July 20

CHANGE: The only constant in education

texting_teacher

Teachers’ willingness to change is a key variable in successful technology integration (Sugar, 2000 & Yu, 2013).”

     As a teacher, do you ever sit back and wonder if, times will ever STOP changing? Our profession is wonderfully complicated. We are always accumulating new knowledge and skills, experimenting with new resources and technologies…aaaaand and leaping tall buildings in a single bound!

     Teaching is not for the faint-of-heart. The work we do is consistently intense, compressed, time-sensitive, and kind of unpredictable.   I know this to be true. I feel it. I live it, every day. More often than not, I leap out of bed in the morning, race to get dressed, scramble to upload the files I didn’t upload the night before, since I was marking and lesson planning until 2:00am.  Then I usually cram a piece of gluten-free toast with jam, or banana in my mouth, and call that breakfast.  I arrive at school, running through the day in my mind, opening up 5 SMART Board files, turning on classroom computers, cuing-up video announcements, taking a parent phone call,  answering the Learning Support Teacher’s questions,  prepping to collect the 28 permission forms and accompanying money (that will likely not come in a Ziploc with the student’s name on it), and orientating a teacher candidate through my role as an elementary school teacher. Sound familiar? Piece of cake, right? But more than anything else?  Teachers every day are gearing up to try something new.  More-and-more these days, teachers are venturing into “unchartered learning”…along with their students.  Because new…is…the…new norm and at the pace that change is happening these days, teachers and students are learning in tandem.

    CHANGE.  It is only constant in education these days.  That, and kids forgetting their homework.  Today, teachers are experiencing the push-and-shove to integrate technology into their classroom programs. As the opening quote indicates, successfully integrating technology into a classroom, requires the teacher to have a willingness to change (Yu, 2013).  Technology integration did not burst onto the education scene, rolling-out a “go-live” date on some day in January of 2010.  No! Hardware, software, devices, apps, and inservice did not just land in our laps.  No, technology use in the classroom has been incremental, varied, inconsistent, and…almost optional. Teachers like me, who were excited by technology as end-users in our personal lives, began to bring it into our classrooms just to engage and excite our students.  Over time, and with critical thought and careful planning, technology integration has begun to seep into our instructional practice. But what if you are a person who does not use, or even like technology? What happens in your classroom?  This is the kind of inconsistency that exists for our 21st Century Learners.

      I think about my own 8 year old son’s grade 3 experience, as a good example of the varied learning experiences and the exposure our students might get with a classroom immersed in technology integration. Some of our students might luck-out, others might not. For grade 3, my son was in a 1-to-1 iPad classroom with a brilliantly progressive and talented 21st Century teacher, Ms. Michelle Cordy.  Cordy stretches the frontiers of teaching in Ontario, by choreographing  classroom  experiences using her catchy pedagogical perspective of, “Hacking the classroom.”   Cordy describes “Hacking the classroom,” as a mindset that will help teachers make the most of the current affordances and constraints in education today.”  She goes on to assert, “If we start thinking like hackers, in the playful and innovative sense, we will be ready to make, capture and share outstanding teaching and learning events (retrieved from http://hacktheclassroom.ca/about/). “ BAM!  That’s it!  With emerging technologies changing faster than both curriculum development and pedagogical theory can rewrite itself, teachers everywhere are going-it-alone! But here is the question…what kind of classroom will me son learn in next year? How will his attitude and motivation towards learning change? What might his perception be of the teacher, or of grade 4 be, if technology integration is not present? I don’t know the answers. But these are the kinds of questions I roll around in my mind when I assess the state of teaching and learning in today’s classrooms. How does one child’s education compare to another child’s, when technology integration is so varied and inconsistent?

Ontario is a wonderful place to teach. There are not many places in the world where teachers enjoy the pedagogical freedom that we do.  I feel that I have the freedom to make the best professional decisions when it comes to planning the teaching and learning to take place in my classroom.  The Ontario Curriculum guides me along the way, but my methods and practices are whatever I decide to be appropriate and effective.  Cordy is bang on! We need to think like hackers, and break the status-quo of teaching and learning.  When we get innovative and move beyond the current constraints of the curriculum and available resources, we can begin constructing learning experiences that are meaningful and relevant for our 21st Century learners.

Next up…Let’s explore what the research can tell us about how, Teachers’ attitudes towards Technology Integration are impacting how they incorporate technology into their teaching and learning experiences. 

How do you feel about technology integration? Does it excite you? Does it scare you?

July 18

Teachers helping teachers

Five passionate, innovative, and resourceful teachers have banded together to try to get to the bottom of the best recipe for building a technology integrated classroom.  As we work tirelessly on completing our Intermediate Teacher qualification this summer; Adrienne, Kathleen, Nathalie, Lizzie and Heidi are happy to share the challenge of how to upgrade our classroom, upgrade our pedagogy, and jump on the EdTech train.  As teachers in the 21st Century, we have come to know the importance of teaching students to become strong global digital citizens with the necessary 21st Century Skills of our time.Global Digital Cit face

Each one of us has taken on the task of uncovering the ups and downs teachers go through as they consider technology integration in their classroom planning and programming.  This blog will publish our journey of the discoveries we have made, along with the questions and concerns we still have.  Our experience with education technology ranges, but we all agree on one thing…

Technology integration is the vehicle for bringing an engaging and meaningful program to our classrooms, while advancing student achievement along the way.

We hope readers and followers will stop by to comment, reflect, advise, or share.  Welcome! Be sure to visit the blog roll below, as group members have started their own blog sites on this topic.  This Collaborative Inquiry Project starts here, but branches off to other Group #5 course-colleagues’ blogs.

     FEATURING…

Learning in the 21st Century, is Heidi’s blog.  This front page is a static page, so I would like to invite you to select from the “Recent Posts” menu at the bottom, to read-on about teachers’ attitudes and pedagogical beliefs toward emerging technologies.

Check out Elizabeth’s blogCreating Responsible Digital Citizens. Elizabeth uncovers ways we can, Foster Online Responsibility.

Hop-on-over to Nathalie’s blog, 21st Century LearnerNathalie talk about the importance and the benefits of teaching with technology in her debut post, Generation Z: Changing the Way We Meet our Students Needs!

While you’re surfing with us, you’ve got to go to Kathleen’s blog, Koza’s Blog-Creating a Digital Classroom.  Kathleen reviews for us, the ways in which we could be, Enhancing our Classroom with Technology.

One more place to go, visit Adrienne’s blog, Technology Use in Today’s Classroom.  Adrienne outlines how Technology Integration has its Challenges.