In today’s society, we have so many ways to build web communities and share work since the explosion of technological advances. After reading the article The Case for Cultivating Global Awareness, I realized that it is my responsibility to teach curriculum content, while creating a nurturing environment that fosters respect for cultural diversity. With the invention of Facetime, Skype, Tango, Wikispaces, Blackboard Collaborate, Creative Commons and so on, students have the means at their fingertips to learn different things about one’s culture, publish and share what they learn, try something new, and increase two-way collaboration among different cultures on a day to day basis. Teachers need to be more culturally aware and prepared with a variety of instructional tools and strategies in their pedagogical practices, to reach all diverse cultures. Using productivity tools such as Blogging, Google Docs, Classroom 2.0, Podcasting, and online publishing opportunities, provides not only culturally responsive learning, but helps students become more knowledgeable about different cultures, cultural norms and develop a desire to learn more about people from around the world.
I meet the needs of the diverse learners in my classroom in numerous ways by my use of technology, differentiated instruction, and culturally responsive pedagogy. Reading the articles Differentiating Instruction with Technology in Middle School Classrooms and Preparing Students to Learn Without Us, allowed me to recognize the by-products of modifying my instruction to promote student achievement and learning. First, I have increased my use of technology, which allows for more personalized learning. Students choose their own paths through the curriculum, work can be self-paced, and products produced by the student can vary in many forms. Increasing the use of Web 2.0 tools such as Weebly, Symbaloo, Popplet, Screen-o-matic, iPad Apps, and Schooltube, has changed the way my at-risk students learns. Before technology was widely available, I would implement lessons with lots of teaching strategies. My technology use was at a minimum, and I felt that the kids were learning, but what they learned was not meaningful or relevant. Now, just about every lesson I teach and implement use some form of digital technology. My at-risk students are eager to come to school and learn, because they can apply what they learn daily in their lives. Having the ability to have choice in what they learn, when they learn it, and with whom they learn, have change the definition of teaching and learning in educational systems today. I provide an array of differentiated instruction in my classroom by the content, the process and by the product, to meet the needs of my regular education, special education and English Language Learners. Moreover, I have gleaned that technology use keeps my pupils more engaged, increases participation, and they hold themselves more accountable for what they learn. This is because I tailor my instruction to meet their needs, yet their learning is rigorous and relevant.
When some form of technology is utilized, my students become more motivated to learn. I have integrated many instructional approaches to help my students learn best by use of Blooms Levels of Taxonomy, Web 2.0 productivity tools, and flexible grouping. Moreover, student-directed cooperative learning, scaffolding, choice menus, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), engaged learning lessons on the higher level of LoTi, and use of the TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) has help guide my instructional practices. Lastly, using culturally responsive pedagogy increases cultural diversity and awareness, which helps give students the knowledge and skills needed to work in a global society with other cultures and ethnicities.
Teachers must shift their attitudes and beliefs from what they think is best for students, to what actually works. Blogging in my experience can affect the way we communicate and collaborate both locally and globally with students, parents, peers, and community members in many ways. First, blogging allows students to become connected to different people globally. Students have the opportunity to share and publish ideas they are passionate about to an audience, and receive feedback in real time through commenting. This back and forth dialogue between students in different parts of the world could not only help educate the students about their own cultures, but becomes rewarding when students gain passion for learning through shared experiences. To utilize blogging in my classroom, I would have students pick a controversial topic in Science that may be of interest globally, and have students create and publish their own blogs about it. Secondly, using blogs to express ideas to a variety of people cultures, governments, and ways of life, can be a great thing. Having students get out of their comfort zones and interact with people from different countries can prepare them for the future. If my students were interested in learning about various “Wonders of the World”, they could create a blog and have students, teacher and community members share their experiences about what it would be like to live near a natural wonder.
Third, Blogging can be a very powerful tool to truly express how someone thinks, feels or believes to evoke change or fight for a cause. I could create a blog for students, parents, peers, and community members to give their positions on educational issues such as high-stakes testing or No Child Left Behind Act. This gives those who participate a digital platform to share what’s truly on their mind, without fear of losing their job, retaliation, or being judged by their personal beliefs. I believe that today’s school environments should use the Read/Write Web, varied forms of technology, differentiated instruction, and blogging to engage students in lessons and experiences to increase students cultural understanding and global awareness. I’m exited as a transforming technology coach to afford my students and teachers with the opportunity to collaborate, communicate, and build web communities with people from all around the world, so that they make a difference not only in their own lives, but the lives of others.
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. (3rd ed.). Thousand Oak, California: Corwin.