I have spent the better part of my teaching career just “dabbing” in technology. As of three weeks ago, most of my technology use was simple. Marc Prensky explained it well in his article, Shaping Tech for the Classroom:
We use it mostly to pass documents around, but now in electronic form, and the result is not very different from what we have always known.
I have found an “old way of doing old things” and constantly rejected or resisted using it beyond the basic uses.
My mindset and ideas about technology are quickly changing the more I learn and read. In her closing statement in Living with New Media, Mizuko Ito, et. al. inquired:
Rather than thinking of public education as a burden that schools must shoulder on their own, what would it mean to think of public education as a responsibility of a more distributed network of people and institutions? And rather than assuming that education is primarily about preparing for jobs and careers, what would it mean to think of education as a process of guiding kids’ participation in public life more generally, a public life that includes social, recreational, and civic engagement? And finally, what would it mean to enlist help in this endeavor from an engaged and diverse set of publics that are broader than what we tradition-ally think of as educational and civic institutions?
I am beginning to realize that schools (both public and private) should build bridges and networks. I have already been building networks with other educators as well as professionals in specific areas. When learning about different weather patterns, it would have been very easy for me to just use books, look up information on the web and simply tel the students what I know about weather. However, I am taking a step back and learning along with them how to use some new tools to research the weather with the app called Kid Weather. The app has allowed the children more access to do their own research. This has been a very motivational tool. The children are looking at what the app says the weather is and comparing it to what it feels like outside. They are always asking for updates and love to learn about the weather in other cities. The children were so interested in exploring the weather in different parts of the world so we began Skyping with other schools to talk about their weather. (Japan, Africa, U.S.).
As I reflect on how this technology is being used, Scott McLeod and Julie Graber remind me to think of the purpose technology plays in their article , Toward Better Technology Integration:trudacot:
Technology integration should be purposeful. That very simple statement is at the heart of the trudacot template. When we use digital technologies for learning and teaching, those uses should be intentional and targeted and not simply ‘tech for tech’s sake.’ Our team continually asks the question, ‘Technology for the purpose of what?’
The Trudacot is an excellent resource to look at while thinking about how technology is integrated in different lessons I know that the original weather app was just a tool to allow the children more access to the daily weather, but as we explored other features in the app, we have taken it a step further to reach out and network with other schools. This is a new form of social networking for the children and it is the beginning stages of their social networking life. I must help them at their young age learn ways to use social networking in a safe and beneficial way. With no idea of what their future will be like in terms of technology, it is important that I help them realize how useful technology can be.
Already, through conversations with a fellow Early Childhood teacher in COETAIL, Holly Fraser, I have learned that it is possible to integrate and teach social technology skills to young students in the form of blogging. She introduced me to Easy Blog jr as a tool for my students to blog their own learnings! I am still learning how to use it (easy is not so easy for me) but I will learn and explore it more with the children in the upcoming weeks. I intend to use it for a variety of purposes once I understand it more, but in the meantime I will allow the children a chance to video record or take pictures of interesting things they are doing or learning. There will be a lot of freedom in what they choose to blog, so I am excited to see what stands out to them.
This new tool will be useful in many different ways and I will use the trudacot as resource to check the protocol and determine what the main goal of the blogs will be. I have also created my own blog, Ms. Amber, to share exciting classroom happenings with parents (I usually just send emails with some pictures). I hope as I learn more, I can also share some of the students’ posts with the parents.
Many things have changed and developed this past month. My mindset about technology is shifting and I am quickly becoming more aware of the importance my role is in making sure my students are ready for the changing future. I am still working on building more confidence in the area, but I am having fun exploring and learning with my students!