In agreement with Richardson (2010) on how educators are in need of advancing their technology skills in order to effectively serve digital learners, I hope to share the learning power with the inclusion of Web tools. My need for digital skills was my reason for signing up for Internet Tools in the Classroom. With the use of Web publications, I plan to provide my students learning opportunities that allow them to collaborate beyond our classroom. To get ready for what I vision as my future learning environment, I am currently taking a workshop in Excel and Photoshop. Use of Excel is useful in implementation of research for data-targeted instruction, and Photoshop functions are useful for the masses of images needed for ESOL content instruction. The Technology Department on campus offers technology classes on Excel and Photoshop at no additional expense.
In this class, Internet Tools in the Classroom, I am most interested in learning to use media aggregators and really simple syndication (RSS). Educators can keep abreast of technology trends and technology policies by reading technology media online. Learning more about the many changes in education technology can be convenient with the use of an RSS.
Richardson also made a point about the need to protect our students while they are engaged online. I advocate more guidelines for cyber communication for the general public. Anyone who has experienced cyber bullying or cyber harassment is likely familiar with the very negative effects of online bullying. More legislation (Wiseman, 2011) addresses such criminal activity.
As an advocate for more academic uses of Web tools, I urge more caution using Internet student-lead publications. My question is at what age are my students ready to have their academic work available online for eternity? Virtual learning is a suburb learning environment, but I am expressing my daunting concern for abusers of digital information. I urge caution with the application of online publications.
According to the Georgia Department of Education, 32% of English Learners (ELL - students with a first language that is not English) in Georgia are graduating. In my classroom the international students have little to no technology experience and need time to obtain basic computer skills. These students need learning opportunities that build computer skills, higher learning in subject content, and English language acquisition. According to Edmundson (2012), students without basic computer skills are less likely to complete online classes.
Online learning and credit-recovery online programs are growing options for US students who have fallen behind in high school (Watson & Gemin, 2008). By providing my students with learning experiences in virtual communities, such as a science content Wiki site, along with the use of student-oriented tasks, I hope to enable them to be better prepared to participate in online classes. I advocate that their participation in online classes will move them closer to the goal of high school graduation.
Edmundson, M. (2012). The Trouble with Online Education, The New York Times.
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Watson, J. & Gemin, B., (2008). Promising Practices in online learning: Using online Learning for At-Risk Students and Credit Recovery.
Wiseman, B. (2011). Cyberbullying in schools: A research study on school policies and procedures. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.