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Today I begin my first class of instructional technology lessons. As I mentioned before, this project is happening because I was cut out of a budget this year. Initially I had intended on integrating an instructional technology curriculum at my former charter school, but it was not to be. Therefore, I will be presenting a different technology lesson for the next 180 days. I will be taking the curriculum and standards that I had created for my school and presenting them to all via my blog, iTeach. I will be teaching a in a hypothetical context, but presenting material that can be used for any classroom. Also, I will be allotting my time throughout the year to conference with other Instructional Technology coaches, specialists, and teachers. My hope is that I can do the job I was supposed to do, and enhance learning in a variety of schools. I ask that you follow along on this ride and welcome your comments and constructive criticism about my lessons.
I will begin this class and the next few classes differently than I would most. The structure will be setting up our digital environment and instructing the students on various tech procedures that will help this class move, communicate, and organize effectively. Today’s lesson will focus on setting up the student’s iGoogle page.
The iGoogle page will serve as our start up and hub for acquiring and communicating information throughout the year. Here is how we will set up the lesson.
1. Start by showing the students a daily planner. Ask them for the first five minutes to list how a daily planner book is effective and how the daily planner is ineffective. Take some time with your students to discuss the answers.
2. Transition this discussion into a brief presentation on how the iGoogle page is just like the daily planner but is much more dynamic than the static book planner.
3. Have each student set up a gmail account and if you have the Google Apps Suite for Education than you can use the emails that are included in your package. Explain to the students that this is the ONLY email that you will accept messages from and this email should be used in a professional manner. Students will lose participation points for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors within the body of an email.
4. Once you have covered all the basics for email, have them set up different apps and widgets on the iGoogle page. Tell students that they must have the following widgets on the first page:
5. Once they have their essential information set up on the page, allow them a few minutes to explore the possibilities of an iGoogle page for class. Allow them to partner up for a few minutes and find one widget that they could use effectively for class and have that group of students present that widget to the class and explain ways in which it can help classroom communication, collaboration, or learning.
That is our instructional technology lesson for the day. Again, the next few days will be focused on setting up our “command center” for the year. I have decided to use Google Apps because that is the platform that I would have been working on with my students. You may find another platform more practical for your teaching, and I encourage all to share ideas in which this lesson can be enhanced and evolved.