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.
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