And the Technology Integration Begins!
This was my first full week at the K-8 Charter School as the new technology instructor. Technology has been used minimally by the teachers at the school during the ten plus year history of the charter school. As stated in an earlier blog, Integrating Technology: Technology Tools to Develop a Collaborative, Participatory School Community Learning Space, the principal got excited about the potential of technology integration across the curriculum during and after my interview, wants it, but also knows it needs to be a process driven my the teachers.
I explained to the teachers that I want to support classroom learning expeditions when the learners come to me for their computer class. I also told them that I am willing to show them technology-based tools they can use to enhance their classroom activities. I know many of the Web 2.0 tools and their potential for instructional applications (as a wear as a badge of honor for my addiction to social networking, online webinars and conferences, and hanging out in places like Second Life). Based on conversations with the school principal and my own experiences/intuition, I understand that that technology integration needs to made as an offering to the teachers. They need to decide if and how these tools can be incorporated and integrated into their own classrooms.
So this first week was one of preparation as the students start after Labor Day (first weekend of September for the United States) . . . and to my pleasant surprise, several “incidents” of technology integration occurred.
During this pre-school week, I assisted teachers with technology integration . . .
- The principal asked to me to use Wordle for a warm-up for a staff training session. The teachers were instructed to throw out terms that represent how they felt when learning something new. I created a Wordle from their responses. Several teachers told me later that they plan to use Wordle during the first week of school.
- T., the Community-Based Curriculum Director, discussed with me the use of Movie Maker to showcase the students’ service projects. In the past, the parents and kids took photos and then T. used Movie Maker to showcase them. I showed her Animoto. She practiced using photos from the pre-school family picnic that occurred this past week. The next day she excitedly approached me, stating that she now plans to offer students the choice of using Animoto as a means of reflecting on their service learning, that she can then mash-up the students’ Animoto videos for her end of semester service learning presentation.
- J., a Junior High teacher, worked with me to set up a PBWorks site for the Junior High Africa Expedition. Students will work in small groups to study countries and post their findings on the their PBWorks page.
- I showed Shelfari during my interview. J. and several of her junior high students set up shelves last spring and actively participated over the summer. I worked D., another Junior High teacher, to show her Shelfari as she and J. are planning to use it for their JH reading project.
- M, a middle childhood educator (3rd-4th), and I set up a Weebly page for her classroom and created/inserted a PollDaddy survey to assess her students’ learning style preferences.
- I also showed M. VoiceThread as a Digital Portfolio. She is now considering using Voicethread for the student-lead parent conferences.
- A., a Kindergarten teacher, asked me to help set up a classroom page for parent information.; and L., the special education coordinator, wants a parent site for homework so she could add IEP-based accommodations. I wanted to get other opinions about this so I went to my trusted network on Twitter. The recommendations for this included using Google Calendar for the homework with accommodations and Google Sites for the classroom pages. I asked via Twitter for some example classroom pages using Google Sites and here is a list of what I received:
This was a good first week! Lesson learned: Technology integration needs to be approached as differentiated instruction for the teachers. They are the users in this case and need to generate their own education. They should be presented with a choice menu and then given the support to develop the tools and technologies that address their abilities, interests, and teaching styles.