I went to Back to School night for my third grader last night … and boy, did I get an education. Reading, Writing and ‘Rithmatic have been replaced with Macs, Blogs and AlphaSmart computer tablets. And I couldn’t be happier.
My daughter’s teacher has an advance degree in integrating technology into the educational process and integrate she has. My eight year old is learning about the world through resources that I could not have imagined at her age. Take for example a formerly simple geography lesson on the Arctic Circle: a work sheet handed out, a visit to the globe or the flat map hanging on the wall, some discussion. Today – the kids log onto their classroom Macs, watch video journals of their teacher’s trip, consult Google Earth, blog about what they learned and ask questions. Blog posts are an opportunity for proper letter writing skills, punctuation, grammar and spelling – much better than lined paper and pencil letters to made-up recipients. They also communicate with other blog contributors from around the world (literally around the world – with individuals and classes in Russia, England, Brazil, Australia, Canada … the list goes on). And family and friends around the globe can log into this wonderful site to see what the kids are doing, watch their performances and video blogs, comment on their progress, and be connected in a way that phone calls and even still photography cannot connect my daughter to her grandparents across the country.
So Back to School night has become an opportunity for teachers to talk about RSS feeds, blog posts & comments, but also to share a new checklist for Internet safety. Leaving a child, or teen for that matter, unsupervised while they work on the computer is not responsible parenting. We now have a whole new level of vigilance to be aware of in terms of where they go, what they say, privacy concerns. It is a WORLD wide web out there and it is a responsibility to introduce your children to and keep them safe in that world.
Last night was also an opportunity for me to feel so fortunate for the school system that still provides technology resources during these difficult economic times and for a teacher that has embraced and is advancing adaptation of such technology. I have to imagine that our children will be much more prepared for having technology integrated into their young lives.
**Get in on the action and visit Mrs. Yollis’ Award Winning Classroom blog at http://yollisclassblog.blogspot.com/  **
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