As I reflect on my GAME plan, I am making some progress but not as much as I have hoped. This week has proven to be extremely busy which has not left me a lot of extra time to work on my plan.
Am I finding the information and resources I need?
At this point, I am finding the resources that I need. The internet has a plethora of resources that I can utilize to enrich my lessons. I have found several possibilities to use with my next unit in science. The problem is deciding which one I want to use.
I have talked to the third grade teacher in California and she is on board to do pen pals. I threw out the options of using Epals, a wiki, or KidBlog and she does not have experience with any of them, so she is leaving it up to me. I therefore went to my technology coordinator to ask his opinion. I asked him which tool he feels would be the best. He suggested KidBlog. Since I am already familiar with KidBlog, which was the direction I was leaning as well. I have set up my new class in KidBlog and need to contact the other teacher and help her get started.
Do I need to modify my action plan?
I am happy with my action plan at this point and do not see a need to change anything. As I proceed if I find an area that needs modified, I will take the time to do so. The only thing I wish I could modify is time. If I could only add a few more hours into a day (or not need as much sleep) then maybe I could accomplish a little more.
What have I learned so far?
I have learned that students really enjoy WebQuest and authentic learning. Every time I have engaged my students in project-based learning, I have been amazed at the level of learning going on and how engaged my students are. They are thinking creatively, using high-order thinking skills, producing quality work, and having fun! They are anxious to get started and are not usually ready to quit and move on to something else. Even though developing authentic learning activities takes more time and effort, it is well worth it for my students.
As I have been conversing with the other third grade teacher in California, I am learning that I know a lot more about how to integrate technology into quality, authentic, creative, collaborative activities than I realized. The teacher in California is excited to learn and wants to engage her children in collaborative learning outside of her four walls but is relying on me to have the ideas and be a big part in implementing our projects. Several years ago, before I started this master program, I would never have had a clue of what to do.
Even though my students are quite technology savvy, digital citizenship and staying safe on the computer is not an area they have had a lot experience with. They think if it is on the internet, it is there for anyone to take and use. They also are very naive (they are third graders) about giving out information. What can happen right?
What new questions have arisen?
One question that the third grade teacher in California and I have to figure out is how to handle the KidBlog posts and comments. Will we require them to post a certain amount of times a week, make so many comments a week, and will we give them topics or let the conversations develop naturally? I know we will monitor the posts and comments before they are published. The logistics need to be established.
What next? After we set up our pen pals and allow them time to converse, we need to compare our content standards and decide what collaborative project would be beneficial for both classes to engage in. During the collaborative project, we can continue to incorporate digital citizenship and responsibility as well.