Integration of Technology and Collaboration

This week (Week 4) of our Educational Technology class, we focused on collaboration using technology and integrating the ISTE standards to improve our practice.

In regards to collaboration, we worked in pairs to build a chariot powered by Sphero. Here are my reflections on collaborating during this activity and collaboration in the classroom in general:

Collaborating with David was easy and enjoyable because

    • We both readily volunteered ideas and brainstormed together
    • Although I had no prior knowledge of engineering or using Kinecs (sp?), David never belittled my ideas.
    • We tested all ideas put forth by either person and ultimately came up with a superior product because of this. We had to try multiple models.

I do think students like to collaborate IF the following characteristics exist

    • Students feel safe in the environment. This means they feel safe taking risks. In order to feel safe taking risks, students need to know that their ideas will be respected and won’t be belittled or ignored or ridiculed.
    • The activity is designed that requires them to collaborate. This means being thoughtful about each student’s role and not just grouping students and setting them free to work in groups.

However, key to collaboration is communication.

    • All participants need to “buy-in” and contribute to the group. This means volunteering ideas and supporting each other in their idea sharing.
    • All participants need to arrive with an open mind and be open to testing or trying all ideas volunteered.
    • All participants need to work towards the common goal. Too often one or two participants do the majority of work.
    • Participants need to communicate. This could be face-to-face or using technology. Either way, they need to be collaborating, not just working individually and combing work at the end.

We set growth goals for our incorporation of technology in in our classrooms and for growing as technology leaders in our school settings as well. Becoming a technology leader in my school is an exciting prospect. I also really like the idea of incorporating more relevant and meaningful tech into my classroom.

Simply taking this course has inspired me to incorporate more relevant tech into my teaching practice, to benefit student learning. I really appreciate how Richard introduces meaningful, accessible and practical technology that I can apply right away with students. This has not always been the case with my past technology trainings. Hands-on practice using OneNote and Mix also have helped me to see their possibilities. Too often during district tech trainings we are “introduced” to a new software or technology through a presentation, but we never actually interact in a meaningful way with the product, and thus never feel comfortable with it and never implement it.

Since beginning this course, I have slowly started sharing with colleagues around me what I’m learning, and this alone is opening up new conversations and helping spread a technology integrated culture. Just last week my colleague who shares a classroom with me, and is one of our new SMAS coordinators, told me about a cool new app from Google called Google Cardboard. It is a Virtual Reality app that would allow students to take digital field trips around the world! How relevant for a World Language class! WOW! Very exciting. I want to see if I can incorporate this into my travel unit for Spanish 2 this year. Also, I would LOVE to someday figure out how to set them up with digital pen pals in a Spanish-speaking country.

My self-identified areas for growth and my subsequent growth plan are as follows:

Referring to the student ISTE Standards, my  areas for growth are:

  1. Creativity and Innovation: My students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
  2. Research and Information Fluency: My students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.

Referring to the teacher ISTE Standards, my  areas for growth are:

  1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity: I use my knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments.
  1. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility: I understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in my professional practices.

Goal for Growth:

How do you want to improve your technology integration and leadership in your classroom and building (refer to specific ISTE Standards)?

I have already improved my knowledge of different technologies available that would be useful in my classroom, such as OneNote Class Notebooks and  Office Mix.

I would like to further improve my technology integration by creating more options for students to demonstrate creativity and innovation in my classroom. Going hand-in-hand with this is the teacher standard of Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity.

How can you go about meeting this goal?

To do this, I will use the 21st century rubrics to help plan lessons that

  1. Incorporate and explicitly teach students how to use
    1. Office Mix
    2. One Note Notebooks
    3. One Drive

to collaborate with one another, investigate and apply critical thinking skills to new situations.

  1. I will also have an English day (since my classroom is Spanish immersion) where I teach some of these tech skills and also discuss digital citizenship topics specifically related to research online and collaborating using technology.

Digital Citizenship

This week we learned about explicitly teaching Digital Citizenship in the classroom. We discussed HOW to explicitly teach skills such as

  • norms for collaborating using technology
  • hot to safely and responsibly use digital resources, including when citing and respecting copyright
  • knowledge of digital footprint

It is a challenge to think about how to explicitly teach some or all of these things, especially when I am teaching in an immersion Spanish class. The reality is, most of this cannot be taught to Spanish 1 while remaining in the Spanish language at this time, and I am not willing to teach in English.

For Spanish 2 however, technology is a theme that I need to teach on this year, and I am going to try to incorporate some of the Digital Citizenship big ideas into the class, especially teaching students norms for collaborating using technology and teaching them about their digital footprint (if I can find a way to do this in Spanish).

It is hard to fully embrace this expectation of explicitly teaching Digital Citizenship, on top of all the other responsibilities we have. There are plenty of resources, in English, or in advanced Spanish language, but I have yet to find something accessible, in the Target Language, for my students. This makes it impractical for me to teach and incorporate into my current lessons.

However, this week I have been implementing my new tech knowledge gained from this course including

  • I have been accessing Twitter much more frequently (nearly every day) to check out what World Language colleagues are sharing and to “lurk” on #langchat. Soon, when I have the time to be fully present in front of my computer on a Thursday or Saturday evening, I will join in and contribute to #langchat.
  • I’ve been preparing a collaborative OneNote Notebook where my classes can update and share a live vocabulary list specifically for each class period.
  • We had a LEAP day on Friday (Oct. 16) and we learned about Office Mix, as well as discussed the ISTE skills continuum. It is nice when class blends with what is actually happening in the larger school culture. However, huge setback- we were told that students weren’t allowed to download or use Mix on their own laptops…I don’t understand that one…

Accomplished Teaching: Initial Reflection

Over these next two years there are many things I am looking forward to improving in my professional practice. However, a few of my current priorities are:

  1. Standard 02: Analyze learning to promote student growth-Collaborating with peers to improve my selection, organization and use of data to improve student learning.
  2. Working to push students in their critical thinking skills and creative skills. For this I would like to learn from colleagues on questioning strategies and specific methodologies used to push students to the next level, while maintaining a student-centered environment.
  3. Building not only a student-centered environment, but one where students are responsible for and initiate learning. 
  4. Standard 11: Utilize formative and summative assessment in a standards based environment-Improving the quality and consistency of my use of sound formative assessments in my classroom.

Super Señora Vasquez and ISTE Standards and Self Assessment

This first class was exciting as we met Professor Richard Snyder and cohort members. We were introduced to the overview of the class and we created superhero avatars to introduce ourselves.

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We began to look into the LWSD’s ISTE Standards and we self-assessed ourselves on the student and teacher standards. I felt overwhelmed as I looked over the standards and decided how they fit into my own classroom. I had 3 main central thoughts:

THOUGHT #1: Regarding ISTE Student Standards: I struggled as I looked through the standards because although I do use technology as a support system in my classroom, it is not a central focus of the class. I’ve never planned my lessons with these standards in mind. I do not provide enough opportunities for my students according to these standards and I have many areas of weakness.

However, I do integrate technology in a number of ways, and have already begun to share some of these strategies with my World Language PLC at JHS. I realize that my strengths are:

  1. Standard #2: Communication and Collaboration
    Communication with families and students using technology-I currently demonstrate this through

    1. Daily use of Haiku to post announcements, post daily homework on main page and class Calendar, post important documents, songs, authentic photos and videos, create student polls and quizzes (including pre-assessments and formative assessments), discussion posts, turning in assignments on Dropbox.
    2. Students are using Haiku’s Wikiproject feature to create Digital Portfolios this year. Students film themselves 5 times throughout the year on their district-issued laptops (using Microsoft Movie Maker) and upload their video to their personal Wiki page. They will also post their Spanish writing and speaking proficiency goals to this Wikipage. Parents can access their student’s Digital Portfolio and see evidence of student progress, the ACTFL National Standards, and their student’s progress goals directly related to the Standards.
      1. *IDEA: Scan all students’ written assessments and have them upload the document to their Wikipage as well.
      2. *IDEA: Have students post ACTFL Standards on Wiki Site along with their goals.
  2. Standard #5: Technology Operations and Concepts         By exposing students to collaborative live documents on OneDrive, recording and uploading videos and requiring them to create their own WikiPage, I am exposing students to a variety of up-to-date technologies and trouble-shooting strategies that may serve them in the future as well.

However, I struggle with incorporating

  1. Standard #1: Creativity and Innovation
  2. Standard #3: Research and Information Fluency
  3. Standard #4: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

THOUGHT #2: Regarding ISTE Teacher Standards: I feel like I naturally incorporate most of these standards in my professional practice. Some evidence of this is:

  1. I use Twitter and Facebook regularly to connect with other Spanish high school teachers and to find authentic materials for my students. I am especially tuned in to the Organic World Language teaching community (OWL) to collaborate with activities, methodology and resources. To go a step further, I now need to begin sharing my own material with these colleagues.
  2. I use email, Haiku and OneDrive to regularly share and collaborate with colleagues within my building and also in m PLC. I can take this a step further my sharing more frequently and by now connecting with other Spanish teachers in the District.
  3. I’ve designed shared live documents and Haiku groups to share with colleagues for the Latino Mentor group I facilitate at JHS.
  4. I regularly model professional behavior to students regarding writing emails, using social media and using OneDrive.

The Standard I struggle with is:

  • Standard #1: Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning  

THOUGHT #3: Question I have

–>Am I responsible for incorporating all ISTE Student Standards into my classroom throughout the year? If so, is this a reasonable expectation?