Developing one’s expertise in any area requires time, deliberate practice and a measure of determination. In the article by Hicks (2011), I appreciate how she encourages teachers to embrace technology without fear. She states that as teachers “it is our job to prepare students to be successful adults. The world is ultimately embracing technology therefore it is our duty to challenge the minds of our young people and strive to provide them with a quality educational experience that will benefit them now as well as later in life” (Hicks, 2011, p. 190). That certainly places a huge sense of responsibility on me to familiarize myself with technology so I can effectively teach it.
As recommended by Mielke and Frontier (2012), the first step to a teacher’s professional growth is self-reflection. This works best within a school culture that adheres to the following beliefs: “comprehensive teaching frameworks are not just for evaluation, expertise only emerges through deliberate practice, supervisors are not the only source of data and feedback, honoring adults as self-directed learners encourages them to tackle more rigorous improvement goals” (Mielke & Frontier, 2012, p. 12-13). I am fortunate to teach in a school that encourages growth and professional development. This month, each staff member was required to set out professional goals for the year and to meet with the principal to discuss these goals. Over the years, I appreciated the feedback from my administrators as I am encouraged to take risks and to try new things in the classroom. One of my goals for this year is to explore ways to incorporate technology in my primary classroom that fosters creativity and collaboration among my students.
I enjoy self-directed learning and I am constantly on the look-out for new strategies and resources to explore. In regards to my exploration of technology with my grade two class, I am starting small. So far, I have one mini iPad at my disposal in my classroom as I wait for five others to be purchased. My personal goal is to design one lesson every two weeks using technology. For my first lesson, I am designing a lesson to fit with our community theme. I have been teaching ‘interviewing skills’ along with the roles and responsibilities of different jobs within our school community. The children will be placed in small groups to go and interview one of the school staff (librarian, principal, janitor, administrative assistant, development director) and then share their findings with the class. I am happy to report that I started this on Thursday. After practicing as a whole class and taking turns being the videographer, two groups completed their interviews on Thursday. The children were so excited!
Figure 1: 3rdworldman. (photographer). (c. 2011). ipad. 004.png. [Digital image]. Retrieved from http://mrg.bz/40UeF1
A second lesson I am planning is to take the iPads outside to document changes in nature as several learning outcomes for grade 2 focus on “changes”. As we walk through our community and the nearby forest, I want my students to document their findings through video and pictures. As we plant daffodil bulbs through a Planting a Promise (a program sponsored by BC Agriculture in the Classroom), I also want students to document the steps of the process of planting and the stages of the plant’s lifecycle. Taking pictures of the daffodil at various points of its lifecycle would be a great opportunity to document changes.
I would like to use the app “Explain Everything” in which the students can input their images and then record their voices as they explain the changes they have documented. Although I have an Apple TV connection in my new classroom, I have not really had a chance to play around with it and become completely confident in navigating around. This is another one of my goals for the next month.
To further my learning, I also connect regularly with colleagues from other schools within my association. On Friday, October 9, I attended a conference in Lynden, Washington for educators within our association. One session was “How do I integrate meaningful uses of technology into my elementary classroom?” Perfect! That was exactly what I was looking for. The speaker, David Wicks, is a professor at Seattle Pacific University. He introduced two models or frameworks to keep in mind to understand technology’s role in teaching and learning. As I haven’t really explored the SAMR and TPACK frameworks before, I found this helpful. The TPACK framework seemed more applicable to the elementary setting in demonstrating how technology can be used to transform student learning. The following two videos give a brief overview of the two models.
I continuously search the internet for youtube videos and blogs that relate to integrating technology into the classroom. I was reading through the blogs of my LIBE 477 classmates and appreciated the link on Julie Brown’s blog (Oct. 4, 2015) to M. Gleeson’s blog post (April 28, 2013) “Ipurpose before IPad”. With each new project or lesson, I attempt to grow in my ICT skills as I learn something new prior to teaching it to my class. So, my search for innovative ideas to effectively incorporate technology in my classroom continues.
Brown, Julie. (Oct. 4, 2015). Reading Review #3. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://juliebro.blogspot.com/2015/10/have-been-overwhelmed-by-amount-of.html
Candace M. (surname removed). (April 26, 2013). “TPACK in 2 Minutes”. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/FagVSQlZELY
Candace M. (surname removed). (May 30, 2013). “SAMR Model in 120 Seconds”. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/us0w823KY0g
Dan (surname unknown). (Jan. 3, 2013). “How To AirPlay Apple tv – Answered: How Do I Use AirPlay Mirroring”. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBAZ4sfDYCw
Gleeson, G. (April 28, 2013). IPurpose before IPad. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://mgleeson.edublogs.org/2013/04/28/ipurpose-before-ipad/
Hicks, S.D. (2011). Technology in Today’s Classroom: Are You a Tech-Savvy Teacher? The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 84(5), 188-191.
Mielke, P., & Frontier, T. (2012). Keeping Improvement in Mind. Educational Leadership, 70(3), 10-13.