Goal #2: Technology

What technology do you hope to use this year and what are your expectations?

I just learned about converting documents to speech. I think I will make audio versions of all of our Humanities texts to share with students.

I also want to make our Humanities packets into interactive iBooks with links and visuals. We can incorporate our Keynotes directly into the iBook for students to access as they read. It can become an all encompassing textbook. The problem with this, of course, is that we continue to evolve our presentations and texts throughout the year, so making one all encompassing iBook would require us to constantly update it. I am not sure how difficult this will be.

Anytime I consider a project like this, I have to think about the law of diminishing returns. What is the value in vs. the value out? What would students get from having audio versions and a snazzy digital iBook instead of packets?

Most of my students prefer print packets to the online versions anyway.

I am also experimenting with Google Classroom. This is going to replace Blackboard, I’m certain, and so I am working on using it with one small class right now. At semester, I will probably move all of my classes to it once I see how it works. I would like to see everything integrated into one space. Right now, we ask our students to log in to so many different things from class to class, teacher to teacher, it has to confuse them to no end.

l really want to apply the Thoreau mantra to my technological life, “simplify, simplify, simplify,” but it seems that each new thing we add only complicates, complicates, complicates.

30 Day Challenge: #1 Goals

I’m just going to start this here by posting this link so I can remember how to get back to it. 

The first writing challenge is to write my teaching goals for the year. What a good idea. Usually, my goal is to live through each day and get to the next. But maybe if I start off with some broader ideas, some kind of deep analytical introspection, I will have a better year.

Goal number one is a personal one. I want to see my students as individuals and treat each one with respect every day.

Goal number two is to make sure that I teach my students something new every day. I never want them to leave my room feeling like they haven’t gotten anything out of it. I hear that too often from students.

Goal three goes right along with number one, I want them to know why we are making the choices we make as teachers. I don’t think that the argument “because I said so” is valid. I never liked that answer when I was a student, so I want to make sure I have an answer.

Goal four, however, is to not focus on what my students will be doing in ten years. I want the learning to be relevant to them right now. I want them to cherish learning moments, as we all should. Rather than wondering, “When am I ever going to use this?” I want them to enjoy learning in the moment. Is that mindfulness?

I have two new preps to teach this year, and one is an entirely new course at Westside High School. So I am still in survival mode. But I will keep these four goals in mind throughout the year and focus on them regardless of the content or classroom.