I have to say that things are going wonderfully for my students and myself over at the middle school! I am having such a great time teaching 7th grade math. Right now we are preparing for the NJ ASK and sticking to the Connected Math as much as possible.
Since this blog is for both my students and my technology class, I think it is appropriate to discuss what kinds of technology I’ve been using in my classroom over the past few weeks. For one, I have been using the Smart Board every single day. Unfortunately, my Smart Board does not entirely function correctly, however, as I cannot write directly on it or touch the screen to make anything work. It is a definite disadvantage, as I have to use the camera for almost everything just like an overhead projector, writing on paper. I have come to find that my students love this, though, and allowing one student per day or per problem to be the “camera person” has been really fun. It is definitely a way to keep them active and engaged.
Along with the Smart Board I have also began to use the Smart Response clickers. The clickers are absolutely awesome as I can use them to quickly assess my students’ responses to things such as Do Now’s. They are still taking up an unnecessary amount of time in class, but I believe this is only because they have been used 4-5 times. I think the students need to get into a routine with them (right, guys??) so they become quicker with using them! I am still learning how to use them really well, too, so changes are being made slowly over time.
Lastly, I have also been using my classroom website to post assignments. It has been mostly used for that, as well as for my students to contact me when they have questions on homework. My only hope is that the students will begin using the forum for homework help MUCH MORE (cough, cough!!!!) because right now nobody is using it all. I really wish I could make it mandatory in some way, but the school’s computers have the feature blocked!
This actually brings me to my concerns about how much is blocked on the school’s computers. I agree with Richardson (2010) when he discusses blocking content and questions how, “Still, wouldn’t it be better to teach students how to deal with less-than-salient content that they see when they get home?” (p. 121). While this is a noble claim, however, I do realize the extreme concern schools have when it comes to filtering what the students can bring up at school, because there definitely is content that is not appropriate.
Please feel free to weigh in on any of this discussion!