February 1, 2011

Using Technology in the Classroom

OK, I'll admit it. I don't really "get" blogs. My cousin has been blogging for years and I always feel like I'm spying on her when I read it. Anyone else feel this way? No? Just me, then? Well fine, I might as well jump on the blog bandwagon. Another confession - there is one blog I follow with some regularity (translation: every day). It's really more of a photo blog than a word blog, which is probably why I love it so much. I am a visual learner to a fault. Because I know you're curious now, the blog is: Better After. It has absolutely nothing to do with technology in the classroom, although someone has probably posted before and after photos of a classroom makeover or even a laptop makeover.

Speaking of technology in the classroom, it's something that is exciting to me as a parent, a school board member, and a future teacher. I think a lot of people don't really "get" the idea behind technology in the classroom. But we can't continue to teach the same way we've taught for years - we have to find a better way to connect to the students who are immersed in technology. Obviously, that's the purpose of my Educational Technology & Design class, and probably the reason most of you are reading this blog in the first place! How we go about doing that is going to be the challenge, but I think it's also going to be a lot of fun. I have always been comfortable using technology, although because of my age, I am considered a digital immigrant. Boo hoo.

There seem to be some great educational blogs, and today I found  Mathew Needleman's blog, Creating Lifelong Learners. Mr. Needleman gives ideas for integrating technology into the classroom. A really cool application that he has developed is the fluency timer. Fluency is the ability to read text with speed, accuracy and proper expression. The fluency timer times and records students doing their readings. Students can then listen to themselves and hear what mistakes they might have made. It can also be played back for parents, teachers, administrators - what a great assessment tool! Something that can probably be very boring for a student has now been turned into sort of a fun game. How's that for finding a way to connect with the digital natives? Not bad, I think. Throw that in your bag of tricks when you become a teacher; your students will love you for it.

Image used with permission from Pics4Learning


  1. Hey Stacie!
    It's nice to meet you! You say you get blogs but you seem to be a natural! It's nice to see that other schools are doing similar types of projects; I think it will be really interested to put this all to use in our own classrooms one day! Good luck this semester!

  2. While computers in the classroom have some benefit, I find that the cost to support them impacts budgets so much, that programs like gym, music and art suffers. There is little of computer applications that kids learn now that will benefit them in the future. All those of us who learned Fortran, Pascal and other languages in the 80's never use them as interfaces are so user friendly.

    Kids are better off learning how to become critical thinkers, empathetic world citizens and whole human beings rather than how to create a PowerPoint presentation.

    Jeez, I got up on a soap box there didn't I?

  3. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your mention of Fluency Timer.

    @Trooper, Working in schools, I don't find that computers and art are either/propositions. Unfortunately, many of my Title I students do not have computers at home and without having access to the technology and research possibilities provided by the internet, those students are at a huge disadvantage without having access to computers in school.

    None of the programs I learned in school are in use now either. However, without having access at an early age I would not feel as comfortable as I do today in designing web pages, blogging, and creating my own iPhone apps.