Saturday, June 1, 2013

What does classroom technology integration look like?

We are always asking students to think about behavior and learning and understanding by sharing how it looks.  I think this is always a valuable question as it helps to explain ideas and values in a concrete way.  Reflecting on my classroom practice this year, I have borrowed this idea and asked myself:  how does integrating technology into the classroom look?  I have collected the below pictures to create my answer.

I fear that many families are weary of technology..assuming that it looks like students plugged into a TV show, or sitting at a computer monitor with no human interaction.

This year I have found that this integration is not an isolating environment for students. I believe that technology has opened up the enrichment classroom learning space and led to collaboration at every grade level.

Students have used iPads to create works of art.  I have watched as kindergarten students sat around a table discovering how to record their drawings and then share these art videos with each other. One student created a reading day in the class which included student pairs listening to nonfiction books from our library website.  In another K class students created a day of exercise and we danced and moved like different animals following a YouTube video we projected onto the whiteboard.  Students have also looked at google images to find a picture of something they want to create, most recently the interior of a rocket shape...which they then translated into their cardboard box!  We have watched short and powerful videos that connected us with places and things that are far away.  Second graders have created blog posts and learned how to communicate and comment in a respectful and thoughtful manner.  Third graders used Google Earth to discover geography and projected images onto the whiteboard as they taught their classmates!  We have danced the samba as a class...with an experienced on line instructor!  We have created movies and filmed plays and puppet shows in small groups.  We have used more than twenty programs in fourth grade to discover and research our interests. 

In each of these examples, technology integration is not passive.  Students must be engaged to think, create, collaborate and share.  Technology allows the students to lead their work together when they have questions.  Technology is one tool that students can utilize.  I like that my pictures of technology use are not typically a student sitting at a computer typing away....I like that they show movement, fluidity, and task dependent usage.  I also like that they often lead to discussions and creations off of the computer!  I also realized As I was collecting the pictures that some of the most collaborative images of students working together are missing...because they were using every piece of technology available ( including my camera!) to create!

Each time I log on to my twitter feed to read blog posts from amazing educators around the world I am reminded of how much I have to learn and how many new opportunities I want to offer to students.  Despite all of the many things we have not yet tried with technology, a year of teaching with technology as one key component of my curriculum, has made me enthusiastic to continue growing and learning with students.

What do you think classroom technology integration should look like?

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