Hi, my name is Kimberly and I’m an addict.
Not of the drug, alcohol or gambling type but of technology and Web 2.0. When we started our adventure called Education Curriculum & Instruction 831 in January 2008 I was a fairly regular grade 6 & 7 teacher who was using blogging in Language Arts, Social Studies & Science. I had begun using a class blog in February, 2007 and loved the learning potential I saw. I used classblogmeister because as the teacher I was able to moderate blog posts, comments and all content posted on the site. In the fall of 2007 I had started to use wikispaces to host some Science and Math activities. At the beginning of my class Alec Couros, my professor, started dishing out little tidbits of technology to us. He said start a blog, so I did. He suggested using Twitter, so I did. It was so innocent at first. I didn’t notice until it was too late that I was hooked. By this point Alec had us using the heavy stuff like Ustream, Skype and entering the dark recesses known as backchannelling.
At that point I couldn’t stop. I was using classblogmeister to publish writing, contact other classrooms, share thoughts and ideas with our blog partners. Wikispaces was being used for global collaborative projects, collaborative story writing, curriculum content, weekly math problems and literature circles. In January I also started a “Thinwalled Classroom” project with Connaught School in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada. Each Friday Jim Ellis and I alternated assigning writing assignments for our classrooms. I kept looking for more opportunities to feed my need of technology and keep the addiction going.
Each week as I settled onto my couch with my trusty laptop I looked forward to Tuesday evening’s guest speakers but I knew that it was affecting my family. Little did I know that Alec Couros had a master plan. Get all of the students hooked on his little web treats so that we would keep coming back for more. The weekly speakers challenged us to reach beyond our comfort zone and try new techniques, web tools and ideologies with our teaching but it also meant that we were moving up Couros’ supply chain and getting a little closer to Mr. Big. Some speakers also challenged us with their view of the world or their knowledge of technology. Our quest was to step up and try to embrace these new ideas. Our speakers provided insight, background and resources in such areas as integrated learning, connectivism, the classroom as a learning studio, global collaboration, inquiry based learning, system design and teaching with Web 2.0 tools. Our trip into Second Life was like giving us crack cocaine. We kept wanting more. Dare I say it? I think Couros is a pusher. A sneaky, technologically enhanced pusher.
Part 2 will discuss how I will overcome my addiction and move on. If you were in my class please comment and tell me how you’re going to deal with the pain of withdrawal.