When Brisbane, Australia experienced floods in 2011, Kathy Cassidy’s connected grade-one students wondered if their seven year old skyping friends were safe. They tweeted them from Canada to find out. Result: meaningful and authentic writing and reading.
For Kathy Cassidy, going back to school means “I set up my classroom, I think about how I will meet the needs of the students I will have, and I plan new ways I will meet my curriculum outcomes.” She’s done these things her entire teaching career, of course. “But because I am now a connected educator, I no longer do them alone. I do them with an entire network of educators online.”
Management of our iPads is more of a hassle than I had anticipated. But it is clear to me that these devices ARE making a difference. When I see the studentsâ€™ engagement, their learning, their sharing and their pursuit of their passions, I canâ€™t help but be convinced that these devices have the potential to transform my classroom.
It was magical learning about a place my students had never before heard of and will probably never see for themselves. Learning that was totally led by the students and their interest in that classroom in Greece. And that learning will continue. The children in Greece, too, have questions for us to answer. More magic. More serendipity. I love my connected classroom.
I have been using my students’ blogs as digital portfolios for several years. By the end of the school year, they reflect each childâ€™s learning in many subject areas from the first weeks of school until the last. In addition to showing the development of our writing skills, we make podcasts of our reading fluency at different points in the school year, and use webtools to show our learning in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and health.