Artifact: Tech Lead sb
Artifact: anno bib
As I finish this program, I am reminded how much I truly enjoy the process of trying out new ideas; specifically in the area of technology. I especially value providing meaningful experiences for students that help them learn concepts in ways they find engaging and inspiring. My experiences during the program with http://www.storyboardthat.com and with revising a tried and true project both emphasized to me how important it is to continue to explore, reflect, and revise my teaching tools and methods. I also know that if I am not trying something new I feel like I am not really doing my job, which is to continually improve my practice.
The 21st Century Learning Design program and rubrics (21 CLD Learning Activity Rubrics, 2011) provided me with an excellent framework that helped me examine the use of technology in my teaching practice. These frameworks emphasize technology in a holistic manner, focusing not only on the technology itself, but the collaborative aspects of working in teams while using the technology. Of the many programs and tools I evaluated over the last two years, the Storyboardthat site was one that I found engaging and useful. After experimenting myself and creating a SPU presentation using the Storyboardthat platform (see Artifact: “Tech Lead SB”), I tried it out during a language arts unit with students, who worked in collaborative groups on a fairly open-ended project. The students quickly discovered how to do many things I had not yet figured out. They also quickly tested the limits of the Storyboardthat platform, and found some of the problems with it. This was an important reminder to me that students today are so adept and naturally comfortable using technology that they can play an extremely valuable role in the evaluation process. In the future, I will continue to collaborate with my students in evaluating potential technology tools. As a bonus, the evaluation process can become a 21 CLD project in and of itself!
As part of a literature review I did during the program (see artifact: “anno bib”), I discovered many useful articles and publications related to technology usage. One that stood out was a book that had many real-world case studies and scenarios (Reinventing Project-Based Learning: Your Field Guide to real-world projects in the digital age, 2014). Reading about specific projects, or learning about them from my colleagues as always been a strong source of inspiration for me. I will continue to search out and evaluate real-world examples that have already been tried by others.
Communication is another area in which I am still making many new discoveries. Real-time communication using video tools such as Skype has been shown to be an effective way to connect students with authors and experts that they would not otherwise be able to access (Messner, 2010) and (Foote, 2008). This past year, I did a couple of pilot tests using Skype. I hope to expand my usage, possibly even connecting with other classroom across the world so that my students can exchange ideas with students with vastly different backgrounds and perspectives than their own.
Finally, I now know that I want to continue to become a more active leader in the area of technology in my team and building. Davies (2010) identified the importance of technology leadership continuing to move from an administrative function to a teacher, and even a student, function. While I don’t have any current interest in leaving the classroom, if I was to do so a job related to education in technology would be of interest. For now, I look forward to finding useful ways to help my peers make better use of tech tools that are out there, so that more students have the opportunity to realize the added benefits that come from taking advantage of the tools at our disposal in the district. For next year, I have agreed to become a building technology lead. This will be a great first step in my ongoing efforts to support my own and other teachers’ learning related to technology.
“21CLD Learning Activity Rubrics.” Microsoft Educator Network. Microsoft Partners in Learning, 2011. Web. 1 Nov. 2015. <http://www.educatornetwork.com>.
Reinventing Project-Based Learning: Your Field Guide to real-world projects in the digital age. Second ed. Eugene: International Society for Technology in Education, 2014. Web. 1 Nov. 2015. <www.iste.org>.
Davies, P. M. (2010). On School Educational Technology Leadership. Management In Education, 24(2), 55-61.
Foote, C. (2008). See Me, Hear Me: Skype in the Classroom. School Library Journal, 54(1), 42-43.
Messner, K. (2010). An Author in Every Classroom: Kids Connecting with Authors via Skype. It’s the next Best Thing to Being There. School Library Journal, 56(9), 42-44.