First Graders in Ms. Cassidy’s Class
The required video for this week is “Little Kids…Big Potential”. This video shows how first grade students in Ms. Cassidy’s classroom use blogs, a classroom webpage, wikis, videos, and collaboration to learn. One student tells the listener how to comment on blogs, and multiple students say they like to use blogs because they get comments from other people, like family members and other students. Their webpage helps the students find things on the Internet, and includes pictures that are links to other educational websites, a reading page, videos, and letters of the alphabet. This classroom webpage allows the students to pick what skills, like math or reading, they want to work on. The wikis allow the students to use collaboration with others around the world, enabling them to put together projects based on traditions and the alphabet. The students used Skype to talk to experts and other classrooms. They also use Nintendo DSs to play educational games.
First of all, I think that this video is incredible, in that, it shows how technology influences students as young as first graders. Secondly, I have learned, this semester, how much technology benefits students, and this video supports the idea of using technology in the classroom. In the Skype interview with Ms. Cassidy, she says that we are handicapping our students and ourselves if we do not take advantage of the technology tools that are available to us. Education is taking a turn, like our world, into technology and teachers who refuse to learn how to use technology are doing more damage to the students by not using technology.
Although I liked the video, I was disappointed to find out that first, the five minute video was over an entire year if not more, and second, that the students who were talking were older than first graders. Ms. Cassidy pulled some of her past students to record the voices in video because she felt that her first graders could not articulate what she wanted said. I was impressed because I was under the impression that these students were using technology every day to learn. If we are being pushed to educate using technology, why would we only use it every now and then? I believe that if her students, or all students, learn well using technology, then we should use this tool, if available, as much as possible. When I found out this short video was over an entire year, I felt like she was only highlighting the best parts of the year. I also think it was wrong to use older students to converse during the video when the video is emphasizing first graders using technology.
Along with these disagreements, I also had a problem with her idea of cheating and/or collaboration. One of the questions in the interview was based on the idea of cheating due to the use of the Internet to turn in assignments. Ms. Cassidy’s answer to this question was, “I don’t think it’s a problem. I think it’s a switch on how we view information. I think information is becoming more collaborative and I think that then your professor should get more creative in the ways that he asks you to present information, so that it’s not possible for you to grab somebody else’s and copy it because you can still get the information… from these other people, but you need to present it in a different way that would make it yours…it’s not cheating, it’s collaborating.” Whoa! I am not tolerable with this idea. If I turned in my final project for my biology class and claimed it as "my own work" when, truthfully, it was someone else's ideas presented a different way, I am confident that I would be turned in for plagiarism. There are sites, like turnitin.com, that allows teachers to turn in papers, checking for originality. I want my students to be original, and not rely on “collaboration” for an excuse on behalf of not putting effort into their projects, papers, or anything else that is to be turned in for a grade.
So after picking out the details that I disagree with, I absolutely love the idea of a class blog, like Ms. Cassidy’s and Dr. Strange’s class blogs. I think I will have a class blog type gadget, either using edmodo.com or blogger. I like the idea of using technology to help students learn. I think that worksheets and problems out of the book get old. If I can find a resource that will help my students outside of pencils and paper I am all for it. Anything interactive that will help my students learn their science lesson will be a great help for, not only me, but also my students. Technology is a useful resource for all ages because they learn how to collaborate, problem solving, and other useful information that teachers cannot teach alone.