Saturday, April 12, 2008

Using forum for school

I think that forums are useful. In fact, I know a lot of people who go on forum to learn about many different subjects and to get tips and pieces of advice. I think that it can be very interesting and useful to use forums in schools, because it will give to the students the chance to ask questions to others and to the teacher and to get different information such as vocabulary explanation for activities and much more. Moreover, the material on the forum will accumulate over the years and the students will have the chance to see, and to read about what the students did in the previous years and to give ideas for the students that will participate to the forum in the following years. There are many advantages for the students to be able to participate in a forum related to school, but there are also advantages for the teacher. In fact, you can get feedback from your students about the activities, the classes, your methods of teaching and how you manage your classroom. It can also be a good way to establish a kind of positive relationship with your students because you tried to link activities that they like (going on computer and surfing on internet) with the class material.
Even though it seems easy to start a forum, I think that you still need time to work on it, to look at it and to participate on it. In fact, you have to see what your students are doing and what they are talking about if you want to have feedback. Moreover, you have to remove or to close the discussions you do not think that are appropriate to the forum. It is also important to establish rules for your forum, so the students will be respectful toward each other and towards the teacher.
In conclusion, I would like to say that Forums are very interesting to use in classroom but it might not be as easy as it seems. I would probably , if I have the chance, try to use that kind of technology in a classroom where I know that the students are good students and that they would not go crazy about that and say everything they think. However, it might not be possible to use in every single classroom in every level.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Classroom management: Computer Lab

Classroom management is not something easy to do, but what about the classroom management in the computer lab?
I think that there are many ways to have good experiences in the computer lab with the students. In order to get their attention, we can tell them that at the end of the class there is something to hand in, or you can explain them what to do before you go to the lab or just do modelling of the activity. I remember that in my high school the teacher had a program which could take control of all the computers in the classroom so he was able to model the activity. The teacher was also able to see what we were doing on our computers. It is important to have control and to be aware of what your students are doing in your class (even in the regular classes).
It is also important to have precise rules that you state before going to the computer lab and you can also assign to the students places in order to avoid "chaos". It is important to have some kind of routine when you go in the lab so the students will get used to what you do and how you what them to act. But once you have all your rules and that the students are working what can you do to make sure that the students are doing the appropriate work?
I think that walking around the classroom is probably the best technique to make sure that the students are working and doing school work. It is important to be conscious that the students might not do the work, so you have to make sure they are doing it and walking around the classroom is a good way to do this. However, you may catch some students playing games or checking sites that contain pornography. This is something that is can happened and I think that the teachers should be preparing to that. As teachers, we can give a warning or give them extra work, when we catch a student playing games. However, when they are going on pornography website, I think that we have to inform the parents; even though it is only the first time that they do that. You also have to talk with the student. If it is not the first time, you can give the students consequence, extra work, or turn off the computer, basically there must be sanctions because the students know they are not allowed to go on that type of websites.

In conclusion, going to the computer lab with the students can be very stressful for the teacher and I think that we should all be prepare to any eventualities that can happened in the lab during the activity. Do not be afraid to go to the lab with your students because you are not so comfortable with the computers. If sometime happens you can ask the students, who are probably very familiar with the computers, to help you to solve the problem. It is useful to have students who know more than you do because you can ask them to help their friends, while you are helping the others with their work. Going to the computer lab should be a good experience for everyone if you have clear rules and an activity to hand in at the end of the period.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Open Source Software ? Yes, but....

The immergence of the Open Source software led the software industry to a "Boom" of innovation. In fact, as it is said in the article by Tiemann "Software Industry vs. Software Society: Who Wins in 2020?", the creation of open source software gives people the chance, not only to access the information, but also to modify the information, add information and make people feel involve in something that they like. I believe that open source is great, because everything seems more easy and quick. You can change want you do not like or do not agree with (information) and problem solving is faster. What a wonderful thing!

However, that might be seen as a "new great invention", I do not believe that every single person who has a computer would feel comfortable with using that kind of software. In fact, it is different than the usual software people have. Changing of software would be synonym of trying to figure out how it works. It might be easy to use but I am not sure I am ready to change my Windows software (not because I love it) for open-source software because I do not know anything about it. Most people I know don't even know what an open-source is, so they certainly won't change for open-source software. Even if you know the word or some information about it I do not think it will influence people to change their software.

I really believe in the fact that open-source software is good and that we should use them, but I do not think that my "technological" capacities make me feel self-confident enough to use that. In fact, I'm not one of those technology's lover and I can use a computer properly but I am not going to spend hours and hours to figure out all of the properties and modifications possible to do on it. I do my work and that's it. Therefore, open source software might be excellent, but I'll keep on going with my old software and we'll see in a couple of year if I’m ready to change.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Technology in School

Technology in school......why not! That a good way to open people's minds and to make them discover new thing. With internet there is thousands and thousands of websites about whatever people wants. However, technology is not always good, in fact I believe that it is not everyone who has access to I pods, cell phones, computers at home. I'm not living in a poor city, but I know children and teenagers who do not have access to those things. It might be hard to believe, but that is true.

It might be possible to teach and use lot of technology, but I do not think that using only technology is the best way to teach. If you are a good teacher and you involve yourself in your students’ activities, if you have imagination and find a way to entertain them and teach them, you will reach them. I do not think that , because a teacher use technology the students will like him or her more than the one who is able to teach them with activities they like. Maybe technology takes too much space in their life, but they are still doing other activities, like sports, hanging out with friends, shopping and much more. Therefore, using technology is not the only to reach the students.

Moreover, there are so many in-class activities that do not require technology to do like discussion, plays, games and more. As long as they like what they do the students will like the teacher. I remember one teacher that was young and funny and he knew what activities we liked, because he asked us what kind of activities we wanted to do. He was not using computer or any technological devices to reach us; he was just paying attention to our desire and needs.
Therefore, I think that as teachers, we may use technology in our classes, but that is not the only way to make the students feel involve and to make them like a class.