Friday, July 31, 2015

Collaboration and Tech

Collaboration is defined as the action of working with someone to produce something. In education, collaboration is essential, whether it is between colleagues or students. Without it, learning does not truly take place.

I am fortunate enough to have the ability to collaborate with an educator in France. By using technology, we are able to create very innovative and engaging projects for our students to collaborate on. Back when I was a student, this type of collaboration was not even a possibility. With all the web 2.0 tools that are now available to educators, along with Google for Education, teachers need to take the initiative to find meaningful ways to engage their students in the curriculum and create opportunities for collaboration.

If you are just looking to get started with collaboration and technology in the classroom, do not be afraid. It may be intimidating at first, but the biggest risk is not taking any risk at all. Here are some awesome sites to check out to begin using technology as a collaborative tool:

Collaboration in the Classroom

Improve Classroom Collaboration

Best Tools for Interactive Class

Google in the Classroom

As the new school year starts, be open to the possibilities that you can create with your students and colleagues.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Making the Global Connection

When I began this partnership with Nicolas Houpert and the LycĂ©e Bazin, I would have never imagined the impact it would have on my students. Our students are digital natives. They have grown up surrounded by technology and they are very comfortable using technology. As a result of their technological knowledge, teachers need to provide their students with the tools they need to be successful. After my first trip to the computer lab with my students, I quickly learned that the students thrived off of using the technology. Not only were they communicating and functioning in a manner that they are very comfortable with, but they were also applying their knowledge of French to real life situations. Foreign Language learning needs to be active. It is not rote memorization and paper/pencil exercises. Having laptops in the classroom allows my students to have first-hand experience with native French speakers on a daily basis. It also allows them to function in a way that they are most comfortable. My students’ French has greatly improved by giving them the opportunity to utilize technology to communicate with our partner school on a daily basis.

 School-to-school partnerships will become an important part of Foreign Language learning in the years to come. In addition to bringing students from different backgrounds together for a shared purpose, distance learning promotes collaboration, cooperation, problem solving, and critical thinking, which are, and will continue to be, among the most important skill sets for students in the 21st century. I will continue to make connections across the globe with schools that share my interest and enthusiasm for collaboration, ensuring that my students are poised for success in a rapidly evolving global community. 



Amy Poehler summed up the power of partnerships and collaboration best during a speech at Harvard, “As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”  By making the global connection, we have created an atmosphere that any foreign language teacher would want and have created a partnership that will last a lifetime. 


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog! I am a French teacher at Skyline High School in Front Royal, VA. This will be my 8th year teaching at Skyline. Besides being extremely passionate about teaching, I am also extremely passionate about technology and integrating technology in the classroom.

My school district recognized me as one of six technology leaders and as a result, I participated in the Google Educator Cohort through Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown, VA. I become a Google Certified Educator in March 2015. When Google announced the changes to the certification programs this summer, I decided to take the new exams. I earned Google Certified Educator Level 1 on July 17 and Google Certified Educator Level 2 on July 19. It is my goal to become a Google Certified Trainer and a Google Certified Innovator.

I enjoy training others in Google for Education (GAFE) and look forward to sharing my tech tips and tricks, along with classroom successes in this blog. Feel free to ask me questions and together we will learn how to prepare our students to be 21st Century learners.