Professional Development Meme Results

Back in July, I was tagged by Nedra at My Journey into the World of Elementary Tech for the PD Meme started by Clif Mims and at that time I picked my 3 goals which were:

  1. Read at least 1 of the books on my Shelfari shelf.
  2. Become familiar with wikis and set up 2 of them so they are ready to go in September. The first one will be used as our Class Website for next year. I have set this up however I have just started adding all of the content that I want to have there. I need to set up the students since I will have them do some posting to the wiki and I haven’t even attempted that yet. The second wiki will be used as a year-long Social Studies project for the 8th Grade. Once again, I have set this up but have a long way to go with content and I have to establish student accounts.
  3. Like Nedra who tagged me, I too want to learn all about podcasting. I’ve read a lot about it but never really done it and I want to use it with at least one class next year so I need to know as much as possible.

And how did I do?

I actually read (okay read & listened to) two books on my list:

  • Teaching Computers in Pre-K through 8th Grade: One New Teacher’s Voyage in Education by Salvatore Mamome: I was really looking forward to reading this one since I too teach computers to grades K through 8. I was hoping that this book would be both a fun read and maybe give me some pointers in handling some of the issues that I have run up against. I’m sorry to say that I was disappointed. Most of the book is sample projects & lessons which could have been helpful but tended to be more test oriented than my classes are and did not take advantage of newer Web 2.0 technologies. If you’re looking for general information on setting up a computer lab, grading and lots of concrete examples mostly using Word then this might be a book you would find useful. It wasn’t what I was looking for though.
  • The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, Updated and Expanded by Thomas L. Friedman – My timing was great on this one since over the summer this was offered in audio format as a free download from the publisher. I took advantage of that and listened to the book. I don’t know that I necessarily agree with all the ideas put forth in the book but it definitely gave me a lot to think about and helped to solidify my idea of a theme for the Computer Lab this year – It’s A Small World. This book I would recommend and have to a few people since I finished it. I plan to read Mr. Friedman’s latest book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America when I get a chance.

I’ve been using the Computer Lab Wiki for about a week now with the students and it seems to be working fairly well. It’s very nice to be able to change something easily either from home or while I’m at school. I know I still have a lot to learn about the potential here and my students haven’t started contributing – yet. I have plans for a few grades to add to the wiki and will begin this shortly. I’ve only just introduced the 8th Grade Social Studies Wiki to the class. We will begin using this once I get back signed permission slips from all of the parents. I’m hoping this will be a successful project. I did run into one problem last week in that wikispaces went down while I was teaching. When that happens I don’t have access to what I’ve planned to do so because that happened, I’ve started putting my lessons plans in a Google Document that I can pull up if need be.

Podcasting is still somewhat a mystery to me. I am going to start working with 8th Grade on this in the next few weeks so I’ll see how it goes. I would have liked to work more with this over the summer but ended up spending a lot of time getting the lab set up for the new year and I just ran out of time.

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