Little Kids...Big Potential
Ms. Cassidy and her personal YouTube video, I had the honor to learn about her first grade students. In Ms. Cassidy's Skype interview with Dr. Strange, she explained to our EDM 310 class that she started incorporating technology heavily into her classroom when she first received five computers. She now has a computer for each student. Of course, Ms. Cassidy teaches in Canada, so I am not quite aware of what kind of financial resources she is given from her country. In America, it would be hard to find a public school system that had a computer for every student in every classroom. However, we do have computer labs in almost every school. Some even have two. With that being said, I do not believe that ANY teacher in The United States has an excuse not to incorporate technology into their classroom.
Today we live in a technological literate world, and Ms. Cassidy pursues this life style to the fullest in her classroom. While listening to her interview and watching her own YouTube video, I learned of the many different resources that she incorporates into her teaching. First of all, she has each of her students create their own blog. By using a blog, the students are required to not only know how to use proper grammar but type it as well. I believe this is a fabulous idea. Not only does it teach the students how to type, but using blogs illuminates the extra use of paper. This is a very economical resource because our world is trying to illuminate pollution by saving paper.
Now, Ms. Cassidy knows that blogging has its cons. Her biggest rule is that her children are not allowed to use their last names in the blogs, only their first name. This helps to prevent unwanted creepers from invading the students personal lives. We all know their are predators out there, but with the right instruction we can teach students how to avoid future conflicts with strangers.
Another form of technology that Ms. Cassidy uses in her classroom is a webpage. She created a class webpage with links to educational websites for her students to use. Each link is represented by the name of the website and a picture. These links allow her students to research and learn new ideas daily. I believe her webpage is a very good resource because it allows the students to search the web freely, but by adding her own links, she shows them what an educational resource is. This way when her students search the web on their own, they know the difference between a "good" website and a "bad" website.
Her students also use Wiki. A previous EDM 310 class actually had hands-on experience with Ms. Cassidy's class through Wiki. When Ms. Cassidy's class created their own Wiki about the alphabet, EDM 310 students made videos in response to help her class to have fun while learning. Ms. Cassidy's class uses the Wiki to explore other cultures as well. They study the different traditions and rituals that other people devote time to.
Ms. Cassidy's class learns to create their own videos and how to use Skype. The students often get into groups to create videos based on what they have recently learned or are learning. This to me is a good way to evaluate the student's mastery of a particular subject. Creating videos can also be a way to incorporate the arts because teachers could require their students to create a song and record it or design a short skit that demonstrates or pertains to what they learned.
The students use Skype to talk with different students around the world. I can't begin to imagine how mind blowing this must be to experience as a child. We didn't even have personal cell phones as children when I grew up. Now kids are getting iPhones at the age of 6! Ms. Cassidy's class uses Skype for other educational purposes as well. Ms. Cassidy teaches her students how to Skype with "experts". By Skyping with experts, the students can ask questions that pertain to whatever each expert emphasizes in.
Another interesting resource the Ms. Cassidy's first grade class uses is the Nintendo DS. Her students are allowed to play a game called "NintenDog". This game teaches the students responsibility because they have to take care of their dog. Throughout the game, the student must solve obstacles that they come across. In order to conquer these task they have to solve math problems.
Over all, Ms. Cassidy shows future teachers what it really means to be technologically literate. She is very good role model of what a true 21st century teacher looks like. She lives and breathes technology in her classroom. I hope to one day be as good of a teacher as she is!