Hello and welcome to my blog!
This is my first blog post of the 2016 summer season, and I am happy to be part of the Tech-Infused Teacher Professional Development once again with Jaqui Murray (Askatechteacher@gmail.com).
If you don't know me, I teach technology to Pre-K to 8th grade. I just completed my third year of teaching Technology, and this has been my most exciting year yet!(sorry for yelling) I love challenging myself and expanding my knowledge by learning from other professionals, then using that knowledge to relate and transfer it to my students and colleagues in a fun and engaging way!
For example, I use the very popular App and quiz creating website, Create.Kahoot.it! It is a wonderful website where you can create your own online interactive quiz, where students can answer the questions to that quiz from their digital device, whether that be a computer, ipad, or cell phone. Kahoot is a great way to to collaborate with subject area teachers. We can share what we are learning in class, and reinforce that information by creating a Kahoot Quiz about it. If we are learning about rain forest animals in 3rd grade, we will create and take a Kahoot quiz on animals that live in the rain forest. We not only used Kahoot to review and reinforce students' learning in Technology class, and from their subject teachers, but students also research topics of their choice, gathering that information, and creating their own quizzes, to later present, and quiz their classmates! This was also a real way to practice troubleshooting any connectivity issues. If the learner cannot connect to the Kahoot right away, what do we do? We reload the page, retype the pin, or sit and wait until the connection returns. But we don't panic! This is just one example as to why I find teaching Technology. Now on to the question at hand...
The tech infused classroom is a place where we use technology. We use technology. I know, that sounds too simple and too short of an explanation. We use technology for everything! I use technology to teach, the students use technology to learn and teach each other. Students run into a problem on the computer, they know how to solve it, they try to solve it, or they ask a friend next to them to teach them how to solve it, so they know how to solve it in the future. We always explain, step by step, how to do something, never taking the mouse out of someones hand. If you want to teach someone how to kick a soccer ball, you tell them how to kick a soccer ball, then they try and kick the soccer ball themselves. If we just kicked the soccer ball for someone then they would never learn how to become a good soccer player themselves.
If we there is work we want to save for later, we know how to do that in a variety of ways. We save to our flash drives, we save to our network class folder, we know how to name our file so that we can find it easily, and work on it later. We send an e-mail, we upload to the cloud, we know what to do! If the internet is down, we don't panic, if our app isn't working... we don't panic! We use it as an opportunity to learn. We restart the computer, we do something else until the Wi Fi returns. What is paint? Oh, I can use paint, or Microsoft Office, or whatever apps are found locally on my computer until the Internet is back up? That is fine. I won't freak out. To me, these are all examples of what a tech-infused classroom is. Yes, we are learning everything we can with technology as our conduit, but we are also not afraid of technology, we are not afraid of obstacles that sometimes interfere with our learning, we stay calm, we help each other, we learn from each other, we troubleshoot, we use dictionary.com to find out what a word means and we return to that article we were reading, or that document we were typing.
We are digital citizens! We know that the internet is like a pool, that has a shallow end and a deep end. We need to learn how to swim in order to get to the deep end. We need lifeguards, we need to protect ourselves. If the pool analogy does not work for you, then we can use a neighborhood analogy. Don't talk to strangers, make sure your parents know what you are doing, and you need to have some street smarts. Know that there are places that are not safe to go to, and we need to understand those warning signs. Who do we talk to if we accidentally see something we shouldn't, what are the proper precautions?
Finally, we are up to date. We are reaching out to the outside world, and constantly growing because of it. We may have used an app to learn something or create something, but is there something better out there? Is there something that we can learn or use that will make our lives easier, and allow us to be more efficient with our time? I used to have the students upload all of their work to my Weebly account, but now that I have network folders, that process has become obsolete! And I think that is wonderful. These are some examples as to what the tech-infused classroom should look like, and we should be tech-infused learners and teachers as well.
Currently, my personal learning network consists of my colleagues, mentor teachers, you the reader, Jaqui Murray, and as many coding, technology websites, and teachers as I can find! What I need to do is use social media to my advantage. I am missing out on so much because I don't use my Twitter enough to follow other engaged and knowledgeable people. I believe any person you know has an opportunity to be part of your personal learning network because they are bound to know something you do not. And that is such an exciting way to engage life and others. Every person you know is a fountain of knowledge! Isn't that exciting? I am so excited I could go on a 5 mile run. Actually, it is pretty hot, so maybe 3 miles and a half... 3 1/2 miles. Three and a half miles? I don't know... Moving right along.
Finally, curriculum maps!
Understanding what a curriculum map is, I see that I already do much of what a curriculum map asks for. I eat pepperoni, cheese, sauce, and bread! I just haven't made a full pizza yet! I constantly document what I am doing in class, and what goals we want to achieve with that particular lesson. What I need to do is consistently do it for the entire year, and allow other teachers to contribute to it. I want a living breathing curriculum map, that specifically reflects all of the wonderful things we did over the course of the school year. I want a principal, teacher, or parent to look at it and be amazed by what we did! I want to look at it, have a blue print for the next year to grow and expand upon! I want to leave a legacy! That is why I must be better at keeping a more detailed curriculum map!
Thank you for reading. Please comment with anything I missed, or anything you liked, also, if I have typos, or bad analogies that you thought did not make sense, call me out! It will be fun! I will get defensive and delete my blog. Just kidding. But not really. No but really, I am. God bless and thank you in advance for loving my first entry!
Sincerely my best regards for all the best,