We started our EDTC 6433, Teaching with Technology, course by taking a self assessment of our technology integration in the classroom using the ISTE NETS for teachers (t) and students (s). I was shocked at how low I had to score myself. In taking the self-assessment I realized my weakest NETS were –
- T1 – Facilitating and inspiring student learning and creativity
- T2 – Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
- S1 – Creativity and Innovation
- S3 – Research and Information Fluency
- S4 – Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
I have always considered myself quite tech savvy and a quick learner. However, in the past few years technology integration in my classroom has been a challenge and one that I have not kept up with as well as I wish I had. My use in the classroom had been reduced to programs adopted by our school such as ARE and Reflex. Having taught 1st grade two years ago, logging on to the netbooks was a big accomplishment in itself for those little ones and I had pushed aside the hopes of using more creative technology in the classroom. Teaching 3rd grade my biggest obstacle to integrating technology in a meaningful and purposeful way has been time. With the CCSS, new reading curriculum, and all the other subjects we have to teach, getting enough netbook time to be creative and not just getting our AR tests done or Reflex minutes in (20 minutes 3x a week) has been the biggest challenge.
So as I looked at what we would learn in this class I was overwhelmed and unsure how I would ever use this knowledge and experience in my classroom. How would I ever meet those ISTE NET standards?
I used my growth goal to prepare my students to meet these standards. My goal was to integrate a technology and research project, but first I had to get them the basics they would need to go further and be more creative in their use of technology. My planned project was to conduct a cultural research project with my third graders culminating with a power point presentation of the information they gathered to show their learning in a hands on and visual way. – Growth Plan Reflection First, I used my learning about the Big 6 to begin. It gave me a great guideline to get my students started in their own research.
The Big6 is a process model of how people of all ages solve an information problem. From practice and study, we found that successful information problem-solving encompasses six stages –
- Task Definition – Define the information problem, Identify information needed
- Information Seeking Strategies – Determine all possible sources, Select the best sources
- Location and Access – Locate sources (intellectually and physically), Find information within sources
- Use of Information – Engage (e.g., read, hear, view, touch), Extract relevant information
- Synthesis – Organize from multiple sources, Present the information
- Evaluation – Judge the product (effectiveness), Judge the process (efficiency)
We identified our problem, determined our sources of information, and then found our information. My students used Culturegrams and World Book online for kids. I will taught them about Google for Kids searches. In my own research and use of search engines I have found Google to be the best and most reliable. I did try some others that I bookmarked for future use especially when doing a broader based project.
Another key aspect of my learning that I then taught to my students was Digital Citizenship. As a teacher I am especially interested in this area and how to model and teach it to my students and children. My 3rd grade students are at an age where they may be able to explore the internet freely at home, but in class is it still a very directed activity. I do not allow them to do open searches or navigate freely to websites. Many times they have questions about this and don’t understand why they can at home and not at school. I have struggled to explain this in the past, but this class has really helped me to see that I am to be modeling and teaching the highest standards to them in all academic areas including technology. As with all that we teach it is with the understanding that they will take that knowledge and apply it to the next year of school and beyond, building on and expanding their learning. Then into life as we hope that they will continue to learn and apply that knowledge outside the classroom.
The ISTE NETt #4 states –
Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices. a. Advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources b. Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources c. Promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information d. Develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital age communication and collaboration tools.
I see in this standard that digital citizenship is something that needs to be modeled by myself and the other adults around them, but it is also a topic that as a teacher I need to be explicitly teaching. Many times when we think of digital citizenship I believe we focus on social media and the dangers surrounding that for our children, but there are many other aspects which we can begin to teach that will lay the foundation for the future conversations regarding social media. I focused on part A of the standard with my students , while modeling and/or discussing the other areas when appropriate.
ISTE NETS 5 for students states – Digital Citizenship Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior: a. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology b. Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity c. Demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning d. Exhibit leadership for digital citizenship.
In my focus on teaching my students about copyright and intellectual property they met standard 5. To structure their learning, I used the site we researched in class, Common Sense Media.
We then put into practice this information during our cultural project where the kids researched and used different resources. At that time I taught them how to cite information using Easybib or citation maker so they could put what we had learned into practice. As a Teacher, I also need to be a good model of this standard by citing and pointing out my citations to my students using discussion to guide their learning and understanding of the why’s and how’s around copyright and proper citing of another person’s work.
In completing my growth plan, my students completed their cultural presentations, and together we met the ISTE NETS that I had identified as our areas of need. Cultural Presentation Rubric, EDTC Presentation Outline, https://prezi.com/embed/jfvnovxc8yef/?bgcolor=ffffff&lock_to_path=0&autoplay=0&autohide_ctrls=0# , Germany (2)
In meeting TL Standard 12, I have seen growth in my students in the areas of creativity, problem solving, and collaboration by using technology. They are excited to create, write, produce, and share their work using technology. They have moved from being very dependent and frustrated during netbook time to independent, collaborative, and risk takers in their learning. They aren’t afraid to try new things and if it goes wrong, they help each other solve the problem. I am excited to see that they aren’t dependent on me to solve these problems for them, but rather to guide them and ask questions so they can discover for themselves. Finally, technology instruction in my classroom doesn’t feel like just one more thing we do, it is truly embedded in much of what we do each day.
In my future work as a principal, I know because of my work toward this standard in my own practice that I will be able to guide my teachers and support them as they do this work in their own classrooms. Making digital citizenship a priority to be taught each fall will help to set a tone of responsibility in our school when it comes to technology use. In addition, drawing on the broad base of digital resources that I utilized during this course and my Masters work, I will have the skills needed to be an effective and relevant communicator to my staff.
Digital Citizenship Week: Oct. 21-25, 2013 (csdtechpd.wordpress.com)
Digital Citizenship Week (svasey.wordpress.com)
Medina, John. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. Seattle, WA: Pear, 2008. Print.
Wonderful Google Tutorials and Lessons on Web Safety and Digital Citizenship (educatorstechnology.com)