Sunday, November 27, 2011

What's Up?

Since September, I've been spending all of my spare time taking an online professional development course.  The course, called "Bridging the Technology Gap: Web 2.0 in the Adult Education Classroom", was designed to introduce teachers to Web 2.0 technology and help use decide whether/how to use it in the classroom with our adult students.

Although I'm not afraid of technology (I've been using computers, email and the Internet -- well, the newsgroups that later became the Internet -- since 1985), I have an ambivalent attitude toward its use.  I appreciate useful new advances, but the key word is "useful".  Twinkling new gadgets are fun for a few minutes, but if they don't meet a need (and I mean a need I had before the gadget, not a need created by the existence of the gadget itself) I lose interest pretty quickly.  Therefore, I don't go out of my way to seek out cool new devices and applications; I either stumble onto them or seek them out based on an existing need.  The net result of this is that my knowledge and appreciation of Internet resources for teachers is very patchy.  And I failed to make the mental shift to Web 2.0 entirely!

photo of 1950s computer from SDASM archives

I'd say the two biggest things I got from this course were an appreciating of a Web 2.0 perspective and some useful tools for assessing my students' technology skills and choosing appropriate applications based on this information.  This is timely, because  my organization has recently gotten funding to provide several laptops in our ESL classrooms.  I want to make use of these as tools to support our existing English-learning experience.  I don't want to get distracted by all of the "wow" and "gee whiz".  I hope this doesn't make me sound like a poop!  I think we'll have fun with the laptops.  Hey, we have fun without them, too ...