My focus when viewing the 2008 K12 Online schedule continues to be topics that will have application within my building.
A Lack of Tools
I like the sites focused on in Sharon Betts' Never Too Young presentation. A comment that she makes early in the session resonated with me. It is that one of the problems faced by the teachers of our youngest students is a lack of newer equipment.
This is true in my building. The classrooms for our three and four year old students still need to be wired for the Internet. Those computers are older and are used to run software purchased to develop preschool skills.
I do think it is very important for the youngest students to gain social skills. Computers can seem like a toy more than a tool.
On a positive note, we now have twenty tablet PCs that can be brought into the classroom. Those computers have wireless Internet access, microphones, and a webcam. My teachers may find Sharon's presentation gives them a spark of an idea for this year.
I continue to think that Voicethread (and ed.voicethread.com) can be one of the easiest tools for a teacher to integrate into a classroom. Thinking on behalf of a teacher totally new to a computer, there is still a lot to learn to get Voicethread to work well. If a teacher has students draw on paper, the files have to be scanned and uploaded to the program. If a teacher uses drawing software, it has to be exported to a JPEG image for uploading. Truly, once the site is populated with images, all that is needed is a quiet space to record the student's thoughts. I would really like to see more teachers use this tool in the classroom. I enjoyed looking at the examples on her wiki which complements her presentation.
Dipity is a time line website. I have heard about this website in passing, but have not used it. Sharon gives some interesting ideas for creating simple times lines with students. I think I will have to consider including this as a project for my Kindergarten and elementary students in computer class.
Sharon gives several ideas for blogging with our youngest students. She suggests 21classes as her blogging tool of choice. I don't think I would recommend blogging as a first step in our building. I think it is useful to first blog as a teacher before blogging with students, but it is so good to show those who are getting started the possibilities.
A Problem on My Part
The biggest problem I am having with the presentations is that I keep wondering if they are too advanced. When I get stuck in this mode of thinking, I keep reminding myself that what K12 Online offers is an opportunity to spark interest. I am looking forward to offering the teachers some time to view a presentation or two in the computer lab.