I have a colleague in my school who does wonderful things with his students due mostly to the fact that he is an incredible teacher, but due in part to the fact that he embraces technology. Jim is like the AV guy from years past who has a room full of monitors, computers and recording and sound equipment connecting speakers and cameras all over his room. Recently I brought my students into his room to record some speeches they had written. I also joined his class when they did a live question-and-answer session with demonstrators from Egypt via Skype. Students love Jim's classes and learn much from participating in his teaching. Jim teaches in the 21
century, and he and his students explore worlds through technology and recordings that help students and teachers to appreciate the possibilities that technology offers in today's classroom. One of my goals with this unit is to push my teaching, my students, my classroom more towards that use of modern technology and resources. I would like students to create recordings, in the spirit of Studs Terkel, make videos, PowerPoints, and sound bytes utilizing technology to link images, sound, and knowledge in a way that will make the reading of the novel an exciting reflection on the work the students have done. I want students and teachers to work together to discover and share knowledge on the latest trends on the Internet, the world of Skype, Garage Band, Audacity, Pandora, YouTube, podcasts and blogs, and to apply the knowledge enhanced through the technology to a novel written nearly a century ago. This unit provides a new way to explore literature, a new kind of pre-reading that attempts to keep up with the times.