As I presented at my annual First Grade Parent Night yesterday evening, I had one point to make. In my classroom, pedagogy is the still the driver and technology is the accelerator that takes my lessons to new heights. Technology is fully integrated into my first grade classroom. My students use iPads to publish their stories so they can share them out with authentic audiences on Twitter and on their blogs. They engage in mathematical problem solving where they actually use apps to solve to the problem and then use presentation apps to share out their thinking with classmates. The students practice reading in online-leveled book rooms and practice their spelling in engaging spelling apps. I make my weekly read-alouds available a week early for the kids to listen to at home so we can have amazingly rich and deep, conversations in class about those books. We learn coding and computational thinking in our Design Thinking Clubs and then apply our learning to our class robots. Technology permeates every aspect of our classroom learning environemnt and this can often lead to some discomfort with parents and other educators.
I am a true believer in the importance of integrating media literacy lessons into even our youngest learner’s educational journeys. Renowned educator Michael Gorman writes “transforming technology into a blended learning experience has become a necessity for those educators wanting to engage student centered learning in the 21st century classroom”(Gorman, 2015). He continues, “while it is possible to create a successful and highly interactive student based learning experience without technology, it is technology that can amplify the learning experience” (Gorman, 2015).
If educators are lucky enough to have access to technology, it is my belief that they have a responsibility to use those tools to integrate them. There are many models to aid students. Teachers can become familiar with the SAMR and TPACK models. Both highly effective models believe that technology is most powerful when it is used to take lessons teachers have always taught to new heights. TPACK believes that the most effective 21st century learning happens when teacher’s content knowledge, pedagogical practices, and technology all intersect. Ruben Puentedura, the designer of the SAMR model, is quoted as saying, “not viewing any one of these as being the most important. Some say that it’s the learning that counts, and that technology is only the way to get there. But the research has shown the goals we want to accomplish can only be done with technology. It’s not just the way; it’s the way that allows us to get to the goals we couldn’t get to otherwise” (Mobile Learning, 2012). When technology and media literacy is used to enhance and boost your pedagogy and content then teachers will naturally meet their standards and benchmarks they need to meet. It is just about taking those lessons that meet the standards and making them better.
Integrating technology and medial literacy into classrooms in natural and seamless ways will create best practice and exciting teaching experiences.
Gorman, M. (2015, June 10) Beyond the Shine: Supporting technology with the SAMR model plus 10 great resource sites Retrieved from https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/part-1beyond-the-shine-supporting-technology-with-the-samr-model-plus-ten-great-resource-sites/
Mobile Learning Presents Opportunities and a Challenge to Modern Educators. Knowledge@Wharton (2012, October 16). Retrieved from http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/mobile-learning-presents-opportunities-and-a-challenge-to-modern-educators/
I am attempting to "flip" my first grade classroom this year making my classroom more accessible and purposeful. According to the Flipped Classroom Network, the definition of flipped learning is "a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter". I truly feel that taking the pressure off 6 and 7 year olds from having to listen and retain all the important information they hear in 15-20 lesson is highly beneficial. By using dynamic and thoughtful video content, children can have multiple access points to the information. I can send the video lessons home a few days before the actual lesson for children to watch and process. This way our actual discussion of the topic will be more in depth and accessible to my students. I can also make the content readily available for children to view when they encounter questions and problems in class.
I teach first grade so the producing and locating quality video clips to support these lessons is quite the process. Jennifer Hillner from Edutopia writes "teachers all across the country are finding that judiciously chosen videos help students engage more deeply with the subject matter, and recall the information they've learned longer". I turn to YouTube all the time searching for video content. When approached with patience and a critical eye, YouTube can be an amazing resource. Here are some things I keep in mind as I search for content:
Length: I use the advance search feature to filter out videos over 4 minutes long. This is always a starting point for me.
Watch and take notes: I always watch the videos and jot down notes of the video's main points and objectives. If those clearly match what I am looking for, then I move to the next step.
Engaging, not distracting: I want my videos to be engaging and not distracting. Video creators on YouTubes are always searching for the best way to "hook" children. Some of those methods can be a little over the top and sometimes creepy. I tend to stay away from those videos.
What is the source?: I generally only like to take videos from fellow educators or educational institutions. However, if I watch a video and the content is really good and meets my above steps, I will probably still use it.
This year will be quite the journey and I look forward to sharing it with anyone else interested in "flipping out" in first grade.
Here is a link to learn more about Flipped Learning: http://www.flippedlearning.org/Page/1
Hillner, J. (2009). How to Use Online Video in Your Classroom. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/youtube-educational-videos-classroom
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