Just a little update on my experiences with Twenty-first century tools like Twitter, YouTube, and Prezi.com. They have changed the way I think about teaching. I am old school, like John Dewey, and have always believed in hands-on learning. In English/Language Arts class, of course, that means reading and writing.
This year I began to use Twitter to inform students about assignments. Many students use their phones to take a picture of the homework or vocabulary words of the day, so I tried to provide information for them in a new way. Truthfully, I do not keep up with Twitter very well. I do not have a smart phone, and the school blocks access to Twitter on our server. Once I get home, I am too busy with my family’s activities to remember to post assignments.
I have pulled up some YouTube videos to enhance a lesson. The first was in August to begin the year with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech. His monument was in the news, and it is a great speech to start off the freshman year. We can dream BIG. We can get along to help one another. We can succeed.
Another way I have used YouTube and the prairie home companion website:
http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/ is to show students who Garrison Keillor is. We listen to tell him a story. Then, we read one of his personal narratives and look at his descriptive style and use of figurative language. Then, we begin the writing process to for our own personal narratives. The websites bring the writer to life. It is the visual connection many of today’s youth need. (And the show is hosting a Mediterranean cruise this summer! If I hadn’t just traveled to Hawai’i, I would setting sail.
The last twenty-first tool I have used has been http://prezi.com/
. I have had students show one of the themes of To Kill A Mockingbird with a prezi. If you are not familiar with prezi’s visit the site. Students wrote an outline for a five-paragraph essay and found passages to support their thesis statement. Then they put it into a prezi to share with the class. I feel the best part of the assignment are the tutorials on the website. I did not have to be the omniscient sage. The kids had to figure it out on their own, or with a little help from their friends. A warm-fuzzy moment came when one of my students told me her dad has stopped doing power-point presentations and switched to prezis at work.
Now, I continue to learn from my students and children what technology exists and how I might use it in the classroom.
How have you used twenty-first century tools to enhance your teaching?