As I’ve researched and reviewed various digital tools that can be used in the classroom, I’ve realize how engaging they can be – not only for the students, but also for the teacher. I started to get excited thinking about ways that I could use various tools in my classroom, and often the excitement of the teacher will impact the students’ level of excitement and interest. However, one word of caution I’ve heard from different teachers is to not allow technology to get in the way of teaching. If the technology does not enhance the lesson or if it detracts from the learning experience, it is best not to use that particular tool. I spoke with my mentor teacher about this and she was showing me some of the different tools she has in her classroom. The school in which she teaches is brand new and therefore has all the latest technology. While most of the technology she was excited about, she stated that the Promethean board is more of a hindrance than a help to her lessons. She finds the board cumbersome and difficult to use. My mentor said that she does not use it because when she did, it ended up just getting in the way of learning. However, many of the other technological tools in her classroom she has found to be very helpful. She also showed me some resources online for where to find instructional videos or digital stories and audio. Because of this course, I was even more interested to find out what tools teachers actually use in their classroom. I’m looking forward to actually observing how teachers use these tools in “live” classes after having studying them in this course.
The one other big idea that stood out to me from reviewing web 2.0 tools, is that while some websites or digital tools are not necessarily designed for educational purposes, they can still be used for such. I realized that it is important for me to think outside of the box and be creative with how to use online resources and how to “spice up” my lessons. So many of the websites I checked out could be used in so many different ways. Variety in how information is presented is often key to keeping the students interested in engaged. Through this assignment I have learned about many different types of tools to use that will enhance my lessons and engage my students. As long as I keep using my creativity and do not become stagnant in my use and understanding of technology, I believe that I could make a real difference in the level of excitement and interest my students have in learning.