I'm taking a Web 2.0 class this week. Eight hours a day for four days. After one day, it's kicking my butt. My mind is spinning like a top, and I love it. Really, when I signed up to take the class, I thought it might be a "throw-away" class. You know, the ones you take that are incredibly easy, don't require much brain power, but get you those credits to renew your license. I should have known better, though, considering who is teaching the class!
The class is a nice mix of grade levels, abilities, ages, experience teaching and reasons for taking the class ("I need the credit so I can renew my license for the last time" received applause!). It is full of ideas and resources needed to teach students in the 21st century. And full of questions. And full of problems. Some questions and problems we won't be able to solve, but they make for great discussions.
A question/problem posed by an elementary teacher today was how do we justify using these tools when we are in danger of being a school in need of assistance? Shouldn't we focus on teaching reading skills, writing skills, and test taking skills? Admittedly, this teacher does not use a lot of technology in her classroom. By her own admission, she is old school, and it is hard for her to visualize how to use these tools in her room other than "games" for those who finish early.
This is where the varied levels of experience comes in handy--another teacher showed her projects created by third graders in her district. All those "testing" skills, yet students applied them to what they were learning instead of learning them in isolation. And isn't that the point of teaching 21st century skills?
I, however, see too many possibilities and that's why my mind is on overload. My main goal is to create a paperless Creative Writing class. Can I do it? I have the tools (check out dropbox.com), but can I give up the paper and pen that has traditionally gone with being a writing teacher--or will this be another step on my way to becoming a teacher of writers?