Change is hard. Change, when we don’t drive it ourselves, can make us feel like we haven’t been doing something right or our work isn’t good enough. That’s not what it’s meant to be.
“Change is an opportunity to do something amazing” (Couros 3). It’s the process of bettering ourselves, of improving, growing and always learning. To change as educators is to embrace the premise that our world is continually evolving and our students will need to be prepared to walk into a world that is different than yesterday and especially different than the world we walked into at their age. To change is to innovate our instruction to meet today’s students where they are and not where we once were.
Change, for the sake of change, is not innovation. It’s just something different. Merely using technology is not innovation, either. “Technology can be crucial in the development of innovative organizations, but innovation is less about tools like computers, tablets, social media, and the Internet, and more about how we use those things” (Couros 20). It’s the why that gives us vision and inspires us (Sinek); it’s that how that puts our vision into action.
We have an amazing opportunity to change the learning experiences of our students on a daily basis. For that change to be innovative, we need to keep the learner at the center and ask what is best for this learner and what is best for his or her future. “Any time teachers think differently about who they teach and how they teach, they can create better learning opportunities” (Couros 21).
“The role of the teacher is to inspire learning and develop skills and mindsets of learners. A teacher, designer and facilitator, should continually evolve with resources, experiences, and the support of a community.” (Martin) Keep the dialog open. Ask questions. Collaborate. Take a risk. Reflect. Re-evaluate. Share. You have a community. Take advantage of those resources. Take the opportunity to do something amazing.
Now that our school year is in full-swing, it’s a good time to reflect on how you’re managing all those devices in your classroom. No matter what type of device you’re using or seeing in your classroom, it’s good to regularly reinforce your expectations regarding technology:
Ideas for routines with devices:
As you go through your day, watch for the signs of distraction:
Redirect as you notice distraction:
Don’t become outraged when students are initially distracted. Redirect and give them the opportunity to reconnect with you and the task at hand.
Remember, everyday is a new day to start, practice and reinforce expectations
Teaching in a 1:1 environment will involve all of these aspects of teaching. And while you can get by having students use technology simply as a substitute for what they would otherwise do on paper (read, write, work on math problems), there is a much larger world of discovery and creativity now at their fingertips. – iPad Bootcamp for Teachers
It’s a busy time and many of us want to focus our attention on those students that are about to walk through our classroom doors. That can make it difficult to connect with the Professional Learning that happens right before that moment. That’s understandable.
Pine Creek’s Professional Learning Program provides our community with ongoing opportunities for learning, not solely isolated ones. It provides us a shared experience to expand our skills and work collaboratively. We learn how to leverage new tools and we work together towards building and department goals. It is rooted in a belief in the value of continuous learning, growth and improvement.
I encourage you to embrace your Professional Learning experience as an opportunity to work toward our building’s shared vision and not a moment away from planning. Base your session choices not only on need and expectation, but curiosity and instructional potential. We have a staff full of rich experiences that they are looking forward to sharing with you. Those experiences are designed according to feedback from you, so please continue to provide that feedback.
Creativity and the iPad - Where to start?Ask yourself, how do students demonstrate learning in my class? Then ask yourself, what tools are available to make that happen? Digital tools provide the opportunity to combine writing, speaking, music, video, illustrations and more. They streamline workflow and provide better accessibility options than ever before. Students can demonstrate their understanding of the material while incorporating information literacy, creative credit and copyright, and digital literacy. This is happening in our building every day. Visit a classroom. Talk to another teacher. Find a Cohort member. Meet with your Digital Learning Coach. Ask questions. Try something. Have a student or a TA try something for you. Visit our Apps We Love page for ideas. Use our Digital Tools Checklist as you plan. Explore the opportunities and the possibilities!
Ideas for your classroom
With the start of a new semester, your students may need appropriate use procedures for iPads reviewed. While at school, these are a tool for instructional purposes. Just like any tool, students need to be taught how to use it.
iPad tips and helps for the start of the semester:
1. “Screens down” – iPad not being used for the activity at hand? Tell the class “screens down.” Students place the device (iPad, tablet, phone, laptop) on the desk with the screen facing down.
2. Screens up, iPads flat on desk – Is an iPad an appropriate or acceptable device for the activity at hand? Have students place the device flat on the desk with the screens facing up. It’s easier to monitor student work that way.
3. Swipe to clear – Do you need to have a class that needs to be monitored a bit more closely? Is it an assessment day? You might want to have the students double-click the home button and swipe up to clear all apps. After they have cleared all apps, then assign the appropriate app or site to open (if using the Safari, the iBoss filter tab needs to stay open).
4. Practice procedures – It may sound elementary, but practicing procedures makes it more natural for you and your students.
5. When to remove device. If, after warning and redirection, you feel you need to take the device from the student, please remember that it may only be removed for your class period and must be returned at the end of the period. The iPad is the binder, folder, text and learning tool for other classes.
What about when it’s appropriate for students to use their devices, how do you let them know what’s OK? Many teachers use a “level” system. Levels are intended to delineate levels of appropriate use. For example:
We've looked at the "why" of what we're doing, and we're really on track with each other, but "how" do we get there?
SAMR is a tool that many, people and institutions, use to drive their transformation. It delineates the stages of transformation: substitution, augmentation, modification, redefinition. It's helpful, it's clear, we can see it. The only problem is that it focuses on the technology and not the learning. Don't get me wrong, it can be a good place to start, but at some point we really need to be looking at the learning. That's where TIM comes into the picture.
TIM stands for "Technology Integration Matrix." It brings together and illustrates characteristics of learning environments and levels of technology integration in the curriculum. It's a bit more complicated at initial glance, but offers a richer experience with more detailed examples. TIM is a tool, one that provides examples, video lessons, and observation tools - the "how" that we've been looking for.
SAMR and TIM are tools to help us. Our best resource, however, remains each other. Share your experiences, what you've learned, what you've tried. Share your success and your failures. Explore the tools available to us. We aren't on this journey in a vacuum; others have been down this road, too. Let's learn from them.
I am a Digital Learning Coach by title, but lifelong learner by practice. An Apple Teacher, Google Certified Educator and Microsoft Innovative Educator, my goal is to assist educators in investigating, exploring, and investigating resources to embed in their instruction. I also hope to be a part of their journey toward an innovative and transformative practice that empowers learners and strengthens their own craftsmanship. I spends my free time with my family, my dogs and a good cup of coffee.