Let’s give this a shot

I spent the last four years teaching high school science – biology, physics and anatomy – at an incredible charter school in Houston called YES Prep Public Schools – Southeast campus.  Education is my thing….pushing paper around is not.  So, I find myself on a new adventure, exploring the world of education blogs, education apps, on-line resources for teachers and the social web of people like you and me who believe that the future of education is in OUR hands!   And it looks GOOD. 

My plan is to spend a few hours every day catching up and keeping up with all of you teachers, administrators, bloggers, programmers, and businessmen who have been apart of this education 3.0 movement since day one.   I’m not really up to speed on the latest education buzz – ironically, that tends to happen when you’re an overtaxed teacher.  Now that I’m a devoted web-sleuth and self-appointed opinion columnist,  I want to learn what YOU already know, connect some pieces that might not have found each other yet, and offer my thoughts on the state of education and education technology. 

I can’t imagine reaching a point at which I will say “I’ve seen it all, and here are the answers,” though I hope to make some sense of all of this.  I will be reading and writing about anything and everything education related – Facebook apps, teacher pet peeves, charter schools, standards-based curriculum, service learning, classroom gadgets, pedagogy and more.  I want to boil all of this down for you because you, unlike me, might be spending all of your free time grading and lesson planning….

Let’s give this a shot.



Filed under Education

6 responses to “Let’s give this a shot

  1. Hey. I ran into your blog. Since last year, I have been trying to make a concentrated effort to incorporate more technology into my English classes. So far, I have used (very successfully in the case of my Honors class) a free online bulletin board called “Nicenet” (www.nicenet.com) and I am currently getting my students signed on to WordPress blogs in order to post digital portfolios using their free format. Since I teach in a small international school that uses a U.S. curriculum in preparation for U.S. further education, we do not as of yet have restrictions as to what we can try in terms of using interactive technology tools on the web. My guess is that I will need to get some contract slips signed by students that their web blogs will be for academic purposes only, etc. But, I have been amazed at what my students can accomplish; it makes me excited that they are learning real-life authentic skills of modern communication while still accomplishing standards and styles of writing.

  2. Kate Klingensmith

    Nicenet.org looks like it might be a very valuable tool – how often do your students log in? Do you update it daily? Weekly?

    If you have a facebook, you should check out the application called ‘Courses’ – it’s similar and, depending on your students, may be even more convenient if the kids are already on Facebook every evening (like they are in Houston)

    Good for you for keeping up with all of this – many teachers need only overcome their fear of change in order to find that there are some very user-friendly, fun, and helpful tools out there that can make their lives easier and their students more successful!

  3. The good thing about Nicenet (as opposed to Facebook) is that it is a very private class-only bulletin board. Students have a code that they use to “join the class” online and no other people can access it. You also control content. Nicenet allows you to post links, so you can post links to youtube videos or different web pages that have readings. As a teacher, you can post assignments on Nicenet and make it so that students cannot edit their assignment entries after posting. You basically as the teacher have plenty of monitoring power, and that eliminates the concern that students might have things on their Facebooks that they don’t necessarily want you to see since it is their personal site. Last year I posted an assignment on Nicenet every few days for about a month, just as an experiment. The kids liked it because they could write sonnets for British Literature and comment on each other’s work. This year, my Honors class is using it to post analytical responses, responses to readings, and to interact with each other in discussion. For example, one assignment was for them to read a handout on the different literary elements of a work, (point of view, style, setting, etc.) and then they had to choose one to analyze in Crime and Punishment. Then they had to respond to everyone’s posts. (I only have 5 students.)

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