Monday, September 7, 2009

My How I've Grown!

This is my first blog and I must admit I am at a bit of a loss in terms of what to say! I suppose I should begin with why I chose to do this. There are a couple of reasons. The first being I currently serve as the literacy coordinator at Carter G. Woodson Middle School on the south side of Chicago. We have one of the few truly one-to-one laptops in the city. With that said, I feel a need to use our students' natural inclination towards technology, to enhance their learning and mine as well.

I've recently started a doctoral program in Learning Technology at Pepperdine University. I'd like to rewind a bit and point out that I never saw myself going this direction with my educational pursuits. I have over 10 years of experience working in urban settings and my primary focus has been literacy. I took a position at CGW Middle School 3 years ago and was thrust into the world of one-to-one laptop learning.

In the beginning, I definitely was not a "digital native". In hindsight, I was quite resistant after teaching "just fine" without laptops or computers for that matter. I vividly remember refusing to use it unless it was absolutely necessary. For example, I had to use it for things like attendance and recordkeeping, but I pretty much left it alone outside of these purposes.

I don't remember exactly when the transformation happened. What I do remember is assigning some literacy project and giving my students lots of choice in terms of how they demonstrated understanding. What I got as a result were everything from standard research papers, to comic life presentations to podcasts., thanks to the DYN program at our school.

Keep in mind, I didn't know what any of these things were at that point, and wasn't even a Mac user. Honestly, I still have no idea how many of the application on my Mac work, not like the kids do at least. But, this is exactly my point. I don't have to be the expert- I have 25 of them everyday that are willing to take the lead on this journey! Besides, as one of my colleagues constantly points out, applications come and go, true tech integration is a much more complex process.

I attended school for about a week this summer for "tech camp" and already have a ton of ideas of how to make this blog work for me. I've already set at a class wiki (it's my first and I'm extremely proud of myself by the way), and plan to experiment with various Web 2.0 tools as a starting point. I'm eager to create a true professional learning community, where professionals not only in my building, but around the world can chime in and help to push my thinking in terms of helping teachers to embrace the digital revolution happening as we speak.

I am now faced with the task of leading tech integration in my subject area and would like to use this space to exchange ideas, questions, frustrations, and whatever else this blossoms into. At the very least, it will serve as a space for my reflections as I attempt to balance being teacher and student simultaneously!