Ms. Cassidy's use of technology gives her students an advantage over most. Having the kids create individual blogs is something that I will definitely make use of in my future classroom. I've always realized that it is an effective way to give them an audience for their work, but I never considered that it enhanced their writing skills. Then again, if you are frequently writing and receiving encouraging feedback, that motivation is almost guaranteed to result in skill improvement. This is one of the most beneficial ways for students to write because it gets the kids excited about what they are doing. Even in the video you could hear how thrilled they were to know that other people read and comment on what they write, and it makes them eager to learn and share more. The students themselves want to be successful and that's the most important thing.
I believe her use of the Smart Board is also an excellent idea. It's a great way to teach them how to use the technology that we have today to their benefit, and to prepare them to reap the full rewards of future learning tools. I say that because not all students will be receptive to it. There are going to be a number of kids who won't want to use something so big or stand in front of their peers to do so. However, I believe that with practice, encouragement, and a little one-on-one time with the Smart Board, they will become more comfortable with it and be able to use it productively. This in itself is valuable, but the best skill that they learn from this is how to embrace the new tools that they are given; not be afraid of them.
I don't know that I would use it in my classroom, but her idea to use the Nintendo DS to let her students play games which teach them skills like how to take care of an animal is ingenious. No, that may not be in the curriculum, but what a great way to get them to learn something that they might not know otherwise! Knowing how to comment on blogs isn't in the curriculum either, but it's a step in the right direction to helping the kids understand the right and wrong way to interact with other people. That's something that they'll have to know in the real world all through life; and shouldn't one of our main goals be to teach them how to be successful in whatever they do?!
Ms. Cassidy is putting her students on the fast track to success, and guiding them along until they can walk the path themselves. More teachers should take her approach.