Mrs. Cassidy's First Grade
Personally, I was very impressed by Mrs. Cassidy and her approach to technology. She states in her interviews with Dr. Strange that "technology is here to stay" and I know she is absolutely right. She was basically thrown into the technology world with the few computers she was given in her classroom, but she took off with it in a short time. I love her idea of a classroom web page and having all the links the children need in one place. This is something I will probably use in the future to help the younger students (if that is what I end up teaching) to find their way around, because under 2nd grade they really don't know what to search for on the internet. Having everything in one spot is perfect for any age!
Mrs. Cassidy also has students write a blog and it blows my mind that these are 1st graders doing this. And that they are posting pictures of their work to their blog is just amazing! I think this is a wonderful idea, because everyone in their family with access to a computer can see their work and progress throughout the year and comment on it. It's a great way to keep the students motivated on doing their best when they are provided with an outside audience to view their finished products. As far as the students safety on the computer/internet goes, Mrs. Cassidy takes her time explaining to them how to be safe. She makes sure they always use their first names only, never using their last. They are also not allowed to post pictures of themselves in their blogs, which is a great idea! She does however post pictures and videos of the students work, but she never associates their names with the students faces. Another rule she gives them is to never use their birthdays, which is a good rule of thumb for most anyone. Mrs. Cassidy takes the time to explain about websites and not clicking the links on the sides. She said she hasn't had a problem with her students being exposed to inappropriate material, so hopefully if I implement these rules into my classroom too, I won't have as many problems either!
She also uses video in her classroom, which is a great tool for capturing a lesson product among other things and it is exciting for students when they get to be on video. I also love her use of Skype in the classroom. It's so hard sometimes to get experts and other people to visit a classroom and this way they can take about 15-20 minutes out of their day no matter where they are to just sit down and talk to the students. I can imagine this would be a great tool for me to use in the classroom when I get there. Especially if there are people I can get to talk that coincides with the lesson. Also, I think her use of the Nintendo DS in the classroom is brilliant. When you can pull a jedi mind trick on the students and have them learning without knowing it, it's a beautiful thing. All kids love playing with Nintendo DS's and to have learning games for them, it is so much fun and they learn not only what is on the game, but they learn to share also. I hope there is a way to incorporate something like this into my future classroom. Kind of like our smart boards we recently began using. I love the ideas of what you can bring into the classroom with just a swipe of your finger! EDM 310 has really gotten me excited about teaching (even though it has been a tough class).