What Can We Learn From Mrs. Cassidy?
In the first video, we were invited into Mrs. Cassidy's first grade class to see what they are doing. It was amazing to see all of these first graders using technology in such a proficient way to learn. We can see the students using blogs to write, Skype to be able to talk to other classes and experts, and wikis to help them collaborate ideas to help them learn. Mrs. Cassidy uses the technology differently depending on the class for the year. For example, this particular year she had a small class. This allowed the students time to blog at least once if not twice a week. In previous years, with larger classes, Mrs. Cassidy used the computers as a station while she worked with other students. Mrs. Cassidy further explains how useful blogging is for the students in the first part of her interview with Dr. Strange. She tells of how students are more excited to write on a blog than to just write a paper to a teacher. This excitement comes from the fact that the students will have an audience for what they have written.
While blogging is a great way to improve the student's writing, it is not the only use of technology in Mrs. Cassidy's classroom. She also uses a classroom webpage which gives the students a central place to go to find other programs and games that will help them effectively learn. Mrs. Cassidy also allows the students to use wikis. The wikis allow others to present their ideas about a topic. The students can than use the information to learn from.
For my classroom, I think using Mrs. Cassidy's idea of blogging would be really useful. I agree with her that the benefits from the students writing this way are great. It will allow my students to take an engaged approach to their writing since they know they will have that worldwide audience watching them. Also like Mrs. Cassidy said, I think the parents will appreciate this approach. They will be able to view their student's works online. I think the challenge will be making sure students are respectful of each other. Talking to them ahead of time on how to appropriately respond to other blogs, much like Mrs. Cassidy discussed, is important.
I would also use a class blog to communicate with students and their parents. I found the tip Mrs. Cassidy gave in the third part of her interview very useful. She suggested to an EDM310 student that even PE teachers could beneift from a class blog. This blog would be a place where students could go to get updated information about class assignments and upcoming events.