Ever since I embarked on the TLC adventure back in June, I have been waiting, patiently, for an "aha" moment; the moment that I find clarity on the "how" and "why" of technology use in the classroom. Until now. And no, I have not had my moment, but I am no longer waiting for it. "Aha" implies that there will actually be a moment of clarity, but I can come to realize that implementing technology into the classroom, like teaching anything, is a continual series of exploration and discovery, not a trip from Point A to Point B. So, instead of an "aha" moment, I will share a few "yippee" moments that I have celebrated so far this year:
1. K-1 students create Puppet Pals story of their trip around Portland on Metro Bus 8. Using their own maps, buses, and writing each student created a 20-30 second movie of his/her experience. And, it was the first jump into iPad use for some of my colleagues!
2. Global connections Part I: A Google Earth lesson as a launch of our Global Focus week that included "traveling" from a zoomed in image of Waynflete, out to Portland, over the ocean and zooming back in again on the American Academy of Casablanca, Morocco. Which brings me to...
3. Global Connections Part II: A fantastic pen pal (or "cyber pals"?) experience with a first grade class in Morocco. Back in August, at EdCamp Keene, I created an account on the Skype Education website (education.skype.com) and sent an email off to a first-grade teacher at the American Academy Casablanca. What ensued was a series of correspondence between the two of us that culminated, 7 months later, in an email exchange of questions/answers between our classes and a Skype video-chat date. Seeing our students in K-1 talking directly to students in a classroom 3400 miles away (and teaching each other songs!) was magical!
There have been other moments, many of which have just been snapshots in time when I have had the iPads out and seen the collaboration, creativity, and discovery of the students as they explore the iPad. I do struggle with carving out that time for exploration (mine and theirs)...time is so hard to find! Looking ahead I am eager to try out Book Creator and think about the potential for students to participate in documentation and creation of a digital library of the learning we do in K-1. I also just discovered Skitch and see some potential in using it as a way to document/label images of 3-D student work. Voicethread remains on my "to do" list.
Finally a link to an article about the importance of time for PD, training and exploration by teachers. Thanks to Tim for posting this link in our TLC Diigo group (I have not mastered Diigo, but between TLC and an ECETECH group I joined, I have more tech/iPad articles than time to read them; what a great resource!). For Waynflete, TLC is a step in the right direction and I am thankful to have benefited from time this group has been given to devote to technology work.
"When it comes to Technology, teachers need as much scaffolding as students"