September 14, 2010
I will spare you the full details of technology in my classroom when I first began teaching in 1972. Let me just mention that I had a razor blade and a ditto master, and I typed, using my daisy-wheel electric typewriter, onto the ditto master, then turned it over and scraped out my mistakes and wrote the corrections by hand onto the front of the master. IMHO, word processing is right up there with indoor plumbing as a great invention of the modern era.
In the 21st century, however, I have learned to love integrating digital photography, the Internet, my scanner, a Promethean interactive white board, the web-based Transact program and computerized grade books technologies in my public school classroom
Because I teach ESL to primary students, grades K-4, I need to communicate with the parents as well as to instruct the students. Both groups are intended audiences. In order to reach both groups, last year, I used a commercial service, Shutterfly, to create my classroom website. I found that all of the parents had Internet access, and since they can cut and paste into a translation program, the parents really liked getting classroom communication from the website (called a "share site") on Shutterfly. I was able to make the site password protected, and all the parents signed permission slips before I put pictures, videos, and journal entries onto the site. I also could send messages to all registered users, which meant ALL the parents.
Having a classroom website was a great tool. Not only did I use it to communicate with parents, but the little kids (remember, this is grades K-4) were immediately motivated to practice speaking tasks again and again because they wanted to make a great video which we would watch on the Promethean board and then post to the share site.