First off, let me say, I will overanalyze every word that I publish on this blog. If someone would describe me and my learning, give me my journal and pen and let me go sit in a corner of my classroom and write for ME to reflect. As a I was reading the excerpt from Dr. Dial's blog about Robin Fogarty and Brian Pete’s From Staff Room to Classroom, I kept debating if I was the over-achiever and the omnivore- I have come to the conclusion I am more focused on the input. Let me soak it up and reflect on it for awhile. But I have decided I am taking a giant leap and post my thoughts publicly for the first time to let everyone read about my journey into using uncomfortable technology.
I knew I would be pushed this year by my instructional coach, Terri! Darn it, I was hoping to slide back into my world of studying the best practice of reading and writing- where I feel most comfortable at working with improving my instruction in that safe area. But with Bode having a school improvement plan of professional development in the technology world, I was knocked into enhancing my instruction with those resources.
Safe! A Ning! I love nings and have used them before so I was safe! I used one last year with my class, so I was very comfortable with that resource! I have created groups (reading & writing) within the ning. All of our writing is posted to the ning and it has been a great place to communicate with parents about learning happening on our team!
Safe again! We worked on goggle documents in our staff meeting; I can do that! In fact, I used it the day after, and had students publish their thoughts! I also made a firm decision to use that with our benchmark writing team for the 2nd Unit!
Out! What do you mean??? What is this VoiceThread? Never heard of it! I had made up my mind; I am and will not use this tool! There's too many tools out there and I wanted to get good with one of them before I start on another. Yes, I admit I said that many times to my team members. But of course, with me being a little bit of an overachiever- I crumbled! It was the day before our tech day (we meet with our instructional coach one day a week) to play with and learn about many of the resources the world of www offers and we had an assignment that was starring me in the face. A voicethread! I will try it, I guess! In my writing workshop classroom we were at the point in writing where the students needed models in order to revise their own writings. So I thought how can I make my students play with it and then tell me what their thoughts are. So I threw my models of writing onto voicethread and told the students to PQP (praise, question, and polish) my writing through voicethread. My 3rd hour writing class I learned lots! They were so focused on voicethread and not the task. Boy, and of course, they loved their voice and loved playing with the pencil and scribbling all over it. But it was their first time applying the tool in the workshop classroom. I had not done my job as an educator in making sure to model the expectations associated with using this powerful tool! But learning through my students, the tools were there! I had only tapped the surface of this door opening resource. My next hour writing class I did things much differently. I showed them the models of writing without voicethread- first! Then I said I wanted them to share with me via voicethread. A HOMERUN! My student's responses grew in quality! Loved it and every student had a voice either through typing or an actual voice!
I thought hard that night about the aspect of using it during conferences with students about their reading and writing! So I had them upload their writing and I conferenced with them via voicethread. Check it out here and here. I was conferencing so much faster outside the classroom walls and immediate feedback was given to my students so they could revise. Loved it and they loved it! Every student has a voice and it is made public for everyone to learn from no longer in a closed notebook. Or that" eager beaver" who wants to conference with me now has the opportunity to get feedback beyond the classroom walls! Discussions about mood and the impact of words on mood is taking place outside the classroom! Check this out!
I can't tell you how much the "reach of learning" has been expanded because of voicethread! Like I said, I know I am just tapping the surface with this tool! I would love for other teachers to help me reflect at going to a deeper level. Thanks for pushing me into an uncomfortable arena!