When I first started teaching I went to the CAMT (math) conference and I was excited about how I could integrate technology into my math class. Back then I attended several new teacher sessions that covered everything from grading to filing. There was one session that I decided to sit in on that sparked my interest in the idea of inviting the students to seek help as needed outside of school from their own teacher. I remember thinking back to when I was in college and I showed up to class, wrote all of the notes and read the book but sometimes I needed to hear it again. I connected with my very first math teacher so it was his spirit and passion that helped me understand every math class after his as he allowed me to attend his office hours as long as he tended to his currently enrolled students first. In the session teachers were saying that using only a basic recording device (early model document cameras, inexpensive video cameras or even a cell phone) they would record their lessons for class. As they completed the notes and guided practice they would only record their hands and voice so they didn’t have to make videos with their faces on camera. They focus would be the lesson and the recordings would not only address the absent students but they students that needed to see, hear and try it again. I could not wait to get back to my campus to work with my department on this.
Unfortunately, no one wanted to put themselves out there because it could be public and I was a new teacher so I was terrified of posting even one mistake for replay to parents and students to see. I just kept thinking about how the material could be available not only to the students but their parents, grandparents, tutors, siblings, etc. Even if the student could not remember the lesson from earlier that day then they could at least get a refresher or help cut the tension during homework time so their was help/direction given to their elected assistant. This would have been a fantastic ePortfolio opportunity but my fear blocked me from taking the risk of putting myself out there. As the TEKS started to constantly change an ePortfolio would have been helpful to reflect on how to support, beginning planning and effectively communicate the new curriculum to the students. Honestly, my first period class was my practice everyday until I learned how to learn the material so that I could clearly teach my students. I see how the reflective piece of an ePortfolio could help extremely. I also can see how an ePortfolio will help me to motivate and encourage myself as I log of where I’ve been, what I’ve tried (working or not), connections that I’ve made and ideas that pop into my nerdy, analogous yet sarcastic mind. I would have made many more connections sooner and possibly received comments or started discussions on some of my analogies that could contribute to success of a child anywhere in the world. I remember connecting with other students around the country through an old model PC playing a low graphics game called Oregon Trail. I was in middle school and it was awesome even though we couldn’t see nor hear the other students. The interaction with a student in another state was just as exciting as going to the state ourselves and collaborating with (and sometimes against) those students. I remember feeling like I wasn’t a small fish in a big pond anymore. I was connected long before social media came around.