Course 5 Final Project

That’s a Wrap

Well it is now the end of November and the end of my COETAIL journey.  To say that this has been a challenge is an understatement.  I knew it was going to be hard work but balancing all the other changes going on in my personal life was a bit overwhelming at times.  I am not going to lie at times I wanted to throw in the towel but I am glad that I didn’t.

Below is the unit planner.  Even though I had an envisioned a different path for this unit to go, I am still pleased with where it ended up.  As a unit which is heavy in vocabulary and filled with so many new concepts and skills, this “How To” project was a breath of fresh air.  It empowered my students by giving them time to revisit these concepts and skills so they could understand them to be able to teach other students.

Just like I asked my students to create a storyboard I did one myself for this project.  As I was building mine I showed it to the students and they were quite impressed!

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-4-17-22-pm

After days and hours of compiling pictures, videos and voice recording it all came together.  I am quite pleased with the final product and I hope you enjoy watching my journey through this final course video.

 

Posted in Course 5 | 2 Comments

Making Connections

Pumped UP

When I started course 5, I was so anxious.  I am very much a planner and try to put forth my best effort in everything, but this thing really got me going because I had NO idea what I was going to do therefore I couldn’t plan.

Then one afternoon after collaborating in a PBL meeting, I was physiqued because I had an idea. I not only walked away with an idea but got some great feedback from my colleagues.  Just to make sure it would work and I scheduled a meeting with a fellow COETAILer, Trina.  She was quite insightful and shared some valuable resources she had come across as well.  Great stuff, I had a plan.

Fizzle

Well then life happened.  I was trying to balance a new school, new role, new curriculum along with being a new mommy.  Phew! Before I knew it a few days turned into weeks…EEEK!  I quickly got myself in gear and sent out some emails and tweeted that I needed help.

Luckily within my small PLN I had some responses and people willing to lend a hand, listening ear, or be a sounding board.  Unfortunately as I tried to get the resources I needed for my project, it just wasn’t happening.  Roadblock, after roadblock, after roadblock. Sigh.

So a frantic email was sent to Rebekah trying to change directions. Luckily she understood and like any good educator, wanted me to reflect on the experience but still try to apply it next year!

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-7-59-24-pm

Trying to get an authentic audience for my students I reached out to my school community and my former school grade level team.

piccollage-1

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-8-00-07-pm screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-8-00-45-pm

Done

So even though I had great intentions to reach out to more of my PLN, it didn’t happen.  Could I have done a better job being more engaged throughout my project?  Yup! But I just had too many balls in the air and did the best I could at this point.  Going through this process has definitely been a HUGE learning curve for me but I am thankful as it has opened new doors for me and I hope to continue to use what I have learned going forward.

Posted in Course 5 | Leave a comment

Spinning Wheels

FAIL (First Attempt In Learning)

In my last blog post I was all excited because I found a topic, matched it with my standards and had a REAL connection for my students. Unfortunately as I reached out to the community it felt like roadblock, after roadblock, after roadblock came up.  Tweets were sent out asking for individuals to be interviewed who had an autoimmune disease. Emails and phone calls were made to various hospitals, clinics and individuals within the medical field requesting statistical data on autoimmune diseases here in Bahrain.

piccollage

After two weeks of chasing people and information and getting nowhere, I decided I needed to call it a day and find another project…back to the drawing board I went.  With my current science unit already on its way I needed to think of something quick because time was not on my side.  So I reviewed the rubric again and decided that my students could make short “How To” videos of the different concepts / skills they had learned thus far in the unit.  With these videos I could check for their understanding but also share them with other teachers / grade levels who study similar topics / skills.

Rereaching out to the community, I did a quick survey of my own school and found 3 teachers who could benefit from a few “How To” videos.  Taking the idea global, I reached out to my former coworkers at SIS (fully knowing they had an environment unit towards the end of the year) and as always they were game and happy to help.

It’s The Final Countdown…

So with the final week here it is my hope that I will have a few student videos to share or at least their outlines in my final video.  They have really enjoyed this unit thus far.  Below are a few sneak peaks of what they have been learning.

img_6741

A-red sand B-yeast C-crystals D-radish seeds E-brine shrimp

img_6740

Radish seeds and crystals reacting to the environment

img_6710

Students gathering materials to make their own minipond for later investigations.

img_6750

Learning how to use the microscope

Paramecia alive and well in our miniponds.

Needless to say this has been quite the journey.

 

Posted in Course 5 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Beginning to an End…or is It?

And Then There Was One…

One more course that is!  Wow where has the time gone?  Just this time last year I was starting my endeavor with COETAIL as a grade 4 teacher in China.  Now I am wrapping up my course as a grade 6 math/science teacher in Bahrain and a new mom.  Time sure has flown, and I don’t want to waste any more so let’s get started!

The Plan

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my final project just a few short months ago, but after being back in school for 6 weeks and getting a feel for my students, curriculum, and professional learning community, I think I have found a good seed.

During our first professional development 1/2 day, we were given time to start thinking about which unit we could take this year and make it into project based learning (PBL).  I thought that this would be great to kill two birds with one stone and use my PBL unit for my final COETAIL project.  So as I was reading through the science standards trying to get a grasp of them, my colleague came over (teaches 7/8 science) to see how I was getting on.  After a very long conversation and a LOT of idea dropping, we started to develop the idea of my project/unit, Diabetes Awareness TED Talk with the guiding question of “What are the environmental and genetic factors affect diabetes in Bahrain?”.   I choose diabetes because the rate is quite high here in Bahrain so that would make it more real for the students since it is in their community.  Plus I had already started a list of individuals / organizations to contact as resources (Diabetes.bh, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University of Bahrain, etc.)

I quickly got started making a poster to share my thinking with the whole group.  After everyone was done we hung them up and did a gallery walk.  That walk was great because I got some useful feedback to help me continue my idea and change my guiding question, “How do environmental and genetic factors affect diabetes in Bahrain?”.

img_6682

Connecting With Others

Another colleague, Trina, is completing course 5 as well, so I wanted to run my idea by her to get some feedback since she knew the specific requirements for COETAIL.  The meeting with Trina was very eye-opening as I thought I had a good idea to start, yet she helped me rethink some things so my project changed once again.  Instead of pigeon holing myself into just diabetes, she suggested I open it up to autoimmune diseases.  Also with branding it as a TED Talk would take time and since that is not on my side we are going to start our own version called Riffa’s Views.

What is my Plan Now

So my plan is to continue with the guiding question “How do environmental and genetic factors affect autoimmune diseases in Bahrain?”.  I would also like a “So what?” part where the student can decide an appropriate action plan / next step (Do they just want to educate others about this autoimmune disease which is in Bahrain; Is there a way others can prevent it? etc.).  I need to finish up my current unit in science before launching this.  So in the meantime I need to work on my PLN and toss out my idea to other MS teachers for feedback, guidance and suggestions!  I really want this to be a great unit.  My coworker is excited about it as well because she has already envisioned on how she can build upon it with her grade 7/8 students.

My only concern is time.  I won’t be able to launch this for another few weeks which will give me only a few weeks to teach before I have to start reflecting my final project.  Hopefully I will have some good evidence from my students to share, but I will make sure to post final projects when they are done.

End Result

So in the end I am hoping that students will really be able to understand and articulate their understanding that all organisms are composed of cells, cells carry on the many functions needed to sustain life, and cells can be affected by environmental and genetic factors.  It is my hope that the students will be able to find a connection locally or within their family to help drive their learning during this unit.

Posted in Course 5 | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Course 4 – Final Project

This or That

After reading several blog posts, it appears that I am not alone in this course 4 final project dilemma.  I am not the only one who has decided to move to a different role, different school and different country for next school year.  Yes planning for my course 5 final project unit is going to be a bit more difficult but not impossible.  So with many unknowns up in the air until my feet are on the ground in my new “home”, I have decided it would be best to write down a few ideas I have in mind instead of writing an entire unit.  Hopefully one of these ideas will come to fruition, but we will have to wait to see.

Photo Credit: Autonomous Crumpled Paper by David Mellis via Flickr (

Photo Credit: Autonomous Crumpled Paper by David Mellis via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

I am very excited to be moving from an elementary role to grade 6 math/science.  The programs / materials in which my new school use to teach these subjects are Haese Harris International series for the math and  FOSS for the science.  I am new to Haese, however I just completed a program called Mathematics Specialists in International Schools and would love to apply some of the key components from that within my units.  For the science I am a seasoned user of FOSS, however at the elementary level.  Even though it is pretty scripted there are always ways to alter within each investigation.  After viewing my school’s curriculum map, I just chose two units near the beginning of the school year as possible units.

Option #1 – Equivalent Expressions

  1. Describe the project: What will your students do?
    During this unit students learn how knowing the lowest common multiple and greatest common factor allow for them to solve real world problems.  I am not sure as to what the project will be exactly but I am searching for something where students can apply their new learned information to real world scenarios. What would be ideal is to have scenarios which happen to them on a regular basis so they can see the value of these skills. I will have to wait and see what inspires me after my arrival!

    Photo Credit: The Flipped Classroom by AJC1 via Flick

    Photo Credit: The Flipped Classroom by AJC1 via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

  2. How does this project reflect your learning from COETAIL?
    I have learned quite a few new things while completing the different COETAIL courses.  I have also quite enjoyed my journey with all of its ups and downs and twists and turns. I can definitely say that it has gotten me out of my comfort zone by allowing people whom I don’t even know view my ideas and gain a glimpse inside my classroom from afar!  So with this particular unit I would like to do some flipped classroom learning to get the information to the students prior to the activity.  That way we can use class time to problem solve and work in groups to find a solution and discuss the different paths to get there!
  3. What goals do you hope to achieve with this project?
    Again my goal is to find a thought provoking question or problem which will engage my students to use their prior learning along with the new skills to find a solution.  It goes beyond just finding the answer but the process of collaborating and problem solving which will take place along the way.
  4. Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?
    I think that this unit is good because I am applying an idea I have never used in my class before (flipped classroom).  I believe that this approach will actually improve the level of engagement and interest to not so popular topics in class!!
  5. What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?
    My main concern about redesigning this unit, is I have never taught the original unit which was outlined by the previous math teacher so it is a bit hard to redesign something you have never taught.  From looking at the outline via Atlas I am hoping that the changes which I make will compliment the standards and the learning.
  6. What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?
    If I want to do to the flipped concept I really need to be thoughtful as to what information I will supply the students outside of class.  I will also have to be thoughtful to the problems or activities I propose to the students.  I want them to be challenging but engaging.  I want them to be hands-on and thought provoking to create a lot of discussion within the students.  Phew, that’s quite a goal but I am excited for this new challenge!
  7. What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?
    Through my years of teaching it seems that as I move up in grades, students’ attitudes towards mathematics seems to decrease almost to a level of hate.  I believe that is solely due to the fact math sometimes becomes rote memorization filled with formulas which have no real connections to the students.  I hope with this new unit students will have a better understanding of the skills but also see how it is useful in the world around them.

Option #2 – Introduction to Science Inquiry

  1. Describe the project: What will your students do?
    This unit was originally designed to expose students to several different experiments so they fully understood what scientists do, how they record the process and findings, and the common vocabulary used when completing investigations. This is an important introduction to science inquiry at the beginning of the year, as it sets the stage for what will be expected of students as they continue their role as “scientists” throughout the course.
  2. How does this project reflect your learning from COETAIL?
    During this unit I would like to implement what I have learned about citing resources (primary from experts, media and information), using visual notes, and presentation design.
  3. What goals do you hope to achieve with this project?
    I hope that within this unit students learn how to assume the role of a scientist and the different steps they need to take when conducting an experiment.  They will also research information to support their inquiry but record it in a way to understand the new information they have gained and, then present it in a logical way.
  4. Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?
    I believe that this is a good unit for my project because it in corporates several different components which I have learned. Research is a huge concept in many grades and it is important students get into the habit of giving credit where credit is due.  Also instead of imposing my style or preference of note taking, students at this level need to be recording their ideas in a way that makes sense to them. Lastly, after gathering the information and organizing thoughts, students need to practice on how to them deliver the information.
  5. What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?
    Some of my concerns for this idea are the same as the above.  This is a new curriculum so I am kind of going in blind.  Once I can get my hands on the materials I will have a better understanding if my idea could work or not.
  6. What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?
    I think the biggest shift for me is going to be the visual note taking.  When I was going through school especially secondary, we were mandated to record our notes in a particular style and format.  And to be honest I never looked over them after taking them in class.  I want to expose my students to different ways of doing things.  My way is not always the best way.  They need to find what works for them.
  7. What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?
    Stamina, taking risks, and using a critical eye.  Students need stamina to not only find the information, but useful information from credible sources.  They need to take risks when trying something new, like doing visual note taking (that will be one for me as well)!!  Lastly, when putting together their presentation they will need to use a critical eye, ensuring the images or information they broadcast is clear, cohesive and compliments the information they need to deliver.

Final Thoughts

Overall I am confident that my final project for course 5 will be very different than the above.  It is my hopes that it is much more refined and focused once I get on the ground.  Here’s to new beginnings!

Posted in Course 4 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How We Use Our Devices

Getting the Device

At the beginning of the year as a 4th grader, my students receive their own iPad. The grades below 4th grade share iPads so this is a BIG deal! I really love how my school has taken into consideration several Do’s and Don’ts with the iPad and with each year it seems to get better and better.
We begin with a parent / student information meeting before students get their hands on devices.  Our Technology Coaches have an opportunity to share information and parents can then ask questions.  At the end of the meeting students are given important documents to take home, review what was shared, and discuss with their parents.

A few days after the meeting students receive their iPad.  We all sit together and go step by step setting up the iPad.

iPad2

Managing the Device

The first several weeks after receiving the device, students have lessons on the different apps to download, the appropriate use in class, and expectations in general. As I read through 23 Things About Classroom Laptops, it was interesting to see that many of their suggestions on proper use were ones we already address with our students and their iPads. To manage all the apps, we only have students download the ones we use during that time. As we go through new units then we add more apps. That way they aren’t overwhelmed with too many apps and they have time to learn each one.

We always get the question from parents about screen time and how much exposure their child should get.  Throughout the year we have to remind everyone that the iPad we issue to them is a “LEARNING DEVICE”. Students are only allowed to download pre approved apps by their teachers. At home, students should only use their iPad for homework and / or projects. It is NOT an entertainment device.  One challenge is ensuring that the contract signed by parent, student, and teacher is being followed at home. We have had many situations where the parent feels that the iPad is the child’s and therefore can’t take it away.  We have to remind them they are still the parent and if the iPad is being misused as per their signed contract, the parents have every right to take it away. I might even direct some of my parents to this article, How Much Screen Time is Okay for my Kid(s)?, in the future!

So in the class students quickly learn that just because they have an iPad doesn’t mean that they will use it everyday, all day.  It is a tool.  Just like a hammer has a specific purpose so does the iPad.  Since we are the first grade to have 1:1 in our school, it takes a bit of time to get students used to its features and possibilities. Each year we have to pry them away from apps just because they are “fun” or “cool”. By the end of the year it is amazing how much they have learned.  Many are then able to decide for themselves the proper apps to use for different tasks. And that is what it comes down to. Empowering our students with the correct tools so that they can be successful, and problem solving on their own.

Posted in Course 4 | Leave a comment

Am I Out of a Job?

 Everyday Life Now

Living in a big city, I commute to work each day.  As I travel between home and school I am amazed by how many people are caught up in their own little world.  I walk down the street and people have their faces down focused on their devices.  I sit on the subway, faces down watching a show or playing a game.  A bus drives by, faces down all plugged into a screen.

Then I arrive to school.  We are very fortunate as we have many devices for students to use. In my grade level we are 1:1 iPad which is great! Students have a great resource and tool at their fingertips. However with this being my 8th year teaching students in a 1:1 environment, I am becoming a bit more concerned.  With each year it seems “screen time” is increasing, and face to face interactions is decreasing.

So what will the future hold?  For educators?  For our students?

The Future of Education

As a teacher, there are so many resources available online it is crazy! Just in this course alone, I have been overwhelmed with all the new ideas and possibilities (MOOC, flipped classrooms, etc.).  I love having more resources available, but in the back of my mind I am concerned that the more that is available via online, the more others might start to question the need for teachers.

As I was reading “The Classroom Is Obsolete: It’s Time for Something New“, by Prakash Nair I had some “Ah ha!” moments.  First I was quickly reminded the core reasons why I teach.  They are best summed up with these following principles:

“The following is a fairly universal list of education design principles for tomorrow’s schools, though it would be tailored to the needs of particular communities: (1) personalized; (2) safe and secure; (3) inquiry-based; (4) student-directed; (5) collaborative; (6) interdisciplinary; (7) rigorous and hands-on; (8) embodying a culture of excellence and high expectations; (9) environmentally conscious; (10) offering strong connections to the local community and business; (11) globally networked; and (12) setting the stage for lifelong learning.”

I love how the focus is on particular principles and not just content!  As I continued reading the following part about designing a school for tomorrow, I got excited! I was able to envision the potential and power of a community working together to help their students, the future, developing the roles and responsibilities needed for them to survive and prosper.

“In designing a school for tomorrow, such underlying principles should drive the discussion. They would allow us to address questions around how students should learn, where they should learn, and with whom should they learn. We may discover that we need teachers to work in teams, that parents and community volunteers are available to help, that businesses will offer off-site training, that community organizations will permit the use of their recreational, cultural, and sporting facilities. We may conclude that it makes no sense to break down the school day into fixed “periods,” and that state standards can be better met via interdisciplinary and real-world projects.”

Wouldn’t that be amazing! The teachers would be the conductor. So even though more and more resources are online educators are still needed to help direct our students into the right direction.

Making it Happen…One Step at a Time

It is one thing to put something down on paper or to talk about it, it is completely different following through and doing it!  So how will this work in my classroom?

Next year is a new year, a fresh start.  I am moving countries, schools and positions.  Just today my principal emailed to inform our team that we will be offering exploratory classes where the focus will be on problem solving and collaboration.  How perfect is that?? An opportunity to reach out to the community and involve them with what we are doing.  I don’t know what I want to off

Posted in Course 4 | 2 Comments

It’s All Still Teaching!

The “Flipped” Classroom

I first heard about “flipped” classrooms from a colleague of mine a few years ago. It sounded interesting, however I never got the courage to try it out. To be honest I didn’t fully understand the process and it sounded like a lot of work having to make videos and post them. I was already struggling with balancing my time as it was, so I stayed away from it.

Fast forward to now…After reading several articles I got a better understanding of the process. I loved the cycle discussed in the article The Flipped Classroom Model: Full Picture. It didn’t just tell me what I already knew; give the lectures as homework and do practice / collaboration in class.  It gave me ideas of what I could do to move the students along in the learning process, and that is EXACTLY what I needed!

Not only did it give me an overview, but then it went further into each section to explain it in detail.  Very helpful!  Now my opinion was changing a bit as I felt more comfortable with the process. But that still didn’t address the video issue!

As I continued my reading I stumbled across Case Studies and the Flipped Classroom article by Clyde Freeman Herreid and Nancy A. Schiller. It quickly reminded me that I already have a resource to use which I am familiar with, Khan Academy. I have used some of the features with students during math class.  However I could stretch myself to see if the science could be used as well. Also in the article was a link to BozemanScience.  It contained already made videos on different topics. I watched a few and felt that they would be good to use as well.

Challenges

Now that I have a better idea of the flipped classroom and some resources, what’s next? I need to think of my situation and decide how I can make this work! Next year I am moving from an elementary teacher role into a math / science middle school teacher role.  So far I am feeling pretty good with one resource for math and two for science. I also know that the students at the new school I will be teaching at have their own devices so they will have the capability to view the content at home. Great!  So what else?

The only two concerns off the top of my head were 1.) The internet.  2.)  The content.  Depending on the speed and time of day, there may be some issues with viewing videos at home.  But I won’t know it until I try.  For the content, I need to get familiar with the standards and then see if resources I have will match.

Change

For me I do see the value of flipped classrooms and would love to try it next year. Just like many things in this course, I am being pushed into new and sometimes uncomfortable situations.  And that is ok!  I encourage my students to be risk takers all the time, so I need to lead by example and be one too!

 

Posted in Course 4 | Leave a comment

Make it Real

Oh How Times Have Changed

It is interesting how education has changed over the years and decades.  One particular area is mathematics.  As I was skimming the different readings, I enjoyed the following:

“If you know the history, this is the way that mathematics happened: It started not as this beautiful, pure product of the abstract mind. It started as a way of thinking about controlling the waters of the Nile, building the Pyramids, sailing a ship…”

“In school, we reverse that process. We start off teaching pure math…you learn to do manipulation of numbers, then you learn to do algebra, then you learn to do calculus, and at last you can apply it to something real. ” – Seymour Papert: Project-Based Learning

I have been completing the Mathematics Specialists in International Schools (MSIS) course for the past two years and it has really looked at how we teach math.  For so long teachers have taught only the arithmetic of math and not the practices (applying it to real world situations). Therefore we were challenged to revamp the way we taught and have our students focus on problem solving and explaining their thinking in many different ways. This thinking goes right along with project-based learning, in my opinion! Make it real, open-ended, and full of problem solving!

Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning is very powerful within any classroom, at any level.  I really enjoyed the video from Rigorous Project-Based Learning Transforms AP Courses and it reminded me of the power that Project-Based Learning can have.

Perimeter and Area

One of the measurement units I taught dealt with teaching students the concepts of perimeter and area. After an introduction and some practice with the skill, my students received a fun challenge. They became architects who had to design an apartment with exactly 140 sq. meters.  They first drew out their ideas on graph paper and then built it in a planning app (HomeByMe was a favorite within my class). Now the fun part was when they exchanged their blueprint with a friend, and their role quickly changed from architect to construction worker. They had to follow their friend’s blueprint and build their apartment in Minecraft. Students quickly learned the value of labels, units and MORE!

Here are a few of their reflections after completing the unit.
Chloe        Claire        Minjun        Thomas        Wan Jin

Challenges

In my opinion project-based learning is definitely the way to go whenever possible and appropriate.  Students are more engaged and most will rise to the challenge with some even surpassing my expectations.  The biggest challenge for me is coming up with the ideas. I want to make lessons authentic and fun, however with so many other demands in my day, it comes down to time.  I don’t always have the luxury to search for new ideas and I usually need the lesson plan yesterday!

I am excited for next school year though, as I will be switching roles. I am going from “teaching everything elementary teacher” to “math/science grade 6 teacher”.  In my new school they are wanting to shift more towards PBL so I know that I will be encouraged to dive further into this world!

 

 

Posted in Course 4 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Technology Integration…Embedding Technology…Same-Same?

What is “Technology Integration”?

I was thinking about how I would define “technology integration” before completing the required readings, and I would have said it is the use of technology within the classroom to infuse or enhance the learning taking place.

As I began reading the different articles and blog posts, these quotes caught my eye:

“When technology integration is at its best, a child or a teacher doesn’t stop to think that he or she is using a technology tool — it is second nature.”  – What Is Successful Technology Integration

“What if we truly acted like technology was just part of us, part of education, part of educating students today. What if we start embedding it and stopped integrating it?” – I don’t want to integrate it, I want to embed it!

I agreed with what each was saying.  Technology should be seamless and not seen as an additional entity needing to be squeezed into an already full and demanding curriculum.  Technology should be a necessary part of the whole working together with all the other parts to produce something amazing and meaningful.

Does it Work?

Now this is a loaded question.  If it is a part of the curriculum, like an added tool, then yes it works!  However, at times I feel there are road blocks which get in the way.  Sometimes I feel as a teacher I am not given the time or education to learn or practice the “tool”.  Therefore when I try to implement it, it isn’t as effective or meaningful as it could be.  I have also witnessed teachers who are eager to tryout the latest and greatest technology because they could.  That is wonderful that they are jumping right in and trying things out, however it seems the BIG picture was lost = “Why” are they using that tool?

It is important to keep in mind that any tool should not be used because it is a new toy, all shiny and exciting.  It should be used because it can assist and help drive instruction and add meaning to a lesson / unit.  When I use any tool I try to make sure that it fits best with the skills I have, skills my students have, the job I need it to do, and the time we have available.

TPACK vs SAMR

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org

I was already familiar with the SAMR model but this was the first time I had heard about TPACK. I enjoyed reading and viewing the visuals on TPACK, but since I am most versed in SAMR I will use that model to evaluate my own practice of technology integration.

 

SAMR Model

Photo via flickr

 

 

 

In my classroom we are 1:1 iPads.  Last year was my first year teaching in that kind of environment so I was in survival mode.  Most of what my students did using their devices was definitely at the substitution level (i.e. writing stories, taking photos, taking notes, etc.).

This year I feel I have more things under control, and therefore having more meaningful and intentional ideas when using the device along side my students’ learning.  I would say that we are definitely passed the substitution level, currently living in the augmentation level and dabbling in the modification.

I feel that the approach which worked for me was easing my way into the levels; I look at them more like a progression.  I had to get used to the device and its functions first which allowed me to see how I could use it in some of the ways I use other tools.  After that, I started making connections on how I could take it to the next level, moving away from the substitution phase.

My school is very focused on technology integration.  The teachers and administrators understand and recognize that technology is a HUGE part of the future and therefore we should help our students use it but in appropriate and meaningful ways.  As I was reading Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?” The Reasons Are Many  I came across this quote:

“In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts.”

This sums up the attitude my school has with technology.  It is a great tool to use but should be seamless and just another tool we use to educate and prepare our students for the real world.

Posted in Course 4 | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment