I really enjoyed watching the 1st grader's in Ms. Cassidy's Class. As part of their online experience they use a class webpage, wikis, blogs, videos, Skype, and a Nintendo DS game called Nintendogs. They are definitely some very technologically-literate students.
Skype Interview with Ms. Cassidy
Ms. Cassidy explained that she got involved in teaching with technology about "10 years ago," when her classroom was given 5 computers that had internet access, but could not have programs added to them. Ms. Cassidy explored the possibilities and took some time for professional development. What technology she ultimately decided to use can be seen in the video above. These days, Ms. Cassidy uses many kinds of technology with her 1st grade students. While listening to the interview with Ms. Cassidy, I heard her say that she was the only person that she knew in her school, who teaches like she does, with technology. However, she did say that the other grade 1 teacher had been very interested in adding technology to the classroom. She says that she uses blogs because her students aren't interested in simply writing on paper for an audience of one (her). A blog allows her students to have a much larger audience. She even records the pages views that they get on their blogs with something called Class Blogmeister. The Skype interview was conducted in 2010 during which Ms. Cassidy had her students blogging once per week, occasionally twice. She says that her policy on this changes each year.
Ms. Cassidy says that she really has not encountered negativity within the administration of her school and school board. She thinks this is partly because of her wonderful technology coordinator. I think that I would be very likely to encounter issues with administration at my school and with the local school board, if I implemented as much technology in the classroom as Ms. Cassidy has. However, I would love to have a website set up for my students to use, like the one in the video above. I would also love to have students blog and Skype. I might even include some video making. I loved the point that Ms. Cassidy made that her students have grown up with this kind of technology and thus are comfortable with it. I think that my students will have better communication skills. They will be able to write, spell, and work together much better. I believe this because they will be writing for an audience at a young age and thus making an effort.