The first graders in Ms. Cassidy's class seem to be very intelligent and seem to have lots of fun with the technology in their classroom. The technology isn't necessarily hardware based, but more software and internet based. The first graders learned to use and make blogs, wikis, videos, and skype calls. They also used a hardware based technology, the Nintendo DS, which a majority of kids enjoy every day. Learning to use these tools are done over the course of one year.
In the first video I noticed that the kids while talking about blogs, mentioned that they were writing better each and every blog post, which is great. Public blogs put pressure on kids to do well, since the whole world can see their work, which helps them improve. Wikis are in a sense project based learning, the kids must learn about what they want to have the wiki be about. They can then get creative with the way the wiki is done, which is great for collaborative work. Making videos is another great learning tool for students, it teaches them the importance of presentation and critical thinking on how to produce the video. These are all tools I would use in the classroom and easy to teach, set up, and do.
A tool I would not specifically use is the Nintendo DS. It isn't that I don't like it, because I enjoy the handheld system, it is that it is getting outdated. Nintendo even stopped making their DS in favor for a newer technology. An alternative to this would be tablets. Tablets would be easier to be school funded to get, since they do not classify as a video game player such as a Nintendo DS. Tablets also perform a lot of the same major tasks, such as touch screen and fun interactive games that are educational.
A tool that I would never, and I mean never, consider is the use of Skype calls while in school. This is something that is unsecured and is easily target able by child predators. If skype or any other type of video call becomes even a semi-standard thing in public schools, the kids will become vulnerable to outside stalkers. The risk is too high for the reward and no amount of security systems in place could be enough for a persistent stalker. Having it be known that elementary schools do skype calls or any type of video chat opens a can of worms that should not be open. Skype calls are not secure and identity is not protected during this either. Video calling is fine when done at home, but not in a public area such as a school. A collection of kids in one building is a much easier target for predators to hack than it is for them to hack individual homes where they do not know they are located. Imagine video calling at home is trying to find a needle in a haystack, whereas video calling in a centralized location is finding a needle with other needles in one convenient needle box, not good.
I do hope to use technology in helping my students learn. I am sure the future will make it easier to make happen as well.