These past few weeks, my treasures have been working diligently creating their Iweb portfolios. They've been adding pages, graphics, and text to make this project completely personalized. Some have created movies where they've read their own writing. Others learned how to import documents they've created from other applications. There are some drawbacks, but it's something that is working for my students. All in all, it's been a learning experience for everyone, including myself.
I am grateful for our tech specialist. She is truly a gem and I am thankful for all her help and guidance. I can throw out an idea and she knows how to get it from my head to their computers. I wanted their portfolios published to the intranet and linked to mine so that I could share them at parent- teacher conferences last evening. By 3pm, we were good to go. Thank you, Laura.
I projected their iwebs onto the smart board for each conference. My favorite moments were watching the parents' eyes light up as they read about their child and what they had created. They were able to see a "Books They've Read" page, science experiment reflections, writings, and more. I shared the process, purpose, and evaluation tools of the project. I shared how we'll burn this to a dvd at the end of the year. I shared how I'm going to use this from here on out. All the parents were excited about this project.
However, some concerns were brought to my attention about the security and safety of children during one meeting and together we found some alternative ways for the child to continue. Since then, I've been doing some heavy thinking in the last 24 hours.
First, this new 21st Century world is scary and unknown for those who grew up in the 20th Century. The "what could possibly happen" in the online world, whether INTRANET or INTERNET, is a valid concern for parents that cannot be discounted by educators. If we want to be 21st Century thinkers, we also need to be prepared to find some alternatives that would serve the same purpose if parents are uncomfortable with some of our projects.
Second, I need to learn and move at the speed that works for my needs and comfort level. Lately, I've felt so inadequate with my Smartboard knowledge and other online learning tools. BUT, I am doing something that will move my students to 21st Century thinking. I may not be doing everything out there, but I am doing something.
Lastly, TRY. Some ideas may work for you, and some may not. But, be willing, open, and flexible to try. It's what we'd want our students to do.