How I use Technology
I have always used technology in the classroom. This is my third year teaching, after graduating straight into a school which had a 1:1 laptop program and interactive whiteboards in every classroom.
The big change for me this year has not been how much I used technology, but how I used technology.
In previous years, the technology was teacher-focussed. For example, when using interactive whiteboards I am tempted to use them for lecturing to prepared slides shows. Both the screen, and teacher’s computer are at the front, and when I rely on them I end up being tied down. I revert to acting as the ‘sage on the stage’, with students only using their laptops for taking notes and completing assignments.
Something had to change.
I set up a website.
It wasn’t much, and really, it was just there as a way to store my traditional, lecture-style slide shows. What it did allow was students to go back and check the notes after the lesson, or if they missed it. It also meant parents could have a window into the learning – though what they seem to access most is the page with due dates.
A Work in Progress
It has changed a lot since I set it up. Student feedback and my own experiences have led to both restructuring and cosmetic changes. Before long I realised I needed to give it a name: “Go to the website thingy” is not as clear an instruction as “Go to the Learning Space.” As I worked through the first semester, more and more content has been added.
The other thing that has been changing is the focus. My aim is to move along the continuum shown below. So far, progress is slow, but reassuring.
I feel that the provision of accessible, curated content has gone very well. Focus areas for the next six months are:
- Resources used as ‘base camp’ for further learning (in progress)
- Provision of teacher-made videos for instruction – ‘Flipped Learning’ (in progress)
- Creation of student-made videos for instruction (planned)
- Students using reflective blogging to record their learning (just started)
- Students providing majority of resources and writing content for the Learning Space (planned)
- Co-planning and creation of learning journey (Unit Plan) with students (planned)
Although the focus has always been the learning of my students, there have been a couple of very positive ripple effects. Firstly, students from other classes have started accessing the content of the Learning Space as a supplementary resource. Secondly, other teachers have shared with me their interest blended learning and flipping. I have delivered a brief flipped learning session to the whole staff, visiting Indonesian teachers, and have convened a group who are sharing their sites and stories, and helping each other grow their skills in this area.
Watch this Space…