Back to school (Imagine Adam Sandler singing it)
Back to school. Here we go. The I’m going back to school assignment… The only difference between this assignment and every other back to school assignment done in the world is that I am the teacher and I gave myself the assignment this time. This isn’t going to be the what I did this summer blog. Instead it’s going to be the what I have to look forward to this school year blog.
This year Mr. Nick Gordon, a physical education teacher from Wales, and I are going to be working together to create a new and unique learning opportunity for our students. We are going to encourage our children to connect with peers on another continent. The way we will do this is by utilizing every avenue of technology that we can get a hold of for free. Our students will range from 11 to 13 years of age.
We will start out by writing a blog and posting it on our own website for both schools to see. This will be a nice preview for our students to understand why they will be blogging. Mr. Gordon and myself will be using Kidblog and requiring that our students post at least one blog to their counterparts across the pond. If anyone needs to understand why blogging is so important for children I beg you to read Pernille Ripp’s blog. Our collaboration with Wales will knock her 6th point right out of the water!!
After that we will be using Edmodo to allow our students to have 24 hour access to each other under the watchful eyes of the “The Men”. This will help our students create closer relationships as well as allow them to foster friendships on their own. Edmodo gives us the ability to push out assignments or links as well.
If things haven’t gotten techy enough for you just wait one moment!! Twitter and Youtube will allow the students to post pictures and videos for the other class to access instantly. This is where the students will take true ownership of their learning. This is common in their world. They post pictures and videos of themselves online every day. Why wouldn’t we encourage them to take pictures and videos of themselves during their mastery of education?
This will be our first real year collaborating with Mr. Gordon’s class. I am filled with excitement and awe at the things we can accomplish. What ideas will my students come up with themselves? Will they want to learn about the Welsh people and customs? Will our students be motivated to work harder in class because they know that their effort will be seen by people across the world? Will this be the way education works in the future or will it be a huge distraction that takes all our time and energy but ends up falling flat?
The opportunity that my students have this year will be unlike they have ever had before. They will be using technology to learn not learning to use technology. There will be an opportunity to realize that there is an entire world out there and our little town is just one part of it. Real, meaningful, authentic learning can and should be accomplished this year. Mr. Gordon and I are making the jump of faith that this will be an adventure worth taking this year. After all if we aren’t growing as teachers we are dying.
If you are still reading this that last line was a little melodramatic I know. If you are a Springfield 6th grader please continue reading. If you are not our short journey together is over. I thank you for your time. Springfield students please post a reaction to this blog by clicking on the comment box below the blog.