Sunday, February 8, 2009

Extending the Classroom

Here is my Sunday rant.
Today I was reading a post from Mr. Webb's Blog about different ways that he using technology to extend his classroom and collaborate with other classrooms across the world. In his post he mentioned that
"Technology can be a powerful tool for students"
and I believe that he is dead on with this statement. He is currently using technology to help his students explore different cultures, and also share the cultures from his country with other classrooms. I believe that this is such a worthy activity for the students to perform. I know for myself personally, reading about different cultures in books never helped me understand them. I did not truly understand and have an appreciation for other cultures until I had the opportunity to interact with them. Think about how far ahead of the curve his students are by doing this activity. These intermediate students are taking place in something that I was not exposed to until I was 18 years old.

At the top of the page is a quick screen shot from a conversation that I had with one of my students via Ning. For those that are not aware of what Ning is, it is a website that provides safe and secure social networks. I have used this to place all of my students in social networks where they can share pictures, videos, blog post, and even chat with each other. As you can see from the picture I was communicating with one of my students via chat, and I was able to remind her about he science fair project, and also share a blog post from Mr. Webb. Can you imagine what it would be like it you could connect all of your students using this technology? Meaningful and worthwhile discussions could continue outside the classroom as well as inside the classroom.

For myself, I am a personal believer in a "no walls classroom". Meaning that a classroom should not simply be contained within four walls, but we can share so many more worthwhile experiences with our students by extending the classroom past the normal 50 minutes a class session that we traditional use.

This is also worthwhile, because this is technology student will continue to use as they continue their education. I am currently pursuing my masters of education and I am currently using educational social networks on a daily basis. I have been using such technology since I began my undergraduate work.

At what point is the educational world going to catch up with the technology world? Thoughts?

Mr. McClung


NZWaikato said...

I think the onus is also on teachers to get involved. Its revitalised my teaching as far as I'm concerned and motivated me in so many ways. Networking with other classes around the world is just so empowering for students. Keep up the good work!

Wm Chamberlain said...

It won't. There is no survival issues with schools, unlike businesses. When a business gets behind, they go bankrupt. When a school gets behind, there are little consequences. Since it takes lots of money and effort to switch to the information age, most schools won't.

jkmcclung said...

Your right, I think the bigger issue that we are faced with is accountability. Not just technology wise, accountability is missing throughout most schools.

Jarrod Lamshed said...

Blogging has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for my class (literally!). We are very excited to be undertaking this project with Room @ Melville, I figure it's the next best thing to getting on a plane and visiting. This particular project is also a great way for several of my students to be involved in their culture more actively now that they no longer live in New Zealand. We are also lucky to be sharing our class novel (HOLES) with Mr Cs class in the U.S.

It's going to be an exciting year!