Designing a unit or modifying an existing unit using the Technology and Information Literacy Standards should be a piece of cake after everything we’ve learned during the COETAIL course! I believe I am very lucky in one way to teach mainly in grade 6 where we have the luxury to work with kids who have 1-to-1 laptops. The tool is always on hand, the students know how to use it, and there are great opportunities to share ideas with colleagues and to get support. Like I said earlier in my blogs, I also feel that it has enriched my teaching in a way that I can reach out and be connected with the digital world. But on the other hand… it still is a bit threatening too.
There are definitely expectations that come with that and honestly I don’t feel very tech savvy and most likely never will be. But my confidence is growing and I have been able to incorporate many ideas and strategies from the course in my teaching. I remember the first project I did with grade 8 EAL students using technology and communicate ideas and learning through a class blog I started. There were so many different skills embedded in just one project! As an EAL teacher I always look for opportunities for my students to acquire language and I found that in the combination of a blog and the use of digital communication.
For this semester I want to continue to focus on my EAL students to become effective communicators and effective creators as an ongoing goal and I am hoping to find many opportunities for them to use appropriate media and to use appropriate technology. Although the first week back at school in January isn’t even over yet, I realized that when I plan a lesson or assignment for my students, I always think about ways to share their learning and using technology for it. My 7th graders are using their choice of program to create a New Year’s poem video for which the have to write a poem, find images using creative commons, choose music and upload it on YouTube. It is fascinating to see how my students create this with ease showing their enjoyment. Even more fascinating I found how powerful some of their poems are and the visual and music choices to support it. There are definitely glitches and moments that I feel frustrated not always knowing how to do some of the technical parts because I’ve already forgotten it, but there’s always a kid who has an idea and they help each other using their communication and creative skills.
My other class in 6th grade wrote reflections on their blogs after a visit from Any Pag who drives his bio diesel truck around the word and spoke to our Middle Schoolers about his experiences. There were still so many questions that my kids had that we decided to record that and see if we could find some answers. Unfortunately we could not meet him in person but we made a short movie with a flipcamera and we looked at his website and wrote about it in a blog reflection. Maybe we’ll be in touch with him online in the near future. During this course I’ve discovered the Flip camera as a great and easy to use piece of technology. We are very fortunate to have many Flip cameras at school we can check out from the library and since a few months I have my own. The session we had with Mark was super handy because I learned to also how easy it is to use the Flipshare program to make movies with the students. For me this wonderful piece of technology is the number ONE tool to help integrating technology generally into my work as a specialist teacher who works closely in a team teaching situation with a core teacher, but is every teacher’s job to integrate social media specifically into the educational process.