Day 2 in the blogging challenge asks: write about one piece of technology that you would like to try this year, and why. This should be an easy prompt for me since I integrate technology into each of my units and am always looking for new things to try. With having Chromebooks for an entire year for the first time though, I am really looking at the edtech I use and how I might really reflect on how we might use it in a better way. Because we now have a key ingredient that you need in order to be truly successful with technology and that is time. Gone are the days of fighting for a computer lab. Fitting it in when we were able. We will now have the luxury of time to delve a little deeper into our blogs, our portfolio websites, and the many other platforms that we will use to create with this year. Before introducing more technology to my students, I think I want to relish in the time that we will have in the coming months to allow these 7th graders to really feel confident in how they express themselves in each of these digital ways.
Now that we have daily access to the Internet, our Google apps, and critical tools, which is a truly a powerful thing, I want to make sure to stay true to the one technology that never fails: pen and paper. I want to make sure my classroom is a balance of all the above when it comes to reading and writing. My students will still walk through my door prepared with a folder and a notebook. A folder to collect the many texts we will read, mark up, argue about, study and discuss at length. Their writer's notebook will still be used for the silent writing time that I will continue to start class with. My students will grow in their stamina to write and think independently over the next ten months because this kind of work will facilitate the work that they will eventually bring into a digital form.
The one piece of technology that I will be trying with students this year is a new Google app called Classroom. This will be a resource for students to look up assignments, post questions and communicate with both me and their classmates. My teammates and I are transitioning to Classroom and will no longer maintain our team website. While I am excited about the possibilities with Classroom and the interactive nature that I think students will enjoy, the one drawback is that parents won't have direct access to it. By 7th grade, students are still trying to learn independence and responsibility with their schoolwork. Gone are their elementary days of the 'take-home' folder, where they would sit and go through their papers with their parents each night. My hope is that Classroom could be an almost virtual 'take-home' folder for students and their parents with the caveat that a parent must sit down with their child in order to view, since the student has to log into their Google account. Then they can view and discuss assignments if the need arises. I will be introducing this new app next week and am excited to show it to students.