For the final post of my 20% project, I will be exploring my experiences and looking at places to go next.
At the start of this project, I was not very sure where I wanted to take it. I knew that I was interested in elementary education and I wanted to find something that dealt with technology. I will admit, finding my initial idea was a difficult task. Then I decided that I would need a toolkit of sorts that I could use in my elementary school classroom in the future that was packed full of websites and apps that were devoted to the subject areas that I was to teach. This then made me wonder if there were such websites and apps available to teachers and students. This is where the idea for this 20% project finally came from; I was going to do some research and find some valuable tools that can be used in an elementary school classroom to help students in each subject area.
This was not by any means an easy task. I came into the project with it set in my mind that all of the websites and apps that I was going to find were going to be very specific to a subject area and there was to be no overlaps. This proved difficult, especially with the websites, because the focus on the majority of them were education in general and that included all of the subject areas together. This frustrated me at first, but I decided to take it from there and just find the best websites that I could to be used in a classroom. The compilation of my findings can be found in my second post, titled Day Two. The websites on this post are what I feel would be the most useful to elementary students and teachers, as they all provide activities and games for students that cover all area of instruction, and some are even aligned with the Common Core Standards!
So that meant that the next time I spent time on my project, I was determined to find websites and apps the were specific to the subject areas. This took more time than I had anticipated, for the reasons cited above. I was able to accomplish the task, though, and the post Day Three was the product of determination to find what I was looking for and a long time of research and looking. This compilation is what I feel is best for students when it comes to having a place to go when it is time to work on activities during instruction time for different subjects. Some of these cover the subject as a whole, but some are more specific to one area of a subject. This would be where the teacher would have to preview the link and decide on whether it was right for their students and lessons. I was hoping to find websites and apps to cover all of the areas, but this proved to be pretty difficult, if not impossible. I hated to settle, but I think that the items that I did find were things that students would find interesting and enjoyable.
If I had more time, I would continue to search for websites that could further my students knowledge in ways that could be related to the core of education. In a continuation of this project, I would definitely try and find more material and activities that I could potentially utilize in a classroom. What also sparks my interest is why there are not many websites that are dedicated solely to one subject area. I think that I might spend some time looking into why that might be and if there is anyone doing anything about it. I would also look up some article pertaining to education and technology and see if they can give me any insight into why this might be occurring.
Overall, my experience with the 20% project was a positive one. It allowed for a lot of freedom on doing research about what it was that I found interesting. It was initial very hard to get started, because I was unsure what I wanted to look at. Having to make a decision with that much freedom and with no real direction given with were I needed to take the project was weird because I am so used to teachers telling me how to get my project done. After that first hurdle though, I was able to really dive into the project and I enjoyed doing it. I liked that I worked on it on my own time and decided what needed to be done each time. I think that the 20% project is a great idea, but it does make me question if it would be a good idea in an elementary classroom setting. The idea and freedom of the project would be appealing, but I am afraid that it would be too much on students and they would not know at all how to accomplish the problem. On the other hand, if we start students out doing these types of projects at a young age, it could lead to an increase in independence in the classroom and a greater sense of self confidence. Before doing the project with young children, I might research if others have done something similar and how it turned out for them. I might even try to do something like a 20% project but give it a bit more structure. Whatever it may be, I think that the 20% project is a great way to get students engaged and working on something that they have an interest in.