New teacher wanting to implement technology in class

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by wtamarsha, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. wtamarsha

    wtamarsha Rookie

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    Hi All - I am working on my teachers certification (Early Education- PK3-3rd) and we are doing a module on "The Learner and Learning in the Digital Age". . Hoping to get some insight from teachers who are intermediate to advanced in implementing technology. If you are willing to help by 6/5/16, my questions are below (answer what you can). Thanks!!

    Technology Usage Interview


    Do you have technology in your classroom? If so, what?


    Do you use technology in your classroom? If so, what?


    How effective is the technology you use?


    What is your favorite technology (tool, system, online site)? Why?


    Is technology something that your principal or administration spearheads or is it more grassroots when trying to get new technology into your school?


    How is technology funded?


    Do you collaborate with other teachers or groups when trying to implement technology in the classroom? Is there training or knowledge sharing?


    How do you integrate technology into instruction?


    What questions do you keep in mind as you plan lessons that incorporate technology?


    What is your goal when implementing technology?


    Is there technology that you plan to use or look forward to using? If so,what it is?


    Why do you want to use this new technology?


    Have you run into any significant roadblocks with trying to implement technology into your classroom?


    Have you had any big wins when using technology?


    What advice can you offer me as a new teacher interested in integrating technology into the classroom?


    What has been the greatest benefit of using technology in your classroom?


    Please share a lesson plan that you have used that integrates technology?
     
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  3. fjaravata

    fjaravata Rookie

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    Jun 2, 2016

    My responses are bolded. I hope this help, but if you need more info, we can discuss further.

    Do you have technology in your classroom? If so, what?
    Yes. Here is my school
    K-2 - full class iPads (~20)
    3--8 - 1:1 IPads for boys and girls school (~400 iPads)
    9-12 - moving from 1:1 iPads to Bring Your Own Device
    Various laptop carts in every floor
    Each classroom has an Apple TV
    Robust wifi connection
    We use Google Apps for Education for our workflow
    We use Haiku Learning as our Homework, class grades
    We use Blackbaud for our grades/citizenship
    We also have a flexible maker space with 3D printers in Elementary and High Schools
    We have an in-house coder to help teach coding
    Teachers have school provided MacBook Airs and iPads


    Do you use technology in your classroom? If so, what?
    Yes we do. All tech must be tied to each grade level curriculum. Ex: 3rd grade uses iPads to design bird and 3D print them. 3rd-8th grade creates movies, greeen screen, podcasts and Lego Robotics


    How effective is the technology you use?
    After 5 years of experimenting, implementing, training and continous support, its very effective. Now, we do have tech problems of course, but we usually figure it out (we have an amazing IT team)


    What is your favorite technology (tool, system, online site)? Why?
    My personal favorite tool is Google Apps For Education and Canva. GAFE because its the back bone of our workflow. Saving files is so easy compared to 5-10 years ago.
    Canva as it helps me design great looking slides, posters and other stuff. So much easier than Photoshop---and its FREE!


    Is technology something that your principal or administration spearheads or is it more grassroots when trying to get new technology into your school?
    Our 4 Heads of Schools and President and Director of Innovation are all on board of our goal of intentionally using 21st century tools.


    How is technology funded?
    There is a tech fee that is included into tuition and in budget


    Do you collaborate with other teachers or groups when trying to implement technology in the classroom? Is there training or knowledge sharing?
    Yes, my role is to train teachers on 21st Century skills and tools that is in line with our school goals, Design Thinking and the 4C's. There are two other colleagues like myself called Educational Innovation Coordinators. We also bring in experts to help us and we send many of our teachers for PD.

    How do you integrate technology into instruction?
    We always look to the learning goal first. we then choose the right tool for the right project. We encourage our teachers to try new tools and use them in different ways.

    What questions do you keep in mind as you plan lessons that incorporate technology?
    What is the learning goal and the learning experience will our students get. Then we determine the workflow and see the time table of projects.

    What is your goal when implementing technology?
    The learning experience and the skills our students to create and not just consume.

    Is there technology that you plan to use or look forward to using? If so,what it is?
    We look forward in using laser cutters and hand tools in our flexible learning maker space. Other makerspace tools and skills include electronics and arduinos/raspberry pi

    Why do you want to use this new technology?
    We believe that new technology should empower our students' voice and expression. We also see the current and near future changing workforce and are guessing that our students will need the 4C's more than ever.

    Have you run into any significant roadblocks with trying to implement technology into your classroom?

    Yes, but get resolved fairly quickly.


    Have you had any big wins when using technology?
    We have lots of Ta-Da moments and share them in my ATLIS Deep Dive Talk which you can find the slides and a podcast here. I co-presented with my new friend Leigh Northrup at the Cannon School in North Carolina.

    What advice can you offer me as a new teacher interested in integrating technology into the classroom?
    Make sure that the learning goal is first and foremost. Determine which tool is the right tool
    Use Design Thinking and don't worry about the final product. Its about the learning process. And i have more to add, but i want to keep this short.



    What has been the greatest benefit of using technology in your classroom?
    The empowering of students voices, especially the ones who can get lost in the mix. The collaboration that is happening


    Please share a lesson plan that you have used that integrates technology? Check out the slides and find the Ta-Da moments I share.
     
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  4. wtamarsha

    wtamarsha Rookie

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    Thank you Fred! Really enjoyed the podcast and it along with your answers above have really given me a lot of insight. I was intrigued that so much of the conversation was about maker spaces, empowering the students, and having them take on responsibility. I will take a deeper look into the different tools you have mentioned as well. Biggest challenge will be integrating the technology into teaching core standards and working within a small budget. The school that I sub for and hope to work at full-time is at the early stages of using technology but would like to be more STEM/ STEAM focused and currently has a limited budget. Thanks again and I look forward to any other advice you would like to pass on!
     
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  5. fjaravata

    fjaravata Rookie

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    Jun 3, 2016

    No problem! I'm glad what I wrote was helpful. As for small budgets, focus on the learning and not the technology---don't "teach" powerpoint, keynote, microsoft word or whatever. Teach to the learning goal with the tech as a tool. And remember, pencil and paper, scissors and glue sticks and cardboard are (low) technology as well. Its about the 4C's!
     
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  6. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Jun 4, 2016

    Do you have technology in your classroom? If so, what?
    My first year of teaching was the first time I ever, ever saw or used a computer. It was a TI 99-4 A (I think is what it was called.) I began as a Teacher Aide, so one of my jobs was to find applications for this computer. I rushed out to the shopping mall and bought my first computer for (believe it or not) $100.00. The very next day, the newspaper reported that Texas Instruments would stop production of the TI's. In the classroom, it was mostly used for drills which I programmed in Basic. I'm not convinced it was better than non-tech methods of practice, but it greatly increased my knowledge of computing. At another school, we had a computer lab that again was only for drills, mostly in arithmetic. A few years later, at another school, someone donated a small PC that included some math software--the most used was a program to design and operate a lemonade stand. The students used it during spare time, so there wasn't enough time to fully apply the program. This school also had a computer lab, again, used just for drill, but in a variety of subjects, which eventually also included keyboarding. As time went on, we acquired more up-to-date PC's, about 2 or 3 per class, and one for teacher use. Keyboarding became required in the 2nd and 3rd grade computer lab classes, and the classroom PC's had various uses. (I've been out of teaching for awhile due to cancer recovery). I've mostly taught in private schools.

    Do you use technology in your classroom? If so, what?
    My latest use was mostly for drill and keyboarding. I used Power Point to teach some lessons, including lessons students could view individually. I also used the computer for visual aids and auditory aids (such as music). The computer at my desk was used for grading, I created my own spreadsheet for this, and lesson planning. My home computer was used to find supplemental material for lessons.

    How effective is the technology you use? When I first began teaching, it was mostly used because it was technological. Everyone thought, 'Wow! We're using computers now!' Time could have been better spent with teacher created practice. Also, the text on older computers was difficult to read. The current software provides drill that can't be duplicated non-technologically--it is more individualized, more motivational, and includes upper level thinking skills. When I was still teaching, the problem of starting and stopping without finishing a program was still an issue. I'm assuming students now can pick up where they left off. When Windows would change, a lot of former software would become trash-ware; the software was expensive, and that was a big setback for a private school. I had some lessons using the Internet, but that was only available in the computer lab; each student was at an individual computer, and I sat in the back to ensure everyone was on task. These lessons made supplementing the curriculum easier and more efficient; the old method was to search for visual aides to photocopy or cut out of magazines and hold up for the class to view. Websites, such as NASA's, are designed for students to navigate through on their own and are on their reading level.


    What is your favorite technology (tool, system, online site)? Why? I found quite a few applications for spreadsheets to use in the classroom and for my own personal use. I've used several spreadsheets to supplement my lessons.


    (Oops! I accidentally erased that question). Who spearheads computer usage and acquisition at the school? It was equally a parental and school board movement.


    How is technology funded? Mostly through donations. Several times, businesses would donate outdated computers. We were extremely excited one year when a technologically advanced business donated their "outdated" computers which were close to what we'd get if we bought them brand new! Some software and computerized toys were obtained through Campbell's labels and Boxtops for Education.


    Do you collaborate with other teachers or groups when trying to implement technology in the classroom? Is there training or knowledge sharing? We gained information from younger teachers with more technological knowledge, workshops, and old fashioned trial and error.


    How do you integrate technology into instruction? Computers are a tool. As I mentioned above, at first computers seemed magical, but now they are just seen as a tool, same as a blackboard, whiteboard, pencils, paper, and textbooks. I don't use technology just to use technology. I do find an overused technology to be DVD players; (I still remember the first DVD I showed. I had to ask an elementary student to show me how to work the machine)! Anyway, when I first started teaching, movies and filmstrips were supplements to specific lesson objectives. Now, it seems like a school's DVD collection is a mini-motion picture theater. DVD's are shown as rewards or to keep the class occupied while the teacher catches up on busywork--personally, with respect to other opinions, I find this to be a waste of valuable classroom time. I found that in the latter years of teaching, I was the only teacher using videotapes and DVD's as supplemental to the lessons.


    What questions do you keep in mind as you plan lessons that incorporate technology? Same as for any lesson--stick to the outcomes the lesson is supposed to teach. I use technology to enrich the lesson, but I don't use a lesson as an excuse to use technology.


    What is your goal when implementing technology? Again, technology enriches the lesson. I do see a second goal of exposing students to current technology that will be part of their college and career life. Had I not played around with a TI back when I first started teaching, I might have been lost later on in my teaching career. Today's students, when they graduate, will feel like their classroom technology was prehistoric, so exposure is important. They get some of it at home, but more up to date exposure can be obtained at school. When current tech companies supply schools with equipment, this benefits them more than advertising, since these are their future consumers for newer products, and today's students will drive the tech advancement of the future. (I just read about a fifth grader who was trying to design a car that runs on gravitational forces for energy. That's the kind of thinking that will expand technology in the future).


    Is there technology that you plan to use or look forward to using? If so,what it is? I've always dreamed of using an interactive white board, especially with rear projection. Something I've been considering lately, I remember when I was in elementary school, we viewed captioned filmstrips. This was the equivalent of modern "big books", only projected on a screen and used in all grades, not just Kindergarten. I've pondered how this tool could be resurrected. I plan to use Powepoint to duplicate this older technology. A further advantage would be that students could create their own "filmstrips" for use by the next year's class or by lower grade classrooms. The advantage of captions are that the students would be reading the presentation rather than listening to a narration. New vocabulary would be better presented with this method due to visualizing the use of the word in pictures.


    Why do you want to use this new technology? It's a better design for whole class instruction. I also think the old "robots" from back in the 80's, might be nice to have in an elementary classroom, just as a tool to expose students to robotics, (and for fun).


    Have you run into any significant roadblocks with trying to implement technology into your classroom? Getting older equipment to work was sometimes a problem.


    Have you had any big wins when using technology? I've seen how current technology supplements lessons better than what could be accomplished without it.


    What advice can you offer me as a new teacher interested in integrating technology into the classroom? What you are doing now is the best advice. Talk with current teachers and read the research in professional books and journals.


    What has been the greatest benefit of using technology in your classroom? In the beginning, computers were of little if any benefit, and even a distraction and a waste of time. Currently, they are sometimes, but not exclusively, more productive than other methods of teaching. Now, I know this is old fashioned, but I still recall a TV episode of The Streets of San Francisco, where the older detective explained to the younger detective that he writes his thoughts on a blackboard to better see patterns he's searching for. Then he said, "That's why teachers have been using blackboards for years." I still find myself using the blackboard as the most efficient tool for many lessons.


    Please share a lesson plan that you have used that integrates technology? My favorite lesson was to allow the students, in the computer lab, to explore NASA's webpages to supplement what was learned in the textbook in class.
     
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  7. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Just want to second this, especially since you specifically brought up STEM/STEAM. We've ended the year with a series of STEM building challenges in my class and so far the materials we've used are tape, index cards, drinking straws, and string. The kids love it and beg for activities like it.
     
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  8. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Do you have technology in your classroom? If so, what?

    I have a SMART Board, a document camera, and 12 iPad minis. I also share an iPad cart (20 iPads, although one broken) with my teammates.

    Do you use technology in your classroom? If so, what?


    I use the SMART Board and document camera every day. I use the iPads at least once a week with each group I teach. (I only see my kids every other day so usage fluctuates a bit depending on how often I'm seeing each group that week.)

    How effective is the technology you use?

    Pretty effective. This is my first year teaching full-time and my district is just kind of tip-toeing into tech stuff so I've done a lot of playing around this year which means sometimes it's been more effective than others. But getting there. I've definitely learned a lot already about what the students enjoy and what's actually beneficial as opposed to just being more bells and whistles.

    What is your favorite technology (tool, system, online site)? Why?

    So far the things I've probably used the most are EDPuzzle and Nearpod. EDPuzzle has helped me differentiate for students during independent time (students can watch different videos or watch the same videos and answer different kinds of questions based on their ability/need) and helps keep students engaged and on-task. Nearpod is just super versatile. I've used it for whole group instruction, small group centers, and independent work and I love the instant feedback it provides. I also love that on Nearpod days I don't have to sharpen any pencils or collect any papers. :) We also did a green screen video project that went over really well and I'm hoping to do more things like that.

    Is technology something that your principal or administration spearheads or is it more grassroots when trying to get new technology into your school?

    I would have said it was more grassroots at the beginning of the year, but about halfway through the year the district started implementing a plan to move towards more blended learning so there's been more support for teachers interested in getting and using tech and more openness to instruction looking different than the traditional lecture and notes. I would say is still largely teacher-driven, however.

    How is technology funded?

    Great question. Not entirely sure. I know we have gotten some donations from local businesses in the past as well as it becoming a bigger piece of the budget. I know a lot of teachers in the district have also gone the route of personal fundraising through things like Donors Choose. That's how I got the iPad minis I have in my room.

    Do you collaborate with other teachers or groups when trying to implement technology in the classroom? Is there training or knowledge sharing?

    Yes, though this is all relatively new. The district started a blended learning team (which I'm a part of) which is a group of teachers across the district receiving special training and professional development. The idea is that as we learn, we reach out to teachers in our own schools and do a lot of knowledge sharing, training, encouraging, all that good stuff. That'll kick in more next year though so it's hard to say at this point how it's going to go. We've had good response at my school so far so I'm hoping this is something that will really start to take off next year.

    How do you integrate technology into instruction?

    As others have said, I try to start with the learning objective and go from there. Is there a way to use technology that will help me more effectively reach that objective? I will admit, however, that this year especially, I have occasionally chosen a tool just because I wanted to try it. I have one group that is particularly easy-going and willing to try different things and I've told them they're my guinea pig class (which they love) and sometimes we just play. Definitely doing that with the intention, however, of figuring out how to use these technologies more seamlessly and effectively.

    What questions do you keep in mind as you plan lessons that incorporate technology?

    Is the technology really making this lesson better in some way? Does this technology incorporate tech skills that my students will need for the future? Do my students have the tech skills necessary for this or I am going to have to do a lot of talking and training beforehand or as we go along?

    What is your goal when implementing technology?

    Increasing engagement, giving students the opportunity to create something, to demonstrate their learning in a different way.

    Is there technology that you plan to use or look forward to using? If so, what it is?

    As stated above, I'm hoping to do more things with green screen as well as maybe some stop motion or animation-type stuff. I'd love to bring more creativity into my classroom and I think my students would really enjoy that kind of stuff. It also gives the non-traditional learners a different way to show what they've learned and a different way to engage with content. Many of my students read and write below grade level so tapping into their creative sides, stuff their good at, is fun, and I think encouraging for them. Through a grant, we're also getting a classroom set of Nearpod VR headsets so I'm looking forward to trying out some virtual field trips.

    Why do you want to use this new technology?

    Whoops, mostly answered above.

    Have you run into any significant roadblocks with trying to implement technology into your classroom?

    I work in a high poverty area and many of my students don't have computers or Internet access at home. Up until now, the district also hasn't been very tech-rich. Because of that I found that I had to do a lot more teaching of basic skills than I expected to have to do with 6th graders (signing onto a network, how to type in a URL, basic web searches, opening new tabs, flipping between two open tabs, typing in general). These things were all easily enough addressed but just more time-consuming than I anticipated. Next year I'll address these better upfront. Our network in general bites and when we're all trying to use devices, it's not unusual for people to get logged off which is frustrating for the kids. For now at least, getting new apps approved and pushed out to devices involves a lot of time and red tape. I've kept the iPad minis I got through Donors Choose tied to my personal account for this reason. While I have to pay for anything I put on them, I can put whatever I want on them.

    Have you had any big wins when using technology?

    Engagement has definitely increased across the board. And as I mentioned earlier, the opportunity for kids to express their learning in different ways is huge. It's allowed my low readers and writers who struggle with traditional academic work to feel some success in the classroom and as we know, any experience with success is a boost. One of my lowest students killed it during the green screen project - she was a total rock star - and it was the first time all year she seemed proud of herself, just grinning from ear to ear through the whole thing.

    What advice can you offer me as a new teacher interested in integrating technology into the classroom?

    Keep learning objectives in mind, but don't be afraid to experiment either. It's the only way to figure out what works for you and your students. Get feedback from your students on what technologies/projects they did and didn't enjoy and why. I've gotten some very insightful feedback, things I might not have thought of, that will help me make changes and tweaks moving forward. (This might depend on the age of the kids you teach, of course.) If you're not on Twitter, get on it and look at hashtags like #edtech and #edtechchat. You'll find tons of great resources and ideas and lots of great support. Don't be afraid to move slowly if that's what you're comfortable with. And like I said, in my previous response, don't feel like you have to use high tech methods all the time. Index cards, straws, string, tape, cardboard tubes work just as well for some things!

    What has been the greatest benefit of using technology in your classroom?

    As stated above, finding different ways to assess students and giving them different ways to demonstrate learning and reaching those non-traditional learners has been by far the best benefit. Increased engagement.

    Please share a lesson plan that you have used that integrates technology?

    During our weather unit, small groups chose some form of extreme weather and researched it - what causes it, what are the effects, where is it likely to happen, what are some tips for being safe during it. Then they wrote a newscast script and filmed a green screen newscast "live" from the scene of their extreme weather. They loved it.
     
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  9. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jun 4, 2016

     
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  10. wtamarsha

    wtamarsha Rookie

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    This is great to know - that not having high-tech options does not have to limit creativity and STEM learning. Is there a site you go to for finding such projects or do you just let your creativity go wild?
     
  11. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Jun 6, 2016

  12. wtamarsha

    wtamarsha Rookie

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    Jun 6, 2016

    Obadiah - Sincere thanks to you for your help in making this assignment a success and all the nuggets of wisdom. Health and happiness to you!
     
  13. wtamarsha

    wtamarsha Rookie

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    Thank you teacherintexas. Your help and insight is greatly appreciated!!
     

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