In 1970, no movie was bigger than Love Story. The theme song from Love Story was likewise a smash hit contributing to the composer’s, Francis Lai, Oscar win in 1970 for Best Music, Original Score. But, it also sums up my problem.
I am in love with all of the technology that I am learning about. I want to keep my students on the cutting edge of literacy and technology, on the edge of the Read/Write Web. After all, what could be a more natural connection than literacy instruction: reading and writing; that is supported by and teaches students to confidently and appropriately communicate using the Read/Write Web?
But my problem is actually, also the first line and actual title of the Theme from Love Story: “Where DO I Begin?” What is most important for my students to experience as I am just beginning to implement significant use of technology in my classroom?
I have been watching the growth of technology as a tool for education over my 30 years in education. In fact, the year that I did my professional semester, one mini-section of just one of my education courses was a tiny overview of computers. The instructor walked us into the “computer lab” and sat us in front of a bank of Apple IIc computers.
She required us to write one brief paragraph on Bank Street Writer (a first-generation word processing program) and had us print it (yep, dot matrix), and hand it in. After the class, she said, “This computer thing is just a fad, but for the next couple of years if you can’t say that you have worked on a computer, you’ll have a hard time getting hired.” Talk about a prophet!
Well, the first time I cut and pasted text without using white out or re-HAND-writing the paper a million times–I was hooked and I knew this was no fad. As much as I was able, I implemented computers in my classroom, but I had limited, very limited access to computers, and when I left the classroom five years ago, Web 1.0 was still the norm.
I am returning to teaching this year, and my classroom IS a computer lab. With a computer for each student. Do I start with a wiki? Blogging? Casting? Do I implement a year-long use or just incorporate it in one unit? Do I use the computer or other technology to keep parents abreast of the happenings in class? Peers of mine have professional Twitter accounts and classroom Facebook accounts. How do they keep up? I have an idea of creating an online writing lab and ultimately either an online parent newsletter from my class or an online literary magazine. But, well, while my mind is bursting with ideas, my stomach is beginning to ache.
Where DO I begin, indeed?