Best piece of classroom technology, 08-09For the upcoming school year, what would you say is the most beneficial piece of technology to integrate into English teaching? I know that many of us use...
I, too, like the use of ELMO, which I used in a local elementary school when I was completing my student teaching for my education degree. I prefer the ease with which many documents can be projected without the need to make transparensies. Unfortunately, the university where I teach does not (yet) have ELMO. But we do have techology classrooms equipped with computers and projectors, from which we can more easily proect/show web screens--great for demonstrating the kinds of sites approved for student research--as well as DVDs/videos. There is no need to request a delivery of a TV/VCR/DVD unit any longer, which indeed makes our lives easier and less dependent on scheduling/delivery. Students also like being able to incorporate web sites and photographs into their oral presentations, as well. I also like how we can project a sample essay--not a student's essay--onto the screen for the entire class to read and to discuss siultaneously.
At my college, two of my fellow English professors began using "Digital Storytelling" in Freshman Comp. I classes about 3 years ago. Our college was one of the very first to use this new software technology. Students decide to write about a particularly meaningful person in their lives or about their families. The first pick out 8-14 photographs that they want to use in their story. They scan them into a special software program. The write their narrative to go along with the pictures, they add music, and then work in the software to make a short "digital story" that is about 5 minutes long. It is a wonderful advancement and students love doing the digital stories. It takes an entire semester for the students to finish the stories.
That would pretty much describe the Activeboard - much more interactive for both the teacher and the students.
As far as the debate between public and private schools, it just depends on the district. I teach in a property wealthy district in a state where local funding is a majority of our schools' income. For those reasons, we have a lot of money to spend in our district, and we choose to spend it on teaching technology whenever possible. There are other schools with-in 30-60 miles from us with the same money to spend, but they choose other areas of their schools.
I just had an Activeboard installed in my room and have replaced all of my texts, both grammar and lit, with brand new stuff that contains software specifically designed for the Activeboard to meet national standards and benchmarks. My excitement is barely containable - other than having to almost completely redesign all of my units, of course!
On a side note, I also bought software that will allow me to show game film on the Activeboard while I write over the top of the images...all of my players groan as they realize film sessions just doubled in length!
Activeboard? Is that like Smartboard only newer and better or what?
Linda, I will be teaching at a private school in the coming year, but the public schools I've taught at normally rely upon the whiteboard & marker routine. In some cases, it's up to us to integrate the technology that schools want to see. At least it's tax-deductible.
For now, EXPO has a wonderful website loaded with ideas for colorful lessons, outlines, diagrams, and other classroom displays. I've used some of their tips over the past year. It's a decent place to start, anyway.
You all are making me so envious!!!! I'm still using white boards and dry erase markers. I can't even use Power Point in my classroom. You all must be at private schools. I've seen a demonstration of ELMO and would love to have one. Heck, I'd love to have a student computer or two, maybe even a LCD projector!
I love the ELMO...it allows you to project both transparent and nontransparent objects for the students to view. Websites can also be projected through it onto the wall to show webquests or samples of citations, etc.
I also love the internet...Virtual Field Trips are wonderful!!
Best piece of classroom technology, 08-09For the upcoming school year, what would you say is the most beneficial piece of technology to integrate into English teaching? I know that many of us use LCD projectors and so forth, but my nominees are as follows: 1. The ELMO projector. If you haven't used one, you're missing out. Essentially, it's a digital camera mounted overhead-style so that the user can place any document on its platform, and project it for classroom use. No more messy transparencies, excessive copies, or discrepancies between class materials. Project photos, artwork, text, or anything else relevant. 2. The Smartboard. I know some teachers that love theirs, and I know others who equally hate it. Yes, it requires a little training to use, but WOW, what a difference in class when you have one and use it. 3. Powerpoint. Okay, so it isn't exactly new, but the kids love it. Pros -- concise outlining of lessons, visual interaction, maintains student focus through various methods like animations, music, etc. Cons -- kids don't feel the need to take notes or memorize because Powerpoint seems more like entertainment and less like "real education." Your input, please...
I'm a little late to this discussion thread, but I'd like to add that having students create podcasts is a pretty amazing learning experience. Our small school district in AK actually has a "One Laptop Per Child" program in effect and it has opened so many learning opportunities we wouldn't have otherwise. So with Apple's iLife there is application called Garageband where you can record your voice, add pictures, music, sound effects, etc. This has been a nice change from the usual Power Point presentations. I have used it for dramatic readings of poems and myth. The students write an introduction, record the dramatic reading, then interpret the work in their own words. Of course, a lot of the fun is seeing the pictures they take/find to go along with the subject matter.