Talk at the FETC 2014 conference includes folks talking about ways to help teachers integrate technology in the classroom. A recurring comment heard this week was professional development must include specific ways to use the tool in the classroom. Teachers need to practice what they learn about and see how it relates to their specific situation. When you hear about Edmodo or VoiceThread for example, do you access the sites? Do you see how people are using these sites in the classroom? Do you attempt to find a way to use them in your classroom? Do you reach out to others via Social Media to collaborate and share resources? Do you participate in the Thinkfinity Community? Do you actively pursue a digital presence?
I think the Thinkfinity Community is a "must" for teachers because it offers valuable resources from great content partners as well as discussion forums, blogs, and documents that contain current educational trends and technology tips to use with this generation of digital natives. I can't imagine teaching without having a digital presence. So much of what we do everyday, regardless of our age, depends on technology.
Using digital devices in the classroom is an excellent source of student engagement and hands-on learning. I am a strong advocate of problem-based instruction and technology certainly enhances that type of learning.
Sites like Thinkfinity help teachers learn about new programs such as Edmodo and VoiceThread and give them tips on how to incorporate these technology tools into their curriculum. My biggest problem using technology in my teaching was finding the time to research the "latest and the greatest" educational resources. I wish Thinkfinity had been around throughout my teaching career.
Jeanne writes from the FETC 2014 conference, "Teachers need to practice what they learn about and see how it relates to their specific situation."
If the tool makes teaching the concept easier and a teacher finds it seamless to engaging students in their learning, then it is a win-win situation for all. You are correct, Jeanne, when you suggest that if a teacher is using the tool and it is useful to them personally, then introducing it into their classroom for student use is easier.
Jeanne writes from the FETC 2014 conference, "Do you reach out to others via Social Media to collaborate and share resources?" Lynne is correct, Thinkfinity has given educators a digital presence to collaborate and share resources. I value the collective evaluation of online tools by our members and the opportunity to learn new strategies from others who have solved a problem I am encountering.
I think teachers will have to continue to actively pursue a digital presence. Rural school teachers are no longer isolated, they have a whole community supporting them.
How are each of you pursuing a digital presence?