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?
I'm Edie - wife, mom, teacher, instructional designer, home renovator,
and lover of nature, travel, technology, and vintage campers!