As I worked on creating a rubric to assess the collaborative web tools, Google Docs and Canvas Discussions for this class, I began to develop a deeper understanding of the SAMR model. Specifically, Redefinition because I started to look at these web tools as ways of extending student learning outside of the walls of our classroom. I realized that these tools could engage students in learning not just at school but also when they're away from school. By providing students with easily accessible ways to communicate with one another even when they're not together, I can facilitate further growth that can then be captured and used as evidence of student growth. For me personally, the option of responding to a discussion prompt on my own time allows for me to think more deeply about how I would like to respond and to make sure that I communicate my message more clearly. I believe the same thing holds true for my students. We can grow from our discussions in the classroom, but we can also benefit from time to think about our thinking and in a sense, "marinate" in a new concept before sharing out our understanding.
The second artifact that I'd like to reflect on is my Collaborative Web Tools assignment for my fifth grade Social Studies Unit where students work in collaborative groups to create an advertisement about one of the Original 13 Colonies. In past years, my students had created handmade posters and skits to persuade audience members to move to their assigned colony. This year, I directed students to create a digital presentation of their advertisment to persuade audience members. My student groups all chose to work within in the Google environment, specifically Google Slides. The presentations were quite creative and did include accurate maps and images that supported their premise about the colony being the place to immigrate, but there was so much similarity between the presentations that as student groups presented it became a bit boring for audience members. In the future, I will work to provide students with the opportunity to grow and become more comfortable with other platforms, like PowToons and WeVideo prior to an assignment like this. Also, I believe it would be helpful to provide more work time to complete the projects in the classroom and to work with groups to assign themselves work to be completed at home that will enhance the presentations.
After doing some research about trends in educational technology, I was comforted in finding that I'm not the only one struggling to efficiently integrate technology in my classroom. In the article, "6 Technology Challenges Facing Education" by David Nagel, a lack of professional development has been identified as a hindrance to effective technology integration in our classrooms. Many educators have the technology available and are expected to integrate it into their instructional practices, but a challenge has been adequate, ongoing professional development for educators. I have found it difficult to keep up with all of the available technological resources and to think of ways that I can integrate technology in transformative ways within my grade level curriculum. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to explore the apps and websites available, identify useful and effective ways to integrate it into the curriculum and embed it into the curriculum so that my students and I consistently. Is there a good and reliable resource that can help me to identify and understand the uses of apps and/or websites that could be useful in an elementary classroom?