It goes without saying my stress was not a small matter. The topic for my paper was familiar, but my composition of the task felt foreign. After drafting only a few pages of what eventually became a 37 page paper, I was in need of more confidence and some old fashion hope. Both things came to me in the form of an invitation to participate in the February 21st Selma to Montgomery Voters Rights March bike ride.
The invitation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historical march and assault at Edmund Pettus Bridge came from a friend. My friend is a longtime member of a renown cyclist club in Atlanta, called MACC (The Metro Atlanta Cycling Club). Since most of my weekend seat time is spent in the KSU Sturgis Library, and not on my bike, I initially declined the invitation to celebrate Black History Month with the group. A few days later, the date of the event got my attention; it was the same weekend that my exam was due. That coincidence settled it. I didn’t register to ride, but I did register to be a volunteer. I was assigned photographer, and helped to digitally document the event. I cannot express the hope I felt standing on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
I spend most of Saturday morning walking around Selma taking photographs of cyclists from all over the country. I will not know the fate of my exams until next week, but that morning my confidence for my journey returned to me.
Closing out this term mentally exhausted. My Internet resources have increased along with my use of web tools. I have gained needed technology skills from this learning experience, and this was well worth the spent cerebral energy. More digitally organized than ever before, I am looking forward to taking time to better structure my newly in place online resources to enhance the reflection of my practice profile. I plan to focus on building my use of Diigo, Flickr, and my 2 content Wiki sites, PBworks and Edmodo.
Using Diigo, my favorite websites are listed, however grouping the resources on these sites according to topic use and topic objectives would increase frequency of use and enrich my instructional materials. This organization of materials is also needed to better align content assessments and data collection. Teaching English Learners requires building most content with matching visual images. Sheltered constant instruction that I practice builds on student experiences. The many images that I have collected for content instruction are in need of further detailed grouping with my use of Flickr and Diigo. These two Web 2.0 tools alone have changed my lesson planning efforts for the better, more than anything else in a long time.
next big project will be a student workshop with the use of Edmodo. I have made a lot of headway getting my instructional content for the regular school year online using a free Wiki template at PBworks. This site allows me to share instructional materials with my peers, and I am equally interested in allowing more collaborative and peer learning for my students. By developing materials for Edmodo, I can provide my students with an online learning experience that is similar to a credited online course. My challenge with providing my students with more online learning experiences is with computer access limitations along with students’ limited computer skills. Online learning initiatives using language and math drills are in place, however student directed projects require technology fluency. Without online navigation skills authentic student learning is less effective. Online student participation for higher learning is a goal.
As soon as I record the VoiceThread for this week's assignment post, I am taking a digital rest.
Schunk, D. (2008) Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective, Fifth Edition, The University of North Carolina.