Recently, I had the opportunity to present at a teacher's conference for the first time. Over the past few years I have taken in many professional development sessions and it was an honor to be on the facilitating end.
One of the sessions I delivered was centered around podcasting and blogging in the Middle Years. I felt it went very well, with good discussion around the use of these technologies in classrooms. One hot point of discussion was the issues many teachers face when attempting to integrate ICT into their repertoires.
This session revolved around relevance, interactivity, and ownership, three aspects of education I ponder frequently here. As I may have stated before, I believe in order to make classroom activity interactive and relevant in 2011, and to give students full ownership of their accomplishments, work should be published in some form. This could be posted online or posted on a wall. When discussing this with the participants of my session we talked about students and/or parents who do not want their work published online, if real names should be used, and so on and so forth. From my experiences, when students see there work published on an avenue such as a class web site or a blog they take pride in their work and instantly want to improve their skills or knowledge. This, to me, is a positive experience made possible by ICT integration.
The advances in technology can be frightening, as there are a number of horror stories stemming from the irresponsible use of technology. I believe this is where the debates about policy and procedure in "the staff room" begins. Every school seems to have a different policy and uses different methods of combating these issues. Whether it is podcasting, blogging, social media, or cell phones, it is important for educators to take on a leadership role and teach the appropriate use of the 21st century tools and skills.
There seems to be a downloading of responsibility currently that ends upon the shoulders of educators. However, we shouldn't waste this opportunity. Give students the chance to use technology and teach them how to use it properly. Let them in on all the positive aspects technology can provide and allow them to become true 21st Century Learners.