I have heard of people going down the YouTube rabbit hole, and I have done so myself from time to time. However, this week I found myself going down a Cofino hole as each time I would read one of her posts , I ended up finding several others to re
In coming away from this weeks readings, I am excited to see how this filters down into my own pedagogy. I certainly have some ideas, but nothing concrete yet. We are at the tail end of Q3 at my school with a bit of a break coming up before the last two months of school. I have a general idea of the skills and content I am aiming to cover in my classes, but can already feel by brain percolating with ideas of how to make better use of technology to achieve those aims. To me this weeks readings have really helped clarify the purpose of this course and of taking time to seek out new ideas.
My Own Experience
Cofino’s description of working with a Math teacher nervous about tech integration helped me visualize and understand from her experience of showing others how to use new technology for better results. It made me think to a similar experience I have had within my EAL department in using PearDeck. If you have not used PearDeck before, it is essentially a tool to allow students to answer questions in real-time to questions and share their answers. I created this video for my school community as an overview and this website for a previous course, which both give a general overview of the tool. In my courses, the benefit of PearDeck is that is allowed my EAL students to answer questions on readings or grammar points without needing to verbally give the answer. Students can sometimes be reluctant to share because of a lack of confidence in their English speaking. PearDeck allowed them to submit answers on their computers and then I can anonymously share the classes answers at the front.
In helping students work on their PEA writing skills, PearDeck benefitted the class because we could look at examples of writing on the board together without having to single out whose answer it was. We would dissect the writing to see what was good and what needed work. Students would then have a chance to review their own answers before going on to the next stage. The ease of integration of PearDeck onto Google Slides made it an easy way to start using technology.
I was then able to share this with my two colleagues and explain its benefits to them; one of them has chosen to make it a part of her pedagogy. In addition, as an EAL teacher I have at times run mini-lessons in a class on certain grammar topics if the subject teacher and I felt everyone would benefit from it, and not just EAL students. In this way, I was able to share the resources with other teachers.
Looking back, I think I may have been guilty of looking at the technology first and not the standards I wanted to cover. I do believe that the technology worked for what I was trying to achieve, but my thinking was backward. What I learned from the various posts of this week is that while I can have fun toying around with technology, I need to view technology more as a utility belt.
Further, I have already thought about how the different Google tools I am learning about can benefit learning in the right circumstance. I am planning on starting to create video tutorials for each new tool I learn about and work with Patrick Holt to share with my school community. As part of those videos, I think it will be helpful to include a section on how it could be used in the Design Cycle rather than just giving an overview of what it does.
Grade Level Approach
When we think of new technology to use in classroom to enhance student learning, I wonder if too often we do it on our own. I sometimes look at a students computer and notice they have ten different tabs open for ten different tech uses for their different classes. Now, perhaps this means that the students are able to learn how to use all the different apps and that this is beneficial to them. Or, it could mean they are only able to learn the basic features of the app and not an in depth understanding of it. I also think that having teachers having to agree on technology would help with this big question from this week: How can we effectively, practically, and authentically embed technology within our curricular areas?
By facilitating the conversation amongst colleagues, we would have to think critically about which technology we want to use and why we want to use it. This could help filter out any toys from the discussion that are just for fun (though there is a place for those) and focus on ones that matter.
Questions for the Reader:
Do you think it would be more beneficial if grade levels prioritized using 4-5 specific pieces of educational technology a quarter/term across the subjects to allow students to use them in depth for different purposes?
Would this be detrimental to student learning by limiting their exposure to different forms of technology?