Throughout this course I have explored many aspects of technology and how it can be used in the classroom. Edutopia describes four key elements for positive technology integration in schools - active engagement in learning, collaboration in groups, multiple opportunities for interaction and feedback , and connections to the real world. Using these guidelines, I feel that I can effectively add web 2.0 technologies into my classroom. The original project that I completed using voicethread has encouraged me to explore using this tool and other web tools in my classroom. I am currently working with my fourth graders on designing puppets that will be used to record a reader's theater production. After we have designed and recorded this production, we are planning on using voicethread to share it with classrooms around the school. My reluctant and passive readers are completely engaged in reading and acting out this play. They are bringing in props from home, thinking about story details and how to express them via a puppet show. They do not even realize that they are building fluency and comprehension skills along the way. I cannot even imagine their excitement once they are able to receive feedback from their peers on the production. I think our next project will also involve reader's theater, but perhaps we will use a tool such as Scratch or Kerpoof to retell the stories in our own words.
For students right now, this is the way the world is working. They need technology skills to function as future adults. One of our classmates shared this video from edutopia earlier in the semester. As I watched this video it again hit home about how using technology is not something that is just fun and motivational. It describes how video games are no longer "games," but are tools for learning everything from extreme sports to technical surgery skills. I want my students to be able to pursue knowledge in this fashion, and I want to give them the tools to do it safely.