As a middle school classroom teacher and coordinator for a district-wide school initiative program, I am always looking for technology options that are user friendly and can make presentations for both classrooms and workshops more professional in appearance and content. Currently, in my classroom I utilize a projector every day for teaching with PPT presentations. I often embed links from You Tube or School Tube and to emphasis specific teaching points and love the option using on-the-spot search engines when questions are raised and we need an immediate answer. Additionally, I am required to keep a classroom website updated on a weekly basis for students as well as their parents. My students love using technology; many are fortunate enough to have either a laptop or smartphone to use at home for either presentations or research options. We have the use of pc’s or mini notebooks in our building. Students are familiar with the use of PPT, Prezi’s , Moodle, and movie maker and are each given a school email account that they use to communicate with their teachers.
Some teachers in our building are using blogs to give students the opportunity to discuss, reflect or summarize. A few years ago, when nonfiction teaching strategies became more of a push in our curriculum, our department utilized an online newspaper, www.tweentribune.com, for students to read and then summarize using their own username and password. I had to set up an account for each class period, and then had to read student responses before they were posted. It became very cumbersome and we have not used it again. I do have the option of a classroom blog on my website, but have not utilized it yet. I like the option of reading student responses before they are uploaded, however, with 135+ students I’m looking for an easier way to do this.
Sue Wilson, Middle School Educator (11 years) and District Coordinator for the Academic Service Learning program at the Clarkston Community School District in Clarkston, Michigan.