Tracie Weisz
Teacher, Alaska Gateway School District

I am a middle school English/Social Studies teacher in a 1:1 laptop program. I have taught middle school since 1995. I have always incorporated available technologies into my classroom, but when I left the classroom in 2006 to become a Mentor Teacher, things looked vastly different than they do today. My students had access to a computer "lab", and we used our lab time to do research and type papers. Once in awhile if we had a big enough block of time, we would do web quests.

When I returned to the classroom in 2008/2009, I was teaching 3rd grade, and our middle school had become the beneficiaries of a 1:1 laptop program. I had been spending some time reading during the preceding years learning a lot about web 2.0 and some of the things that were happening in classrooms all over the world. Although I had some older computers, I was able to use my year in 3rd grade to take some baby steps into the "new" web. I set up a blogs for my 3rd graders, as well as a class blog. My students read and posted assignments and projects on the blogs, and used various other web 2.0 tools to show their learning such as VoiceThread and Voki. It was an exciting year as I learned more and more about the possibilities of what I could now use computers for in the classroom. I knew that the following year I would be returning to what I knew best - middle school. I began to research, experiment, and mentally prepare for the changes I would make in my classroom.

This year back in middle school has been exciting in many ways. First, my students are all slowly but surely building blogs, and learning how to add content in ways that are interesting and creative. Second, I have been able to begin my experiment with building a wiki text. Although I still consider this to be in the very early stages, I have a lot of ideas I still want to incorporate into my classes.