I just finished teaching EDU 601.Â It’s a graduate ed. tech class I teach at Creighton University and it’s consumed the majority of my non-family time the last month.Â This is the second summer I’ve taught the course and I find it to be a wonderful learning experience for myself and very rewarding to work with fellow teachers and teacher-to-be.Â There were a number of changes to this years class, but the goals remain the same.
In three weeks (3 hours each day), we work to accomplish three main goals:
1. Build a toolbox of tech applications and strategies to use in the classroom.
2. Implement the tools and strategies by teaching a lesson and adjusting to unforeseen complications.
3. Establish a PLN to continue learning and adjusting to an ever changing educational landscape.
The first week of class is a very fast paced. We look at a lot of different apps (see the list), but I never show an app without an actual example of how it has been used in the
classroom by my students or in other schools.Â One of the most important first week changes I made from last summer was introducing Delicious as part of the opening activity for the class.Â Last year, I didn’t introduce Delicious until the third day and students were losing track of everything we covered.Â This year, I had students tag themselves – literally (a get to know you activity), and that led into how to use Delicious.Â It made a huge difference.Â From there we moved into Google Docs and some common errors teachers (see student sample) make using technology. The highlight of the week was on Wednesday when I had some of my middle school students come in to show the graduate students how to use Prezi, Diigo, and Glogster (tools we use regularly in my room).Â Near the end of the week I used blockposters.com to create a huge poster of a picture I made.Â The theme of the poster was all about brickiness and contained Wordles of student ideas for brick uses and many of the sites/ideas that we covered during the week (see above).
The second week of the class was all about teaching (the video below is a compilation of the students/teachers in the class made with the youtube video editor).Â We started off the week with a work day and I had one of my local edutech friends Barb (@BarbInNebraska) join the class and provide some more help and ideas, particularly for those in the elementary track.
The rest of the week was run by the students, who created/taught a tech infused lesson, hosting their content on the class wiki.Â During the lesson, the audience assumed the role of whatever grade level/class the teacher was teaching.Â At some point, in each lesson, I threw a wrench in the works that the teacher had to adjust too (students on bad website, internet goes down, general unruliness, can’t figure it out).Â It usually started small, but the ‘students’ really grew into their roles and the teachers had to be on their toes.Â I recorded each lesson and the students reflected on it and peer feedback submitted via google forms.Â You can view them on my YouTube channel here.
During the final week of class we covered a range of topics from student use contracts and copyright to establishing a Personal Learning Network.Â We also got to play with some mobile devices (iPods) and discuss how they can by used in the classroom.Â On the final Wednesday, I was very fortunate to have Kevin H Skype into our class to discuss his views on the role of technology in education.Â Kevin is one of my favorite bloggers and does great work with web-comics and stop-motion movies.Â It was a great conversation and helped to drive home the value of a PLN.Â Earlier in the week I’d made a starter bundle of blogs for the class (I showed them how to add a subscription with Kevin’s blog) and the students were somewhat amazed at how easy it was to connect with other educators.Â Last year, I didn’t bring in any outside speakers into the class and regretted it.Â Bringing in the extra people added a lot to the class and I plan to continue it in the future.
Class ended this past Friday and I felt satisfied with the whole effort.Â Students left the class with a stuffed toolbox and created a website (see list) where they can host all the new things they and their students create (student reflection sample).Â They’ve also got a grant written that they can submit during the year to add some more tools to their classroom.Â Finally, we all have a new group of colleagues to collaborate with in the future. It was a lot of fun.