Monday, February 4, 2013

YouTube Mini-Assignment

1) After viewing this video, I think that the need for technology in the classroom is overblown.  I am basically a part of the same generation as my students.  I am only 8 years older than some of my students.  I grew up with the internet, computers, cell phones, and video games.  All of these things are a daily part of my life.  If I had watched this video 2 years ago, I would have been very enthusiastic about using as much technology in the classroom as possible.  But after 2 years of teaching, I now feel as though administrations and school boards think that technology is a cure all.  My school recently purchased SmartBoards for every classroom.  It cost over $300,000.  We are required to use them during observations.  A SmartBoard is a great piece of technology, and I use it every day.  But my instruction has not changed at all since I got the board.  I feel as though the money could have been spent better.  The same thing happened last year when my school received 2 iPad carts.  There are a lot of possibilities with iPads, but they were so poorly implemented that we can't even use them this year.
This video assumes that all students are wired and connected, and that is simply not the case.  I have several students you do not have access to a computer at home.  For this reason, I never require assignments to be completed with a computer.  I run a class website as a resource not a requirement.

2) The video I choose is called "Gestures and Facial Expression in Cicero - Pro Caelio" I have embedded it below:


This video is an example of how one of Cicero's speeches would actually be given.  Often when Latin is read in the classroom, we do not get a sense of the emotion behind the words.  This video would be incorporated into a lesson for a Latin 3 or 4 class.  It would be assigned before the class began to read the passage for Cicero's Pro Caelio.  Students would need to get a sense of the force behind the speech.  For a homework assignment, I would ask students to write what they hear to the best of their ability. When reading begins in the classroom, I would periodically stop and refer back to the video to recap what we had just read.  The video would act a a point of reference, letting the students know when something is meant to be a joke or an attack.

3)Above I stated that I am a part of the generation that grew up with all of this technology.  However, I will admit that I use it differently than my students.  I am not a big user of social media, which I still find strange to use, but my students are constantly connected and a large part of their social interaction takes place over the internet.  After reading "Living and Learning with New Media" article, I have been trying to think of different ways to implement the ideas and concepts discussed.  One issue that particularly stuck out to me was the concept of "Geeking Out."  I believe that I fall into this in many of my hobbies.  I focus in on a topic and find out everything I can.  Riding bikes turned into building them; an interest in the Romans turned into a career!  I think that this process can be harnessed to the benefit of the students.  While sometimes the information learned is not the most useful, but the skill acquired while exploring a topic are very valuable.  Assigning open-ended research projects could allow a student to explore the internet and "Geek Out."  This would make the classroom much more engaging, because students would be speaking about topics that they are truly invested in.

4)It's amazing to look back 8 years at where technology was.  The iPhone was still two years away in 2005, and now it is nearly ubiquitous.  So I find the act of predicting what the next 8 years will be like an almost pointless, yet enjoyable, task.  Some of the predictions are a little off putting (altered bodies?) but others make me very excited (maker economy!).  The maker economy particularly excited me for its prospects in the classroom.  Imagine creating unique learning tools that would be specific to your class and your students.  My students could create a replica of ancient Rome from scratch!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Interacting with the Latin Classroom on the Internet

In this day of technological ubiquity, a class website or blog can be an excellent tool for improving communication and clarity in the classroom.  A class blog is meant to facilitate, not supplant, classroom instruction.  Like other class blog/websites students will find numerous materials at their disposal.  Some of the best uses of class blogs/website are as follows:
  • Access to course materials and classroom assignments
  • A class calendar with the due dates for assignments and upcoming assessments
  • Access to lecture notes and presentations
  • Helpful links to websites that can assist in student learning and research
A way in which I would use a blog that is unique to other classroom blog/websites is to have a discussion section for collaborative Latin translations.  Students would be able to discuss translation, grammar, syntax, and content with each other.
The goal of a Latin class blog is to improve a student’s proficiency in Latin and performance in the classroom.  I would know if the blog is doing its job when students come prepared to class with the most information available.