Behind the Blog

Behind the Blog
My name is Cindy Kruse and I've been learning from elementary students for the past 16 years. I enjoy discovering new technology and implementing it in the classroom, absolutely love literacy, and am passionate about Responsive Classroom. I am constantly striving to learn new and innovative ways to teach students in order to provide authentic, interesting, and joyful classrooms.


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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How Cool is This!

Today while teaching my fifth grade class, we explored the possibility of using SCRATCH to help us in our study of mysteries (we are currently writing original mysteries and then putting them into power point - we thought SCRATCH might allow us to create animation, making the mysteries come alive). I will never forget the words of one ecstatic student as he threw his fists in the air, "I have waited my whole life to be able to do this in school! How cool is this!" As I strive to integrate technology in meaningful ways in my classroom, I realize there is much to consider when using web based technology. Here's what I'm thinking...

"For every hour we spend on our computers, traditional face to face interaction time with other people drops by nearly thirty minutes." When I read this statement recently (iBrain) I had to stop to allow this information to really sink in. I began to ponder these questions: What implications does this have for our children? Will they be less effective at reading the social cues we take for granted? If so, how might that affect their ability to communicate with others?

No one will argue the fact that technology is changing our society at a rate that is unfathomable. So much of this change is exciting - even exhilarating! The ability to make learning relevant and global in nature is (or should be) changing the way we "do" education. However, this change needs to be examined more closely.

We need to proactively teach the social skills students will need in order to be successful. We also need to be careful to integrate technology that will actually help our students to learn and share their learning in authentic ways. When we take these steps, I know we'll all echo the sentiment of my ecstatic student, "How cool is this!"


Tracy Mercier said...

One of the things that I find gratifying about integrating technology is the response of your 5th grader. Technology offers so many opportunities in a myriad of ways. It is the one tool that meets the needs of all learners at once. It also engages in the brain in such a way (this is my theory) that higher level thinking is consistently occurring. Although I believe this happens most often when they are creating with applications such as SCRATCH. They are constantly problem solving because although they are working with something of interest, they are in a state of discomfort teaching themselves along the way.

I wonder about the decrease of face time. I'm sure that's true for kiddoes who are working on the computer at home alone versus playing with a friend. In our classrooms it is quite a different thing. I see my students engaging in more face time while using technology because they are all go-to people of different 'issues'.

iBrain is an absolutely fascinating book, and some of the information it provides can be startling. (How about the Pavlov effect of social media?) I remember the part in the book with the 2 girls who were IMing each other in the same room. This makes me laugh whenever someone brings this up because I remember you & I doing this while on Facebook talking to the same person!

Your students are incredibly lucky to have a teacher such as yourself who is savvy in incorporating both technology & social skills. Particularly in a world that is quickly merging the two!

Cindy Kruse said...

I agree Tracy! Students do collaborate more in the classroom due to technology. Today they discovered Google Sketch up. They learned to import their 3-D drawings into Scratch to animate them. Way cool!