I find it very interesting that among many of the discussions we have had in class, a topic that is often brought up is student choice. For this week's entry it was free choice. Instead of making it easier, it makes it harder to take all of the ideas I have been coming up with while reading and participating in online discussions and focus on one of them. I felt better about my own struggle to begin the writing process when reading my peers blog entries that indicated similar obstacles. As an adult with ADD, I often have difficulty in scaling down large ideas and focusing on one topic at a time. One task I often engage in is brainstorming. This allows me to get all (or most) of the ideas that are scrambled around in my head down on paper so I can then narrow down my choices. For writing pieces, I will generally create a basic outline which will help me to focus on specific topics and details. For me, organization is a key factor in my being able to read, write, and think while remaining focused on the task at hand.
Technology has slowly but surely become a friend to me over the last eight years of my collegiate studies. I went from not knowing what a power point presentation was, to being able to design excel spreadsheets and even create animations. I am fascinated with the idea of RSS(Really Simple Syndication) that was discussed in chapter 2 of Hicks (2009). I wish I had known about this eight years ago! As I had mentioned before, organization plays an important role in my being able to maintain my focus and stamina (reading or writing). I created my Google Reader account at www.google.com/reader after viewing the video on www.commoncraft.com. When readnig about this application in the textbook, it seemed complicated, but the video tutorial put everything into perspective. I am currently using this to gather more information about common core standards and the genre pieces project.
So how can I use ths in my classroom? Although I do not have a classroom to speak of right now, I have had the most teaching experience at the middle school level and this would be a great tool for students to use when it comes to research projects and to find more information about topics that interest them. This is also a tool that the students can easily access from their home computers if they have access to the internet. Often, when students would use the mobile laptops to work on projects, their work was not accessible to them at home (unless they had an e-mail account to forward their work to or a thumbdrive). I would also have some students find a great article at home or school and not be able to find it again when they went to bring it back up (a problem which I have had myself).
Although RSS does not eliminate the need to search the internet for information, I feel as though this saves time in the research process and brings information directly to the user. I would even feel as though this could be implemented into SSR as the students are checking their readers for articles to read. Instead of signing out passes to the library, the students can search, find, and read in one location. One stop shopping! I just recently added the topic of nutrition so I could start to receive articles that may be of interest to my daughter who is studying nutrition. I am hoping that I may become inspired by these aricles too!