I’m sitting on my deck this morning enjoying the beautiful sunrise with my dog and my thoughts can’t help but stray to our upcoming school year which begins in six weeks. Some people would call me a workaholic, but others would say that I really just love my job and have a keen interest in bettering myself as a teacher and in turn, the learning environment for my students. I am definitely the kind of teacher who likes to keep things current and interesting in the classroom and technology, in my opinion, is the way to go with our 21st century learners.
I have started reading a blog by Rob de Lorenzo (an Ontario educator) called “Mobile Learning” which discusses using cell phones and iPods in the classroom and I have been really impressed. I’m a Mac girl myself and so naturally I was excited when I read a post praising some of Mac’s top selling products, but it also has me thinking of my next year’s classroom. In first semester I have grade nine applied English (for those of you not familiar with the teaching system in Ontario, applied is the stream we would consider to be going to college or straight into the workplace), the grade twelve Ontario Literacy Course (for the students who have failed the grade ten Literacy Test), and a grade eleven combined university/college level Social Sciences class. Our school board has a set of fifteen iTouches that can be signed out and here is what I’m thinking for my classes:
Grade Nine Applied – look into apps that help with grammar and spelling skills, look for an app that discusses wilderness survival (we read a novel on that topic), a current events/news app (a new unit currently in production) and finally, consider how to record themselves onto the iTouch so that they can create a podcast
Ontario Literacy Course – these guys are tricky as they are very reluctant learners and most are not familiar with technology so some thoughts are: the Driver’s Ed app (we do a couple short articles about driving and getting your license so this might be an engaging way to have them involved in the class work as well as prepare them for the possible issues they might encounter while driving), an app about traveling the world (we talk at great deal about real life and for most of these students, they would like to travel, but don’t get the opportunity so this would be something interesting for them) and finally, a sports app (this class is typically predominantly male so we always end up discussing sports at great length so they would find an app on this topic quite interesting.)
Grade Eleven Social Science – This is my first year teaching this course and it is very much based on the philosophies of Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology. I think the iTouches could very much have a place here in terms of allowing the students to find podcasts on these in iTunes, having them listen then synthesize what they have learned through the podcasts with what we have been discussing in class and finally have them apply it to a current event in the real world (which they could also find through using Safari on the iTouch).
I’m getting excited just thinking about the possibilities! This is really just some preliminary brainstorming and I would love to hear what you tech savvy educators have to say or suggest about how I might adapt these to help customize the learning of my students!