I failed Biology twice in college getting my bachelor's degree. I was an English major and not so good with science. I waited until my last semester in college to take the class. And I failed so couldn't graduate. Then I failed it again and didn't graduate again. My parents were beside themselves. I was really discouraged, but I also wasn't really trying (obviously). Maybe it was my way of halting my progression towards adulthood. I used to say, though, that I just couldn't make it meaningful to me. That the class was in a different language than the one I knew--- words like mitochondria, histology and phylum had no meaning to me and hence I could not learn them. Although this was partially an excuse for my laziness and well, okay, partying, there was some truth to it as well.
To some extent, I've reacted to technology in the same way. I am past my partying days and try not to be lazy anymore, but thinking about RSS Feeds, wikis and livestream (or whatever it is) used to make me break out into a cold sweat. They seemed like these abstract, complicated ideas that would take way too long to figure out much less implement. Learning about so many new technologies in two weeks has been a bit overwhelming, I won't lie. For the most part, though, I think I get most of what we've talked about. I can't promise that I will use it all, but knowing what is out there and understanding the possiblities connected to each of these technologies gives me great power upon entering the classroom.
In the last two weeks, I have: used a blog to contribute ideas and converse about education and technology in the classroom, used search engines OTHER THAN Google, participated in a webquest, collaboratively written an article on digital storytelling through a wiki, created a digital story, made a podcast, tried to make a chair on google Sketchup, and I'm sure a couple other things that I'm not thinking of right now. Only a couple of those things had I done ever before.
The technologies I will definitely use in my classroom are: digital stories, podcasts, screencasting, blogs, alternatives to Google. Adding just these elements to my classroom will make a big difference, I think, in the ways students construct, process, and retain their knowledge.
Most importantly, my ideas about writing and the nature of writing have been challenged. I now see the value in collaborating to write an article on ants as suggested in the textbook. Although I believe that creative writing is largely a solitary pursuit (until the editing process), there are ways to build and share knowledge with one another through writing. The Read/Write Web certainly encourages these types of collaborative learning opportunities. I will never throw away my tattered copy of David Copperfield, but I can certainly use the web to see how others interpret the story and share my own thoughts on Mr. Micawber and Uriah Heep.