Four years ago I found out that I was one of the lucky “winners” of a tech bundle in my county (I had applied to be awarded one of 60 bundles for which some 250 teachers had applied). At the time, I was using an overhead projector, a dry erase board, one very old, mammoth desk computer and a small television (19″ on an elevated cart) in a portable classroom that was designed to hold about 20 students but in which we managed to squeeze up to 31. While I was somewhat aware that a marvelous change would take place with the addition of the laptop/projector combo, there was absolutely no way to envision what eventually would take place. So began the next school year, my 26th, and the leap into a world in which my classroom was connected with the world via the laptop and the ability to project the internet world to my Spanish III classes. And for two months, that is what it was……Spanish music, we had Spanish music with video……Spanish news, we had that instantaneously…..Spanish movie trailers, yup, we had that…….. Suddenly, that world that spoke Spanish, that had seemed far removed from the classroom, was in our classroom. That, in itself, was revolutionary. But, as they say in all good books (or movies), that, was just the beginning. The next huge step was the development of either a wikispace or blog, which was a requirement of keeping the bundle. And thus, the wikispace, el mundo de birch, was born. From very tentative elementary steps, the wikispace has grown into it’s current form, an unruly 145 page creation, that contains almost every lesson that I have done for the past three and a half years, a documentation of experiments, successes and failures. That first year with the wiki saw my students joining the wiki to access assignments, leave comments, and complete extra credit. The second year, after completing several tech classes over the summer, began the true crossover to the world of languages with tech. Photo Story 3 became a tool for me, and then for my classes, followed by VoiceThread and Drop.io (which no longer exists as a tool for teachers). Fast forward to the current time, in which our school moved into a new facility with SMARTboards and laptops for all, and my world has been flipped upside down! I’ve taken several courses, added a number of tech tools (more on those in future posts), expanded/organized the wiki to include Resources for teachers and a fledgling SMARTboard page for Spanish, French and Latin teachers, taught various workshops for NECTFL, MFLA, and Wicomico County, been awarded “Tech Teacher” of the county, blablabla…..and now this blog is crawling into the world.
So….the blog….. In this, which some might refer to as the twilight years of my teaching life, I have discovered a few things! Surprise! I like, no, really like, presenting at conferences, and it is something that I intend to do even more. Next, I am not, as many people may think of an “older” teacher, intimidated by technology. Rather, I simply can not learn enough, fast enough. And lastly, I hope to share whatever lessons I’ve learned, am learning, or will learn, with other language teachers who may be interested in them. We shall see how this goes…..stay tuned!