After reading through the previous blogs I wanted to highlight all of the amazing things Wix-Brown has done with technology this year. I felt a need to compete with the other schools as this would mean I was successful as a DL coach in moving our school forward with the use of technology. I was hoping to reflect on our positive experiences thus far using technology, but unfortunately things don’t always go according to plan.
Wix-Brown currently has seven divisions, with four of the classroom teachers, including myself, new to the school this year. As newish teachers at a new school many of us were just trying to survive the first few months of school. And although there was an interest in technology it seemed that during the first few months it was not the main focus of what we were doing in our classrooms.
As a first year DL coach I was very excited and nervous about our first school technology day where I would have a chance to work side by side with colleagues who were a bit hesitant in using technology in the classroom. I set up a schedule and was excited to work with one teacher who had never used ipads with her class and one teacher who had previously had a problematic experience with the COWS.
The best laid plans....
My TOC needed to teach my class was called away to another classroom. When the morning bell rang and I realized that I did not have a TOC, I quickly ran to my colleagues to tell them that I wouldn’t be able to assist with the Learning with Technology lesson. One teacher was able to reschedule with me for later in the day but the second teacher (the one who had never used iPads with her class) decided that she was going to give the lesson a try on her own. Quickly did she learn that some of the free apps only go so far. Needless to say, her first experience with the ipads was not something that she wants to repeat. The lesson with the COWs later in the day was also unsuccessful due to our slow internet connection. By the end of the day, I think many of us felt that our efforts to modernize our lesson plans had failed and we were left feeling more technophobic than ever.
Glitches like this happen every day in tech-centric classrooms. Whatever the reason: websites crashes, poor internet connection, or a network can’t handle the increased traffic- it doesn’t really matter. What matters is how you learn and grow from the experience.
At Wix-Brown we are not giving up. We currently have an order placed for more iPads, which will give us one complete classroom set. We are in the process of adding quality apps to our iPads. Instead of planning a lesson around technology, we are beginning to incorporate it into our everyday lessons, asking ourselves, "Can an iPad help me with this lesson?”
An example of this is a recent Kindergarten art lesson on self- portraits. Every year I pass around a mirror and ask my Kindergarten students to draw a self-portrait. This year, I decided that YES the iPads could help me with this lesson. I did the lesson twice. You can see the results: the mirror lesson(left) and the iPad lesson (right). The iPads enriched what I was already doing in my class.
We have one classroom website up and running with a lot of positive feedback from parents and a grade 5-6 class writing their own personal blogs. Some of the primary classes are using the iPads daily during literacy centers, and an iMovie of K/1 students reflecting on what peace means to them played during our recent Remembrance Day Assembly.
So, yes, technology is being used in our school, it is not flawless and it never will be. We are learning to embrace Technology as we realize the many benefits Learning with Technology in the classroom.