As I think about the technology I use in my classroom and reflect back to how much I was using prior to COETAIL, I do have to say I have learned a lot and improved in some ways.
Often, I would just add technology because it was expected, but I never really thought about the purpose or exactly how useful the technology was that I had implemented. After learning more about the SAMR model and recently reading the blog from another COETAILer Jennifer Coleman, New Possibilities, that caught my eye I realized that I have began to reflect more on SAMR as I implement different forms of technology in the classroom.
As Jennifer discusses in her blog, she is reflecting and realizing she is using technology in more ways than she had expected and is using it more in terms of Modification and Augmentation. I feel my technology integration falls within the same Modification and Augmentation as well.
I know I still use some technology for substitution (youtube videos, brainpopjr, etc.) and that will not really change as I enjoy using those tools to help explain different concepts we have been experimenting with. However, I am using technology more than just as a substitution tool now. I have began to use different forms of technology to help change the task or improve the task at hand.
I have dabbled some with SeeSaw to help not only improve parent involvement and what they have access to, but also to allow the children opportunities to decide what is shared with their parents and make them more accountable in their learning. I am still struggling to find a way to have the children post more, but they have enjoyed trying it and the parents have already made several comments about how much they enjoy seeing different items kids are working on.
Once Seesaw is running more smoothly (hopefully that can be accomplished in the next few week prior to the holidays!) I would like to explore the other tools that Seesaw provides. Unfortunately, I am a very linear thinker so it is hard for me to try something new till I’ve tackled the first thing, but I am working on that and hope to try some new tools after the holidays.
I’ve also attempted blogging and creating global communication. My goal would be to have a blog that kids are more interactive with other kids around the world and have a penpal sort of relationship with. It would be great for the children to learn from other kids around the world and discuss some of what they are learning with them. Unfortunately, that has seemed to fizzle out some, but I hope to bring it back at some point. I had a lot of fun with it last school year.
Following the break, we will also begin to explore ebooks and maybe dabble some in digital storytelling with our new unit “Stories my Grandparents Tell.” The children may be interviewing their grandparents (or parents if no grandparents exist). Hopefully we can gather some pictures from the past and the students can create their stories through an ebook or spark video. I have never tried this before, so I am a bit nervous but I’ve been earning right along side with the children and it has been a great education for me as well.
I do have ideas and I am thinking more about the SAMR while I decide what technology to use, but I still need to work on utilizing my PLN more. I struggle with so many different aspects of technology and often give up, but I forget that I have a massive PLN out there that can help me out if I just reach out and ask. That is something I will need to continue to work on because it would be foolish to give up on an awesome idea or tool just because I am stuck when there are so many people who may be able to help or share their own ideas. The goal is to use the PLN more, but try not to become overwhelmed with all the new changing technology. It is ok to take a step back and reevaluate what is most effective and what can be adapted, changed or tweaked to work with my class.