Now that we have been in this class for a couple of weeks, I feel like I am beginning to build my own cache of ideas for integrating technology into the classroom, and I have even been able to find some ways to practice applying what we have learned into my Sunday school classroom.
Though we may not have Smartboards or projectors at the ready, I have been trying to apply what I can into my Sunday school classroom, and in doing so, I am finding it is changing the way I look for resources. For example, I just found a great video that I can use for a lesson on the travels of St. Paul. Previously, I might have handed out maps to look at with the different routes, but now when we do this lesson in two weeks, we will watch a video that gives both the travel routes and the timeline. I think watching the video will help them to better understand the relation between time and travel, and will allow more time for the follow-up activity. I also think that they will enjoy watching a video more than simply looking at the printed maps. And as much as I love maps, I do recognize that for my students, it is the difference between using this:
And watching this:
Although I love the map, the video somehow seems more interactive.
Of course, when looking for either the map or the video, I had to consider accuracy. With so much information available online, it is evermore important to confirm accuracy of information. While the video above may not be the most accurate in terms of naming every city or town that St. Paul visited on his travels, it names the major ones and gives a general timeline which shows that the travel happened over the course of years, rather than days or weeks, which is what I was looking for.
Being sure of accuracy is very important though. In fact, in looking for this video I found another video map on the Byzantine Empire, which looks great, but does have a few inaccuracies when checked against the The Penguin Atlas of Medieval History.
Depending on how I would want to use it, however, those inaccuracies might not actually impact the lesson I planned, especially if I was simply trying to impress on my students that the empire changed quite a bit over a thousand years. If I wanted something a bit more accurate, however, I could also look through YouTube Teacher instead…or create my own.
I cannot wait to try out more ways to integrate technology into the classroom. Although I might be starting out slowly by only showing a YouTube video of a time-elapsed map, it is still a first step to actively using technology in my lessons.
Most importantly, I feel like my approach to determining how I will present material has already begun to change. That is not to say that I will not ever hand out a map again. In fact, we will probably paper maps as part of the follow-up activity. But, I have definitely realized the utility in these resources and have already found ways in which their application is not only appropriate, but a better approach to what I would have traditionally used.
Overall, I think that learning about and practicing using these new resources will help me to become an elementary school teacher who is very comfortable with technology.
Also, thank you so much to BlackHawk Church for making the video I will be using!