I know that I’m catching on to this whole web 2.0 phenomenon a bit late, but I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities it holds for my classroom, and my life. I just finished Will Richardson’s book (so much to learn!) and I was so inspired (and awed) by the epilogue, that I want to do everything. Now. The only problem is, I’m not quite sure where to start…

A few weeks ago, I read Vicki Davis’ post about the power of newbies, which inspired me to write more about each step I learn as I go along. For a while there I was feeling so far behind that I didn’t want to demonstrate my “late-adopter-ness” by posting things that everyone knows already. And then I found this post, which made me realize that there are so many other teachers out there, just like me, that want to jump in feet first, but are just as overwhealmed. And I realized, we all have to try together. Post what we’ve learned, share what we try, and build on what we’ve read elsewhere. There’s no place else to go but up.

With that positive thought in my mind, I figure I should write down all the things I’d like to try to do in the coming months:

First stop: Wikis

It seems like the next natural step after blogging and something that other teachers in my school might be interested in doing. Plus, since this is an edublogs account, I have a free wikispace already set up. I’m thinking I will use that space to create an online classroom for the middle school IT classes I teach (despite the fact that I spent ages last year making this wonderful middle school IT website, which needs to be password protected because of the student work posted there).

Also, since the Social Studies Meets IT blog also has an attached wikispaces account, I’m hoping that Peggy and I can start using that as well.

Since it always helps me to test out new tools before I share them with the students, I am going to test this out right now. Any advice?

Next up: Flickr

I’ve been looking at photos on Flickr for ages, never did I realize all the implications for educational use until I read the Flickr chapter in Will’s book. Talk about an eye-opener! I would love to get started using Flickr in English lessons by having our students write some “Flicktion” (Richardson pg. 109). I love the idea of using images to inspire creative writing. And I love the idea of using Flickr for math, or geography, and of course, art! I’m realizing now that the possibilities are endless!

After that: Podcasting

Our school is just about to invest in some extensive IT equipment – MacBooks, to be specific. I’m so anxious to get those laptops so we can start creating podcasts about what we’re learning. I’m thinking that our middle school online newspaper could add an audio, or even video, section. Or our social studies integration class could podcast about what they did that week. And if I was really on the ball, I could set up an RSS feed for the parents so they could listen whenever anything new is posted.

See, if I just get thinking about how all these things are interconnected, and how many things I should be implementing right now, I find myself overwhelmed. How do you start? How do the amazing edtech gurus out there learn about all this new stuff and incorporate it into their daily routine? Help!

2 thoughts on “Overwhelmed

  1. Kim, I don’t know that it so much matters where you start. Just keep these things in mind…
    1. It takes three years to get most new ventures really solid. The second year is better, but the third year is golden. Multiply this by 3 if you are trying to move an entire school in a new direction instead of just yourself. (And so, be patient with yourself.)

    2. Start small so that you don’t have to fix each mistake 32 times (as in, for each of your 32 classes.

    3. Keep it simple until the kids make it complex. I’ve seen too many tech projects on which the teachers did most of the learning (and most of the work) because the project was too big and too complex for the students. The final product looked great because the teacher did good work. On the flip side, I’ve seen great things happen when a few students ran with an idea. They showed up before school, after school, during recess because they were caught up in what they were doing. I don’t make them keep it simple :)

    4. Start with one really enthusiastic teacher. Again and again, I’ve found that one excited classroom teacher who had a good success with a new technology has far more power to get other teachersson board than you will ever have as the tech specialist.

    5. If possible, keep on adding things in for your pilot class. What I find is that once they have an understanding of blogging, adding wikis or Moodle or something else doesn’t take as much start up time. I found that each new thing I added (within reason) required less start up time than the next. It doesn’t sound equitable, but remember that this is a pilot and that you’ll be using what you learn to involve more classes at a later time.

    6. There isn’t time to fully document what you are doing. The two most important things to try to write down are your sequence (e.g. week 1 we showed the kids the blogs, set up the accounts and got everyone logged in), and to keep a notebook that is just a list of what to change for next year. It doesn’t need to be pretty or organized. It just needs to be ONE place to track all those Ahas! of how you should do it differently next time. — And DON’T wait to do it all at the end of the unit. You will have forgotten half of it, and you’ll be too busy gearing up for the next unit to write.

  2. Kim-
    Great post, and you are way ahead of me! I think to start my students I am going to begin with Bloglines accounts, and go from there. I have not yet read the section on Flickr. But look forward to finding ways of using all those pictures.

    I look forward to hearing more about your wiki, please keep me posted.


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