Monday, December 30, 2013

My Educational New Year's Resolutions

Recently I found "The 4 C's of Technology Integration" when browsing twitter one day (not sure what I found it). To me it was such a precise way to explain the different ways we can integrate technology in the classroom; it succinctly explains what I find myself rambling about often.

A few weeks ago the technology department placed a sign with this message in the workrooms at school. The thought was it might help someone see another opportunity for technology integration in their classroom:

How are you using technology in the classroom today?

  • Creation
  • Consumption
  • Curation
  • Connection

In the midst of thinking about the new year and the things I wanted to accomplish, I decided I would also set some New Year's Resolutions for myself regarding these 4 awesome C words. So here are the challenges I am placing before myself regarding technology integration:
CREATION: I want my students to learn a variety of different ways to share what they have learned. This school year we've used Haiku Deck, Google documents, Tellagami, Word Collage, Toontastic, Popplet, and Morfo (among others). I've tried to give my students varied opportunities to learn different apps for creation purposes. This semester I hope to have the opportunity for students to use the Show Me app, to use some video creation (I need to research this idea more), and have the upper elementary grades learn how to use a PDF annotator.
CONSUMPTION: I feel like we've done this well this first semester. While we are not using any e-textbooks at this point, we use the Internet and various apps for our students to do research on a variety of topics. For some grades, this might mean researching websites I've already found for them, for other grades it means learning how to look for quality information using a web search. My goal for this next semester is to really teach these kids how to protect themselves from things they don't want to see when researching. I want to teach them how to find great resources by using good key words and knowing how to know if a site is legitimate or not. I want to research more child friendly web browser options as well.
CURATION: This is the area I hope for the most growth in myself as an educator. Content curation in my eyes is having students seek out a topic, they use their senses and current knowledge to sift through the information to keep the parts that seem most relevant and important to their learning. Curation allows the students to make their learning relevant to themselves. This semester, we sought to help our second graders study Native American tribes, we then broke the students into groups researching certain tribes and then each member of the group researched a certain topic (i.e.- food, clothing, shelter, etc.) This allowed students to learn how to sift through all the research about Native Americans and focus their results. I would love to do this in a way students could actually choose what direction they want to go as they start studying a subject area. I see this as a hard skill to teach and will continue to research more on this subject.
CONNECTION: In the elementary school this last semester students have sent emails to their teachers, shared documents on Google Drive with their teachers and fellow students, they have collaborated on a document at the same time, and the third graders actually FaceTimed with a missionary in Germany to learn more about geography. I find myself holding back in this area due to the fact that I deal with elementary students but I do want them to see how the use of technology can connect them to greater learning opportunities through collaboration.