My problem of practice (helping teachers become less resistant to using technology in their classrooms) has been something I have tackling since accepted my new role (Technology Integration Specialist) this school year. With that said, my role has been filled with prototyping! I began one prototype over the summer, another this past fall, a third one this winter (thanks to ideas from MAET!), and I am currently working on a new initiative (more ideas from MAET!). I would like to share all 4 of these prototypes with you.
One prototype is a website I created titled Educational Tech Videos. The purpose of this website is to spark teachers’ interest in different technologies, share ideas for integrating the varying technologies across their existing curriculum, and provide teachers with free resources to use when launching the new technologies.
Another prototype is a student-driven podcast. The purpose of the podcast is to get students and faculty interested in sharing what they’re learning in class and in turn help each other know what is going on around campus (there are roughly 145 kids per grade from Nursery – 12, so it’s hard to know what’s going on from one class the next). To launch this, I went from classroom to classroom and shared this presentation. Next, students were invited to complete podcast applications. When students are chosen for the podcast, I provide them with a participation request and schedule a time to record. Posters were laminated and given to teachers to hang in their classrooms for easy student access, which helped get kids using QR code and their iPads. Check out the latest podcasts here!
This winter, I went to a fantastic Ed Tech Teacher conference. It really aligned with another class I am currently taking through the MAET program (Teaching Students Online). The conference was so inspirational, and I just can’t say enough good things about it… especially our on-site school visit. Design 39 is a unique school that teaches almost everything through the Design Thinking process. Their school has 7 Makeries, and their teachers were SO inspiring. They really made the Design Thinking process feel relevant, and it got me thinking that it would be a fantastic way to roll out how to use the MakerSpace in ways that authentically fit into the curriculum, rather than having the MakerSpace seem like an add-on. My favorite example was about the Dust Bowl. For Teaching Students Online, we are charged to create an online course. I originally began designing a course on Computer Science, but when I came back from the conference I was inspired to change it completely and design my course on Elementary Design Thinking. It’s a work in progress.
Another way I am hoping to bring technology into students classrooms is by launching my next unit on digital citizenship. The purpose of this unit is to teach students the basics of navigating the online world. I think that by doing this, students will be more prepared to use the devices, and teachers will be more willing to use them with the students. In thinking more about it, I want to do this in the fall next year, but this year it will happen in the spring. My idea is to have fourth graders split into groups of two and assign each of the 12 partnerships a topic (i.e. Cyberbullying, Internet Safety, Mindful Messaging, Copyright, Social Media, etc.). I will provide the students with relevant content on their subject (i.e. Private vs. Public Information), and students will use Book Creator to design presentations about their assigned topics. Presentations will be given to each class, and I will also choose groups to also present to third grade classes. Fourth graders will learn about digital citizenship, share their understanding with their classmates and other lower school students, how to use Book Creator, therefore it will be easy for teachers to use it with their students in their classroom (huge bonus). In addition, the Social Media group will have a slightly different task, as I will teach them about Twitter and have them be Social Media Interns, an idea I got from the ICE Conference (I met MAET’s Candace and Mary!) I will teach them about Twitter, tweets, hashtags, @username, and more. Then, they will use my iPad Tweet great things happening around the school. I will have them train other kids to do the same, as a way to share our school’s story!
I’ve learned a lot from prototyping. I’ve learned everything needs revamped, as nothing works exactly the way it was imagined at first. I’ve also learned resilience because even though I am excited about something doesn’t mean anyone else will be. Most importantly, I’ve learned not to give up and to keep heading back to the drawing board. I am determined to get technology flowing through classrooms! 🙂