I have had a fantastic time completing the VicPLN13 course. It has reminded me why I love teaching and learning with technology so much. It encourages creativity and collaboration amongst students and creates an exciting buzz in any classroom.
This course has encouraged me to write blog posts more often, reflecting on my teaching and learning on a regular basis. To share what I know and what I have learnt.
The highlight for me has been the large amount of Twitter and blog followers I have gained, my PLN has grown greatly and I love it!
Here is a short video I created using the free version of GoAnimate. I had some trouble embedding it, but I got there!
Check out my screencast on Strorybird!
VicPLN by gallagher.jessica.s on GoAnimate
I first attended ICTEV in 2012, and as a first year graduate it was a fantastic starting point for the professional learning journey I have been on over the past twelve months. I made many connections with likeminded teachers via twitter, I learnt how to incorporate augmented reality into my teaching and strengthened my use of technology as learning tool.
This year however I took my involvement with ICTEV to a new height, and presented ‘Learning with iPads’ with my colleague Michelle Meracis. Our session focused on how we have used iPads in a 1:1 setting and how I am now integrating technology into my non- 1:1 setting this year. It was fantastic to hear how many people enjoyed our session!
Some key ideas and thoughts I took away from the day:
• ‘The device should not become the driver’: In other words, technology should enhance the learning of students, not replace the fundamentals of education. Students need to know how to use technology to their advantage, how it can assist them in creating a better quality of work.
• Practical Knowledge Triangle: Knowing what it is, knowing what it does and knowing how to do it.
• Social Media in classrooms should be used for global communication, collaboration, sharing ideas, researching, reflecting, asking questions, sharing links, and creating a digital footprint.
ICTEV13 has led to 3 Jess creating a Twitter Wall (see image below) and making many links with other classrooms and educators all over the world, in only 3 days! A MASSIVE thank-you to Bec Spink for inspiring me!
I can still remember the day my Dad came home with our first family computer. It was in 1994 and I was in grade prep. It was pretty much only used to play games on, all on floppy disk of course. I can’t ever remember not having a computer in our classroom. In the earlier years of primary school we used it for publishing stories and as we got older we were able to use the Internet for various projects. As I moved into high school my understanding and use of Technology developed. We were taught how to touch type, create Excel spreadsheets and use search engines effectively. In year 11 (2006) I got my first social networking account, My Space. Prior to this I had only ever used MSN messenger. In 2008 I opened a Facebook account and a Twitter account followed in 2011. In University the Internet was used to gain an understanding of particular topics and units.
I would say that my progression with Technology has most greatly developed during my time as a teacher, over the past 2 years. I have learnt how Technology can support student learning, create stronger links between home and school and engage those usually disengaged students. In order to do this effectively I have had to learn how to use particular tools, such as Twitter, effectively. I have learnt how to troubleshoot issues that I would never have been able to fix myself in the past, things as simple as a Wi-Fi connection.
I think Technology is fantastic; it has a great power to keep us in touch and up to date with current affairs at the touch of a button. However I can also see it as being an incredibly dangerous tool. We do not only interact with one another via Technology, therefore it is imperative that we are able to apply daily etiquettes to online situations. For example most people don’t go around in day-to-day life abusing somebody over their opinions, so why should this be considered acceptable online? Simple, it shouldn’t.
We, as educators, are responsible for showing students how to interact with one another in real life. We teach them what is acceptable behaviour, and what is not. And I think it is just as important, as much our responsibility, to show them how to be a good citizen online. It might be a bit of extra work, and maybe a juggling act, but we need to help our students to be good citizens, online and offline. Students need to understand that their contribution is important, whether it is online or offline. They should be willing to share and discuss a (polite) opinion or idea whether it is in the classroom, at home or on Twitter.
My 5 characteristics of an effective learner were: Curious, creative, organised, collaborative and motivated. I believe technology can support all of these.
Technology has a way of bringing out curiosity in all students, particularly those that are disengaged. In my experience I have found that as soon as Technology is involved in learning those particular students become motivated and excited by what they need to complete.
Technology allows students to be creative in many different ways. They can publish stories, edit photographs and explore build things. They can also share this creativity with the world through sites such as Twitter and apps like Wattpad.
Organisation can be developed using Technology. Students can create bookmarks, folders and clouds to store information. One would hope that this organisation would rub off onto their everyday organisation skills, ultimately benefiting their learning.
Collaboration is a characteristic that is considered an imperative part of technology at Manor Lakes P-12 College. I believe that Technology develops skills associated with team work. Students can work together on a laptop or iPad with ease and then naturally these skills will flow over into their everyday skills.
Motivated is another one that links quite nicely to disengaged learners. They often become motivated to achieve, or complete tasks, once what they are doing appears to be ‘fun’. For example if a grade 6 student had the choice between publishing a narrative on a piece of poster paper or on a blog or a wiki for a global audience, I would say in most cases publishing their work on the blog or wiki would win over more students.
I think in the future Technology will continue to play an important role in learning and teaching. Teachers will adopt the idea of global classrooms, there will be less face to face time with students, digital portfolios will be used more and the collaborative skills of students will continue to grow.
I like to use note taking apps such as Popplet, Corkulous and Lino to take notes on my iPad during PD and PLT. I then either email the link to myself or take a screen shot and save it Drop Box to ensure I have it ‘backed up’ and am able to access the information at anytime and on any device. I always use the same email for anything I sign up to online and attempt to use the same username (depending on whether it is available or not) and password. I keep track of these on my iPad and upload the document to Dropbox for safekeeping. In regards to bookmarks, I have only ever saved these to my browser, on both my iPad and AppleMac. But I have always organised them into folders so I am able to easily find what I am looking for. I usually share any resources or ideas with colleagues via email, or a shared Dropbox folder.
One challenge I have been trying to overcome in recent months is my desire to takes notes with pen and paper. I really like to take my classroom anecdotal notes in this format and have been investigating alternatives for this through discussions with colleagues. However I really do like the idea of using Evernote to take these anecdotal notes and I plan on running a trial in Reading sessions during the first few weeks of term 2.
I think that the teaching of workflow and organisation is extremely important for students. Many people (students and adults) struggle with these concepts in everyday life and when technology is added to the mix it can be almost overwhelming. Something I have never done, regretfully, is explicitly teach students technology based organisational skills. Many of my students in my 1:1 iPad classrooms did place their apps in folders named ‘literacy’ or ‘numeracy’ etc. on their iPads, but only one or two were using apps such as Diigo. If teachers were to introduce and explicitly teach students how to use apps such as Evernote and Diigo I think it would significantly change the outcomes of student learning in an extremely positive way. There would be less stress over finding where something is saved and more focus placed on the quality of work being produced.
Digital technologies and internet access have changed our lives in such a way that it is imperative we begin to organise our digital selves. As an educator I use digital technologies and access the internet everyday and for many different reasons. If I do not take the time to use apps such as Evernote and Diigo and to organise my browser I am not doing myself any favours or making my workload any lighter.
Check out my first shared Evernote by clicking on the image below!