The current budget crisis has prompted my district to encourage its employees to be a little greener. One of things we have been asked to consider is the amount of paper that we use each year. In doing so, teachers looked at their student enrichment packets for summer practice and severely cut back the paper. I was asked to look at this from a different perspective - How can we omit this wasted paper altogether and still provide parents and students with tools to practice skills this summer?
The U.S. Department of Education published a study on the Effects of Technology on Classrooms and Students. This study states that "Technology use allows many more students to be actively thinking about information, making choices, and executing skills..." Technology that is correctly designed for students to use independently can enhance their ability to think independently, practice basic skills, problem solve and develop a love of learning. My goal was to find resources on the web that students could independently use to do all of these things.
My first task was to decide the best way of sharing these resources with parents. I decided the best way to share these resources would be to create a google site housing a list of resources. This way students and parents could sit down and open one basic site with links to many more sites to explore. I then created a simple bookmark to send home with the students that included the web address for the Web Tools page on the Camp Rock 'N Read site that I had previously created for use this summer at our summer reading camp. Google sites is free, manageable, and easy to access. They are limited in their ability to embed, but I worked around that problem. I am anxious to see how this is used this summer by students and parents. I know that often times the worksheets would actually end up in the trash can. I am hoping that this technology will motivate students to practice skills this summer. We will see where it goes!