I've already learned so much more by reading and commenting on all of the incredible thinking people shared last week from the first two chapters! If you haven't already visited our Google Community, you will definitely want to head over there and take some time to drink it all in!
And don't miss out on...
Week of 7/20 - Reflecting on chapters 6 & 7
Week of 7/27 - Wrap-up Twitter chat
I appreciated Franki's story about creating a book trailer and how it is so very easy for us to become wrapped up in the tools. So often, we hear, "It's not about the technology." While I wholeheartedly agree, I also wholeheartedly disagree. It's not about the technology, but it is about the technology. It's not about using technology in a lesson just for the sake of using it, but it is about using the technology in authentic, purposeful ways. So much of what I read in chapter three supports this idea; we are charged with introducing kids to new tools and how those tools might support/enhance their learning, thinking, and understanding. The questions on page 30 are ones I've pondered heavily. This concept of authenticity married with choice is absolutely crucial for learners today.
During a very eye-opening, honest conversation with my 4th graders back in May, they were sharing with me the apps and tools they use to interact with friends outside of school.
|My 4th graders are definitely connecting digitally!|
Reading about intentionality in chapter four gave me so much to ponder. It also made me go back to the wise words of my friend Kristin Ziemke who advocates for learning a couple of really good tech tools and and using them well. This also helps to put the emphasis back on the learning rather than the novelty of the tools we're using. When introducing new concepts, tools, or ways of learning digitally, I have to remain vigilant about the WHY.
The descriptions of intentionality on page 48 really stood out to me. Isn't it so important for us, as teachers, to open the doors to the possible for kids and then step out of the doorway so they can make choices and figure things out for themselves?
Reading chapter five, I was contemplating how I've connected my kids in the past. How was I breaking down our classroom walls? Both in first and fourth grade, I created opportunities (mostly through my Twitter connections) for kids to interact on a more global level. We've blogged, interacted through our class Twitter account, have participated in Mystery Skypes, used a backchannel chat on Todays Meet to discuss a book, and made video calls to authors. But the more I pondered, the more I realized it's always been very "episodic" (as Franki and Bill called it!) Part of my goal this year is going to be to continue to find ways to weave these experiences more authentically into our learning and into our daily school lives. Again, I think if I keep my own connected life in mind, it will help me be even better at making sure I'm providing the same opportunities for my kids. I'm positive my Twitter friends will be an enormous help and inspiration for this goal!
Authenticity, intentionality, and connectedness will definitely be at the forefront of my mind as I continue to plan and ponder learning opportunities for my fourth graders!
"We believe strongly that if we create classrooms where reading is authentic, where students are connected to one another and to the world, and where students make intentional decisions as readers, we have created environments in which readers in the digital age can thrive." (p.86)