My poor mother. To say I was a picky eater as a child is a massive understatement. My mom would often cry, fearing my sister and I were not eating enough. My eating habits improved in high school but I was still pretty hesitant when it came to trying new things. In university, a professor of mine used cheese to get me to open my mind to the endless possibilities of good food. Later that year, I took a big risk for a former picky eater. While in Prague I opened a restaurant menu only to find that it was written entirely in Czech (naturally). I remembered my professor’s advice, closed my eyes, and pointed. It was delicious.
Since then I’ve tried things I would have never fathomed in my previous, risk-free life – some were delicious, others not so much. I really did take something away from that experience and I’m trying to apply it to my life in ways that don’t just relate to food. One way I’m trying to do this is in my teaching. One of my goals straight out of teacher’s college was to learn more about the use of technology in the classroom. I decided I was going to make it a goal to learn more about the various options available for incorporating technology in school and then do my best to apply those things when I started teaching.
Technology can be scary! What happens when my lesson plan is based on content requiring an internet connection and the WiFi suddenly goes down? What do I do when my projector isn’t working, or even worse, I forget to book one out on a day it’s needed? I had these and other fears when I decided to join an online collaborative project called “Macbeth Goes Social”.
This project allows a space for teachers around the world to collaborate and share their collective experience of studying Macbeth at the same time. We’ve used Google Plus and more specifically Google Hangouts to share throughout this unit. The idea of a Google Hangout really scared me at first. All those previous questions (and more) swam through my mind. What if? Well, I took a risk and I tried it. My class has done two live Google Hangouts so far and I hope to do at least one more this week. Yes, there were flaws and yes I would definitely change a few things the next time, but boy am I glad I decided to give this a shot! This project has allowed my class to learn the importance of having a live audience (digital citizenship); share with peers around the world (Italy, America, United Kingdom, etc.); and have fun while doing it.
If you’re interested in checking out a Google Hangout there are more scheduled for this, the final week of the project. Head over to the Google Plus page for Big Fun Education (the organizer) and watch some of the videos already posted.