Monday, August 6, 2012

The last of its kind...or perhaps the first

This summer has truly been the longest, shortest summer ever. Ya see, it's been the longest because when I think back on the first day of the MAC program sitting in orientation, it seems like years ago. It has been one of the most intensely academic summers of my life, which of course is because I've never actually been in a summer school program. That said, it's the shortest summer because it flew. Each week seems like a blink of the eye in retrospect. I'd wake up Monday morning, and go to sleep Friday night. Or at least it would seem that way -- constantly going.  And now that classes are over, I have three weeks to myself to enjoy what sunshine is left of this hot summer. Three short, baby, eensy-weensy weeks. 

Teaching with technology is not a topic I'd given much thought prior to beginning this program. I sort of figured it would be a topic built into other courses -- but I'm glad it's not. I have come to realize that educators have to be on top of technology. It is not an easy task, but it is part of our responsibility as 21st century instructors. We have power in the future to make resources accessible to students and give them additional support and knowledge via the internet. Especially as I think about the larger picture of what I want to teach; I have been made aware of so many potential ideas for incorporating technology into my history classroom.

In terms of Friday's final class session, I would like to extend gratitude to Jeff and Kristin for inviting former MACers to come and share their experiences. I think this sort of discussion is absolutely fascinating and valuable. It is hard to imagine that I will be in their position in a few short years. I liked hearing about the degree to which they use technology in their classes. I was happy however that we were able to end the class together as a group. I think that sitting in the school of social work discussing the semester together was an opportunity to connect and be community-like in nature. I appreciate the ability to give feedback in an open forum like that, and I think that a lot of my peers had really insightful input during discussion. I don't agree with everything that is said all the time, but I still enjoy listening to other opinions as it tends to expand knowledge, empathy, and understanding. (SMART boards, anyone? ...joking)

And so here it is, my last blog post for a little while. I know it won't be my last, but I feel as though some sort of cordial adios is in order. I have enjoyed blogging, and I think I could feel even more enthusiastic about it if it were a blog specifically related to my future history classes. I think the experience has shown me how efficient and easy to use this sort of tool is, and in general creates a space for informal dialogue where I can be more creative and expressive. I like talkin' like a weirdo when I want, y'naw meaaannnnn?

Hope this one tides all you listeners (assuming anyone actually does listen) over for a bit:

Savor these few weeks, MACers. I'll see you all much too soon, and I mean that in the kindest way <3

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Edubloggers: a wealth of knowledge

People blog about anything and everything. Seriously, you can find a blog that pertains to nearly any interest you can think of. Some are awful, but hey! Some aren't. It makes sense then that the online community of educators also partake in this blogging fun. The ideas that teachers put in their blog posts can be extremely valuable in sharing tips and ideas with other teachers. 

I have been looking at two as of late. They are history-related because, well, I like history and want to teach it. The first is Speaking of History, a blog written by a middle school history teacher from Missouri. I found his post recent post (Aug 1) most exemplary of how edublogging can be used in a variety of ways. In this post he talks about his personal goals for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year. His goals are concrete and manageable, such as "learn students names quickly". He is challenging himself to become a better educator in small, tangible ways. He is also making his goals public knowledge, out there for the world to see. This makes him more accountable for his actions, and perhaps is the reason why a teacher would choose to blog these. 

The other blog I've been enjoying is sponsored by the US National Archives, and is called Today's Document. This is a tumblr blog, and because I have a tumblr it makes it especially easy for me to follow new posts. There is a new post daily that has a scanned image and description of an important document in US history. Examples include photographs, letters, video clips, legal documents, etc. etc. I really recommend checking it out to anyone who has the slightest interest in history -- very cool stuff. I will definitely be looking at this on a regular basis because I use tumblr regularly, though I haven't posted in some time *cough*: silly MAC program, silly grad school ;-) 

I am definitely intrigued at the different uses of edublogging. I could see myself creating a blog for my courses also, wherein I could operate as the administrating blog poster, but my students could comment, pose questions, etc. I think this could be a great tool as well in order to incorporate elements of historical study that I may not have the time or opportunity to cover in class. (i.e. poetry, philosophy, music, film)

 I say yee-haw to edublogging. Blog on, ya crazy edubloggers.

Enjoy, kittens.