How has taking InTech changed the way I teach? Well, I took it six years ago, so I had to think about this for a while. I guess the fact that I had to consider it for a bit says something about how much a part of my life and my teaching technology has become.
At the time I took InTech I, I felt that I was already quite comfortable using technology in the classroom. I had a desire and an interest in using it more, what I needed were ideas. I wasn’t sure how to get twenty-eight students on two computers. I also wasn’t sure what type of programs to use and how to make the assignments creative and interesting. I had more to learn than I thought at first.
The first thing that I learned was that there was a difference in my using technology to teach, and the students using it to learn. I was using technology to prepare lessons, communicate with parents, and disseminate information to my students. However, I did not create lessons that required/allowed my students to use technology to gain new information or create a product. I also was not using technology to assess what they had learned. Thankfully, I figured out how to do all of that, and more.
One of the programs I learned about and that I use the most is Trackstar. In fact, I have really come to depend on it for my unit on historical fiction. Each year I teach a novel entitled, Fever, 1793. The book is about the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia in the year 1793. My sixth grade students know NOTHING about this time period or this disease. In order to prepare them for the book, they complete an internet research project. In order to keep them focused and safe online, I use Trackstar. I love the way I can link only the sites that I want the children to visit. It ...
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...d exactly what the criteria will be, but we are studying Pakistan and reading Three Cups of Tea. It seems like a great time to have them create a lesson of their own to share with their class.
Overall, InTech and InTech II got my creative juices flowing. No, I haven’t done it all or figured out how to implement every idea I’ve had. I’m still having trouble figuring out how to get each student enough time on the computer. Thanks to InTech, I am motivated and knowledgeable enough to figure it out. I have come a long way from where I was. Each year I add another technology dimension to my lessons and assignments. I will continue to experiment and try new things because it keeps me interested in what I am doing and makes my students more interested in what they are doing. The possibilities are endless…I just need more time (and maybe another machine or two).