In 2007, I found Wikis. A way of sharing, publishing, engaging and promoting writing. We started by writing every day, creating scrapbooks and a class Wiki. The Wiki gave my class a reason to write and they took off. This was a class that struggled with written output and the difference that our Wiki made was very evident. We were lucky enough to have an author and a game developer answer questions and chat with us through our Wiki as well. The students loved showing off their work and often took the time to go back and edit or re-edit from home. It surprised me to see students had made changes over summer and that we had traffic from all over the world as they shared their pages. 2007and 2008 were our Wiki years. We loved it. They are still up and my students stop by and visit their old work.
In 2009, we acquired carts of Macbooks. IMovie and iPhoto and iWeb became tools of choice for telling our stories and we made DVDs of our work. We have continued making movies and have discovered blogging. Another success! Another reason to write. We blog every day, and since we received the iPads we use Book Creator and MyStopMotion to make movies and publish books. We have a class website, a YouTube channel and a Pinterest account. We are running out of year faster than we are running out of projects.
Technology has become entwined in my daily classroom routine. I don't plan how and when to use technology. On any given day, you will find some of my class filming or doing voice overs as others are drafting and still others are blogging. Some are busy taking photos of their latest artwork or making illustrations for their blogs. Some may even be using the time to finish up some Math or scrapbooking. We have many projects on the go and we are often all in different stages of creating. We have blocks of work time and students help each other, teach each other, work together and technology is just another tool in our crayon box. If we can't get the Macbooks during specific times we change our day around and use them when we can. We usually work in small groups and some of us take on more projects than others.
I have always integrated technology, and I know many of my peers do not share my views on its importance in the classroom. They see computers as a way to teach typing, to learn math facts, or to research and publish a report. Many want a one on one ratio of computers to students and think of using computers as a acquiring a new skill. They want scheduled weekly times with computers and don't see the need to have ongoing significant access to them. Over the years, I have been steadfast in resisting scope and sequences, marking technology skills, promoting integration and arguing for increased technology funding for elementary schools. I still believe that elementary school is the perfect place to use technology, as integration is the cornerstone elementary classes are built upon. We need to see technology as an essential tool for elementary students, a means for early intervention and a way to kick start literacy.