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My 4th grade students will be working on our school's annual Shabbat Around the World Project. Student groups will be assigned a country to research. They are using the internet and books to find out more information on the Jews from that country. How did they get there, what are their traditions, what kinds of foods do they eat, what are their customs, in what ways they like us, in what ways do we differ? Students create an audio/visual presentation for parents and friends during a special evening assembly. This year, we would like to find Jewish Day Schools or Jewish Organizations around the globe for our students to use as a primary resource. We are hoping to create a relationship with this group with whom we can Skype or e-mail. I am hoping that the partnering group will reciprocate the project by learning about the customs of American Jews so our students can provide information by acting as experts. I think this a great opportunity for Jews around the globe to get to know each other and learn together.
The project will begin in September of 2012.
Please contact me if you are interested in participating.
Twitter @jbhaze #shabbataroundworld
This has been a really exciting semester because not only was this my first time taking a class online but this class happened to be on my most favorite topic. I absolutely love the internet. Since I am a technology teacher, the internet is at the core of the majority of my lessons. I created my classroom curriculum from my own research and felt so validated that almost all of the topics I address with my own students were the same as those highlighted in this course. Now that I have read additional articles and have been exposed to more information, I can tweak many of my own lessons to incorporate new findings, peer commentary and suggested websites. I enjoyed all the projects in this course: creating the website, the blog, the web quest, and especially the digital story. By working on these projects I have so much more insight in to what my students go through in creating projects for my class. I realized that in some cases there are better ways to present my lessons. For example, by using Zunal to create my web quest, it forced me to include so much more background information and to set up my web quest in a much more dynamic format that I will most likely use again. The digital story took so much more preparation and time than I had expected. I will make sure to create small steps and deadlines when doing this type of project with my own students. The blog was an excellent way for me to record some of my thoughts and findings throughout the course of the semester. I have used blogging with my own students and can now better understand why they love it so much.
I think this is an exciting time to be a teacher. The internet is changing the face of education and our image of what a classroom should look like. Preparing students (ages 8, 28, 38, or 48) by opening up the possibilities of the internet will only enhance the learning experience. I plan to be a perpetual student when it comes to the internet and technology. The best way to learn is to surround yourself with excellent resources. I have many of those listed on my blog but most recently I found, much like Ormiston, the best resource is building a professional network through social media, mainly Twitter. As she says at the end of her book, “The tools will change but after experiencing the power of using social media for collaborative professional learning, I will always value and stay connected to a network of like-minded educators.” (pp.110-111, Ormiston.) With that, I invite all of you to join my professional network @ssdsjbhaze on Twitter. The best example of how my learning style has changed is after reading Ormiston boast about her love for Twitter, I did what any 21st Century Learner would do, I opened my Twitter account and followed her immediately. Now I am part of her network without her ever meeting me, I can pick her brain for new ideas and see who she values in the Twitter Universe. Her teachings will continue beyond just her text. That's the magic of the internet!
What is the future of the internet? Well, for one thing, it definitely isn't going anywhere. I agree with the article "The Future of the Internet III". I think it is pretty obvious that the internet is becoming more and more mobile and intertwined in every aspect of our lives. I think the internet will make us all the more connected with each other but at the same time has the potential to isolate us from actual face to face interactions. The internet has made finding new information extremely easy and accessible but that same ease has made many students too impatient when seeking the information. The internet has the potential to link us globally and open our eyes to new ideas, people, and experiences around the world. I think the potential for the internet is endless. As with any new technology, some people will always be hopeful while others will maintain that it was "better in the old days". The world is constantly changing and the internet will change with it. I also read the article “Millenials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives” by Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie. This article claims that since children will grow up in a world that has always had the internet, their brains will be wired differently. Millenials “will be nimble, quick-acting multitaskers who will do well in key respects.” However, the same things that may make them “quick-acting multitaskers” can also “drive them to thirst for instant gratification, settle for quick choices, and lack patience.”
I am in complete agreement with the epilogue of our book, "Creating A Digital Rich Classroom" by Meg Ormiston. “Successful teachers in the future will be mashup masters.” (p. 109, Ormiston.) As educators, we will no longer be ruled by the text book. With the internet we are privy to news minutes after it happens. Why would we rely on a textbook that will probably have outdated material in it just hours after it is printed? For example, the book for this class, although printed in 2011, already has outdated information in it. Also, with the unlimited resources made possible by the internet, why should we limit our teaching to just reading a textbook? What about You Tube videos for, Skyping knowledgeable experts to get answers, or blogging for a global voice? It is the successful “mashup” of resources that will create challenging, “real-world” learning environments. Teachers must be internet savvy to not only collect the resources but, more importantly guide the students in finding their own resources. “Students need to own the learning” - Heidi Hayes Jacobs (see her amazing keynote at edjewcon)
Call me an optimist but I am hopeful. I think that the next generation will have a better understanding of how to properly use the internet for good instead of evil. Once the educators include the internet into a school environment and treat it as more than a digital encyclopedia, the next generation of internet users will evolve. I believe that incorporating the internet into the curriculum and using it in a more meaningful way will aid in the evolution of internet users. They will learn that with instant answers, come more questions. Is this a reliable source? Can I delve deeper? Can I find a real-world example? Can I find someone to interview for current information? How can I reach a global audience with my thoughts? We need to lead by example and help our students get the best our of the internet and use the internet to get the best work out of them.
Our Kindergarten students went on an Alphabet Scavenger Hunt around our school. They were on the hunt for items that started with each letter of the alphabet. They "collected" their items by taking pictures with the digital camera. They also created the letters using their bodies. I put the images to music and here is the final product:
The 8th grade students are studying the Civil War. They were required to create a facebook page in Power Point that documented one historical figure that was influential during that time.
It was love at first sight...literally. There was something about Pinterest that just spoke to me. I am such a visual person and finally I found a site that spoke my language. I was addicted immediately! I was following my friends, posting recipes, art inspiration, cute clothing and I was having a great time doing so. Then suddenly something happened that blew my mind. I attended edjewcon and there was a workshop on using Pinterest to organize your classroom ideas. BRILLIANT! That totally makes sense!!! Of course!! If you don't believe me, check out the teacher who ran the workshop. Her Pinterest boards are immaculate and organized and amazing. I am now in the process of disassembling all my cute doodle boards and funny saying boards in order to create digital storytelling boards and global learning boards. So excited!!