting-to-teach-content-literacy/ ).
As I am also insatiably curious, I like to study my own teaching—after all, I need to walk the talk, too—so I’ve done a little research on what this summer’s secondary teacher candidates felt about technology and teaching. I’m also curious about what technologies they learn from their teacher preparation program, other than in their stand-alone educational technology course. For now, let me share with you some of the ePosters they created.
This summer almost 50 secondary teacher candidates in my classes wrote a lesson plan using a literacy strategy relevant to their content, but they also made an e-Poster (they could choose either a Glog or a Prezi) that supplemented, extended, or became a part of their lesson plan. First, I made a Glog and a Prezi to show students. I figured if I can do it, anyone can. The Glog was pretty easy, but the Prezi took a little longer. I showed both to the students and gave them their choice of which to use. Prezi on Martina (http://prezi.com/qf7guf6milsq/martina/ and Glog on the WORD conference 2011 (http://dgrisham.glogster.com/site2011/)
Every single student was able to do the ePoster, mostly without complaint! Then came the good part! They posted their lesson plans and e-Posters to Blackboard and responded to each other’s work. As usual, I am impressed by the people who choose to go into teaching! No, they didn’t all like the assignment, but many did and they were also able to recognize the possibilities for their grades 6-12 students to use media creatively!
I’d like to share their work with other teachers and they’ve all given me permission to do so.
Best of the Prezis and Glogs by content area:
Prezis were in the minority as many students found the Glogster site easier to use (13 total of 47 ePosters). The Glogs are much easier to do, but sometimes harder to access through linking. Here are several that you might find interesting.
Thoughts on ePosters
Many students commented on the relevance of using technology in their content areas. They analyzed each other’s work and a number of them praised their colleagues for the ePosters they had done. Here is a brief example:
“The video you attached to your glog, alongside the differentiation between the first and third person narrative, is truly an efficient way of supplementing classroom learning in regards to this specific lesson plan. I will be sure to look further into this “Zoom” book you have mentioned and utilized so effortlessly in an academic manner. In regards to using this book in correspondence with the California English/Language Arts Standards, “Zoom” seems to be extremely intriguing, very useful, and incredibly original. Great lesson plan!”
However, some students did not see the relevance very clearly. I’d like to leave you with an honest comment that I found both poignant and hopeful. Poignant because it still appears very teacher centered. No matter how often or intensely we discussed the necessity of focusing on their students’ learning more than on themselves as teachers, it was difficult for some students to “decenter themselves.” Perhaps it is because they lack experience, but I fear it is because some teacher candidates did not get the basic message that teaching (no matter how skilled) does not equal learning. The hopeful part of this message is that the student is still thinking about the topic.
“But my point is that I am not sure if you can really use much technology in your classroom. Maybe you could use it more by having kids look at stuff online when they are home. So using a prezi or glog might still work, but more as a study aid or a way to present things for the students to look over outside of class. I think this lack of a need for technology might be a good thing. I think many teachers use it as a way to trick students into being interested in boring lessons, except technology for students isn’t some fascinating new thing, they use it everyday, so to really interest students the lesson itself needs to be interesting. This is more of something for me to think about – only using technology when it is legitimately useful and adds to the lesson, not just using it because it is there.”
(*) He who shall not be named! First, I’m a digital immigrant, which is bad enough; now I’m a digital dinosaur. You all know who I’m talking about.
Filed under: teacher education |