Saturday, August 30, 2008

Neoblog - A Teacher's Adventure

alrighty! this blog is my attempt to document my experiences as i learn to use more ict and in turn use it to teach in my english class. please do not talk to me about being a teacher and not using capitals. genre counts - blogs are personal diaries, and i can write however i feel like expressing myself at the time :-P i'm keeping this blog to follow my progress, as i have found using ict in the classroom not only time consuming, but frustrating. as a full time working mother, wife, and individual in my own right, i don't have blocks of time that equal hours and hours to get something to work properly, to download, to whatever, and the lines here in nz are particularly archaic, especially when compared to the speed of dsl in the states, which is where i'm from. however, once i've let the frustration pass, i'm usually game to keep trying. i have lots of what i think are cool ideas, and i want to learn how to implement them. this'll be learn-as-i-go.

let's give you some background. i've always thought of myself as computer literate. started using a computer as soon as they came out, learned a lot of programmes (remember wordstar?), learned DOS, as the university where i worked went online, i learned html, etc etc. i have taught in virtual classrooms, and other classes completely over the net. however, as computer life is like dogyears squared, and i went on to have marriage and family, i found myself further and further away from what is happening now. i do have an online life, and visit various bulletin boards to participate in dialogue about myriad topics on a regular basis. i really enjoy learning about new things from my online friends, and encourage anyone reading this to pass on any sites/tools/whathaveyou you think may be helpful, useful, or simply downright interesting.

currently i teach high school english at a boys' school, so the average age of teens i work with is 15. i am keen to use technology in the classroom, and hopped on the powerpoint bandwagon immediately armed with windvd. i have been teaching myself the basics of ripping and burning, but still have trouble with sound - i want to embed short film clips in to powepoint for lessons to avoid fooling around with two tvs and two dvd players when i'm teaching homage. i have a data projector in my room, mounted on the ceiling, but find that despite the curriculum's call for ict as the way forward, let's face it, school's don't actually have the money to provide the tools for its use. i would love for moving images to be part of what we create - but cannot book a lab at the right times, or have access to appropriate programmes for students to do so. i recently wanted to do what i thought would be a great lesson on women in media - as portrayed in hip hop videos, but spend the bulk of a saturday fooling around downloading video, converting it, then attempting to edit it, with no success - loss of syncronicity in video/sound. i have used both computer labs and student laptops only to find that what i can do on my computer, they cannot do on theirs - no java for students. half of our research project went down the tubes when they could not access surveymonkey or use the kiwiquals successbuilder tool. and that's when the computers work properly in the first place - i cannot recount how many lessons have devolved into chaos from 1) no power, 2) no internet connection, 3) student log ins not linking to the acutal network so they can save their work, 4) students being unable to print from the hostal computers and unable to save that work to the student drive, on and on ad nauseum! bah humbug!

so where do i stand? i love teaching film, static images, and unfamiliar text - the computer is great for that. i use the projector for notes, poetry, and a variety of other things. but i want to dabble more in what my students are doing. i belong to bebo, which is the netoworking site most of the kids here use, and utilise my site to keep a relationship with the kids, as well as provide some study tools for them to use during study leave. i'm keen to help encourage my colleagues to embrace ict, and if i can figure out how to do it myself, i can show them the easy way, and hopefully get more people with the programme. i want to do what i can to lobby my school to provide necessary features to our computers so students can do meaningful work.

i am out of time, so that it all for today!

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