Ride the Wave… or Crash and Burn?

Getting ready for the new school year has taken a gradual shift for me. When I think back, I remember the early years where I needed a key to the building, to my classroom, and to the copy room. In my classroom, I dusted off and sorted through teachers’ editions, professional journals, and various handbooks to locate teaching and assessment tools that correlated with my course outline. There were so many that I had to sit in one student desk and surround myself with piles of publications on numerous desks around me. I then took out my lesson plan notebook and began to roughly pencil in what would be covered each week for at least the first marking period. I penciled in days and dates, knowing full well that the plans would change with unexpected acts of God, assemblies, and any number of other disruptions. As a result, I would inevitably be erasing much of what I’d done many times as the weeks passed by. I then used the big, old copy machine to run off as many things as I could before school started to be prepared for anything! I always ran several extra of each handout because I knew that a few students every hour would need them (usually the same students every time!). Basically, I spent a lot of time searching, carrying, writing, erasing, copying, filing… By the time school started, I was already burned out! Sound familiar?

Friends, it’s 2010! Getting ready for school can look so different from that! If I asked, I hope you would tell me that you search the Internet and utilize tools such as SAS Curriculum Pathways, Discovery Education, and Hippocampus for teaching materials. Rather than visiting the library or sifting through piles of professional journals, perhaps you would show me your favorite tools in the Michigan Electronic Library (MEL) where you quickly and easily search up-to-date databases of articles, lesson plans, and other teaching resources without leaving home. If I wanted samples of your teaching and assessment tools, I hope you would refer me to the virtual filing cabinet in your web-based classroom hosted by Blackboard, Wimba, or another online learning platform. There, I would also find your course outline, which could easily be adjusted digitally from any computer with Internet access. All of these materials would be easily accessible from any location without a single loss of life or limb (pun intended). And when you were done, I hope you would tell me that you had time for a cup of coffee or a trip to the beach because your preparations were a breeze that you felt as you rode the wave of technology, meeting your students where they live: online!

Please share ways in which your start-of-the-year preparation have changed as a result of technology tips and tools that you have learned along the way. I can’t wait to learn from you!

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