You have created a fantastic resource that does not only provide information about your topic but also does a great job of modeling best practices when flipping your classroom. Great work!
Technology plays a huge part in my classroom, but it’s not enough! I want to expand and grow and make technology and even more vital part in my classroom. I believe that technology is what you make of it. It can be for pleasure, business, learning, sharing, connecting; you are the limiting factor when it comes to technology. Within the classroom, I want my students to understand that technology isn’t just something to keep them entertained; there is so much more than Angry Birds! My vision is that students discover what technology can do for them as learners, and how they can use technology to grow! I want them to get past the novelty of using the computer or tablet and get to a point of seeing the technology as a tool to get them to their goals. Part of my vision includes learning more as a teacher so that I can be even more effective in my technology implementation. How can I expect my students to learn and grow if I’m not willing to do so also?
Promise and Pitfalls
The possibilities of technology integration are endless given the time and effort to put them into place. Students are able to connect to much of the knowledge humanity has learned throughout it’s existence with a matter of only a few keystrokes! Given the proper guidance, students can harness this information to reach state and federally mandated standards while learning real world skills. When taught properly, students come to see technology as a tool. The technology won’t distract, it will enhance and support student learning!
Technology, however, isn’t some magical thing that is going to fix everything. First, technology is expensive, making it difficult for some schools to implement. Schools also need teachers and support professionals who are able to use and maintain the resources. This might mean more professional development. Another concern, at least to me, is that there are times when the technology can overpower or distract from the concept or skill that you are trying to teach. All of these, however, can be remedied if teachers and principals are willing to work hard planning, grant writing, and putting in place plans for education in their schools and classrooms.
Availability and Plan for Growth
I’ve been very blessed when it comes to technology in my classroom. Essentially anything I want or need regarding technology can be or has been obtained (either by sharing, reusing, begging, grant writing, convincing PTO, or seeking donations). There are lots of people out there that want to see children succeed. It is a matter of connecting with those people and convincing them you can make use of what they have to offer. I’ve been very lucky to be surrounded by people like that, and also to have a fantastic PTO! It can be hard if you don’t have that circle of people around you, but if you are determined to get your students connected, it can be done!
In my classroom, I do have quite a few tools for students to use. I have 4 computers - the school issued desktop, 2 old laps that I had in college (circa 2003), and my new laptop. I also have an LCD projector, mimioteach whiteboard, document camera, mp3 player, and CD player, as well as my personal Nook tablet, my Google Nexus 7 tablet, and my digital still/video camera. Our school is also outfitted with a suitable computer lab that meets the needs of my students, and also recently purchased the Discovery Science Techbook.
Our middle school is currently 1 to 1 - each student has their own laptop. I’m currently working with my principal and the PTO to get a set of tablets that can be shared between classes. My eventual goal would be to get the entire school transformed into 1 to 1, with tablets for students K-2, netbooks for grades 3-5, and continue the laptop program in the middle school.The tablets should be a reality by the end of this school year. Over the summer, I plan to work on grants to get funding for the 3rd-5th grade netbooks, then the tablets can be shared K-2 until we can get funding to make those classes 1 to 1.
Thank you for using Glogster to give us a visual and active representation of your Tech Plan. This innovative use really shows how your vision aligns with your thoughts and feelings regarding technology.
I am a bit like a sponge and have always been okay with learning in a lot of different ways, so I wasn’t surprised to see that the results of the learning style survey came back with a four-way tie, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Intrapersonal, and Naturalistic. I tried to decide which I thought fit me the best, but I don’t think I could honestly choose one; they all fit very well.The four styles that were chosen, in my mind, are all connected in that they all involve creativity. Most people probably wouldn’t include logical-mathematical within the realm of “creativity”, but for me I think it fits. For example, I’m the schedule maker in my school. It is a very logical-mathematical task, but it also involves being able to think creatively about how time can be used the most effectively. Overall I don’t think the method of presenting content really matters much in terms of how well I learn. I suppose for me, how I learn is more dependent upon what it is that I am learning or trying to do than the delivery method. I am going to learn about accounting in a different way than I would learn about gardening. The mode of learning and depth of what I learn also depends on how motivated I am to learn about it. Is this a topic or idea genuinely interesting to me? Is it going to help me to reach a personal or professional goal? How much of an investment have I already made into learning about this? How I feel about those three questions also factors into how I will learn something.
I agree that we can’t focus solely on learning styles in our classrooms. I think there are times to take it into account (like when I had 16 of 18 students diagnosed as ADD or ADHD - we did a LOT of kinesthetic learning that year), but I don’t think it should be a primary concern. In my opinion, the focus should be more on providing opportunities for individual one-on-one attention within the normal classroom setting. In my class, I use workshops to facilitate this. If I solely focused on learning styles, I would always be ignoring the needs of at least one group of learners, if not more. With the one-on-one/small group workshop setting, I can target the specific needs of my students without alienating a certain portion of my class.
I am interested to hear more about your workshop-style approach to teaching. I find it very interesting and would love to see how you incorporate the various learning styles into each workshop. I liked how you showed the connection between math and creativity, because when I first came across it, it did leave me scratching my head a little bit, but your explanation did a great job of making the connection.
One of my biggest growth areas has to be the depth with which I explore and utilize resources, especially Google. I thought I used Google a lot before, but I now realize that I had barely scratched the surface. For example, I have used Gmail for quite a while, but until a few weeks ago, I had not noticed the “tasks” pane, nor had I ever used the hangouts. After using the hangouts for our SIG group meetings, I have come to realize that I enjoyed using that more than Skype. I also stopped using the Windows sticky notes altogether and now use the Google Tasks to keep track of what I need to do. I like to minimize and streamline, so being able to simplify how I do things is a big help. It makes me want to revisit the programs that I use and see what else they are capable of!
Initially, one of my goals was to learn more about using Google’s cloud storage. I feel like I’ve done a good job of using it to streamline the planning aspect of my teaching. Last weekend, I consolidated all of my teaching files from two different computers, two memory cards, and the various other places I had files saved, onto my Google Drive. I was able to get rid of duplicates (and triplicates) and organize all of my documents in a way that makes planning much simpler. I also plan to speak with some of the other teachers to see if they use Google Drive. I think it would be a great way for us to collaborate without having to try to accomodate 11 schedules! I have yet to figure out a way to use Google Drive with my students, mostly due to testing that has been going on in our computer lab, but also because I can’t decide how to go about it. My students are too young to have their own Google accounts, so I’m not sure how it would work if I gave them all a shared account to use. I need to do some more thinking about this.
I think the best lesson for me is that there needs to be a set purpose for implementing a technology. Is the technology what I want the children to learn, or is the technology just meant to be a tool to teach a skill or concept? It seems like an obvious thing, but it is something that I sometimes forget. Occasionally, I feel like I go overboard and over-complicate tasks by incorporating technology where it’s not needed, wasting time that could be better used for something else. In my mind, technology should streamline teaching and learning, not stymie it.
I’ve really liked being able to communicate with my classmates. Other than following some teachers on Twitter and keeping in touch with my undergrad teacher friends and former colleagues through Facebook, I haven’t really ever used the internet to network professionally. It was nice being able to use the Google Hangout to talk face to face with other professionals in Michigan about how they are using technology. It has added another level to my PLN that wasn’t there before!
I think the PLN visualization project was a great example of teaching with technology. As students, we were able to make a choice about how we wanted to delivery our information about the given topic while remaining within the constraints of the assignment. I think sometimes teachers, myself included, get it in their heads that something needs to be done a certain way, but allowing for choice lets the learners own the information and get more value from the assignment. The content of the assignment also spoke to me, as I think sometimes teachers can feel isolated, so to think of all of the resources that are out that is very empowering.
Great job of making use of Google to help you implement the GTD and the organization part of these courses. I also think you have seen a valuable component when it come to implementing technology, is it just an added extra or is it assisting in transforming the teaching and learning process?
Flipped teaching changes everything, from how students learn to how teachers teach. Flipping a classroom allows a teacher to spend less time lecturing and more time working with students. The focus becomes less about giving information to students and more about guiding students through the process of applying the information, thinking critically about the topic, or practicing a specific skill. With more time for application and practice in the classroom, teachers are able to get a more accurate picture of the learners in their classes, making collaborative assignments, remediation, and project based learning more manageable and effective. By creating instructional videos, teachers can also use lecture time more efficiently - there are no interruptions for questions, PA announcements, behavior management, etc...While it may take more planning time, at least initially, flipped teaching allows for more quality learning time in the classroom. In addition to being effective in terms of student learning, flipped learning is also a valuable professional development tool. Resources such as the Discovery Education Network provide great tools for flipping professional development. Having teachers view videos or webinars prior to meeting allows for teachers to develop knowledge and opinions about the topic at hand, opening the door for more meaningful discussions.
Great list of resources. I especially how you broke up each resource by the subject area/grouping. Good job of sharing the resources to Twitter.
I'm Edie - wife, mom, teacher, instructional designer, home renovator,
and lover of nature, travel, technology, and vintage campers!