I wanted to begin by saying that I am honored to be able to write to this community about a subject that I would just be yakking about anyway (Web 2.0 tools, BTW) and that I hope to have some great conversations about all the incredible things we are doing in our classrooms. What we do with technology is no small task, and it takes some passionate and insightful people to go the extra mile and reach students in a way that is both engaging and challenging for them. Know that you have my respect as colleagues and please keep doing what you’re doing.
If you are new to this and looking for ideas, right now my advice is to start small. Choose one lesson or activity that you want to amp-up with technology and work on that. Do not feel like you have to overhaul your teaching strategy overnight–that would be overwhelming. If that’s how any of us tried to do it, we all would have quit a long time ago. Also (and this is not a shameless Edmodo plug, I’m being sincere), if you have not taken advantage of the learning communities in Edmodo, you really need to. In all honesty, that is how I brought my classroom up to speed with the 21st century and I am not ashamed to admit that I am no pioneer.
So basically what I’m saying is…we’ve got your back. Good teachers are not just defined by their computer use; they simply take advantage of resources available to them. Again, if you are a newbie to the tech scene, please understand that we believe in your skills and that if you really want help with upgrading your classroom, you will get it.
Now, a little about me:
As mentioned earlier, my name is Bret and I teach high school ESL at a rather large school in Houston, TX. I fell into ESL unexpectedly (and providentially, I might add) and in turn, found what I was meant to teach. What excites me most about this opportunity to share with you is that I have the unique ability to see students who would otherwise be unmotivated in class, come alive through the use of technology. Though the content of what I teach is modified to fit the needs of ELLs (English Language Learners-in case your not hip to the MANY acronyms that acompany ESL), the rigor of what we do and the computer literacy that is expected is on par with an advanced-placement course.
And the best part is, they do it!—I am so proud (I would put in a ‘misty-eyed’ emotocon, but I don’t know how).
For today, I mostly wanted to get a discussion going,. I have some tips and tricks that I willl be sharing along the way, but mostly I want to hear what the community is doing. I’m just one teacher with some successes in the area of web-based instruction. You all (notice-I did not say “y’all”), however, are an armada of knowledge, armed with incredible resources which is much more powerful. As I spoke of earlier, I learned everything I know from professioal web interractions with great teachers–which is what makes being a teacher now so incredible. Seriously, when else could you have sat down and passed aound ideas and best practices throughout the globe without spending money or leaving your seat? With that in mind, please add your contribution to this week’s discussion and continue the conversation. Today’s topic:
What is your greatest success using Web 2.0 tools?
See y’all next week! <<wishing for a smiling emotocon wearing a 10-gallon hat>>
Brett is an ESL teacher in Klein ISD in Houston, TX. The opinions shared in this blog entry are his own.