Artifact #1: Diamond in the Desert Book Trailer
In working on my book trailer project, I came to realize just how much time projects like this can take my fifth grade students, if they want to do it well. After the hours I spent finding the "just right" images, music and text to create this rudimentary project, I've come to realize that the value of all of that time because I really had to think about the plot line, characters and theme of the story. This project informed my instruction and has helped me to be better prepared to ask probing questions that will guide students in creating their own book trailers in response to books that they read throughout the school year. I'm thinking in the future that I will ask the students to reflect upon the creation process and provide justification for the elements in their presentation based upon text evidence and inferential thinking. The justification could be in written or audio recording form and would serve as a meaningful assessment tool for both me as the teacher and my students as the readers. In the article, "Test their Knowledge Using Student-created Videos" by Nicholas Bourke, the author provided some great suggestions in facilitating video creation in the classroom that I wish I had read in 2015 when it was published. The biggest take away for me was the time element. Students need to be provided time to brainstorm, plan, write a screenplay, film, edit and revise. Great works cannot be created in one class period. I need to be willing to invest the time and recognize that students will be engaged in learning and improving all throughout the creation process and the value placed on producing a quality project will pay off in future projects and student efficacy.
Sources Cited: “Test their knowledge using student-Created videos.” ISTE, 17 July 2015, www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=488&category=In-the-classroom&article.
Artifact #2: Creating a Screencast
In looking back over my learning throughout the past 8 weeks, I feel like if anything I've begun to realize that I need to be even more open to trying new ways of implementing new forms of technology. In doing so, I will enhance my instruction and consequently raise the level of engagement in my students. Throughout this course I've been pushed out of my comfort zone and have become more comfortable with being uncomfortable as I learn new ways of using technology. Creating an audio recording and a screencast definitely put me on edge because I feel self-conscious about listening to and critiquing myself. But in doing so, I feel that I've been able to better understand where my students are coming from when it comes to learning about new concepts or methods in solving problems. I also realized the value in self-critiquing because of the numerous times that I closely listened to what I was saying and how I was saying it. It became natural to pause and really think about what I wanted to say before I spoke it so that I was making my message more clear. Many of my students enjoy listening to themselves, (the opposite of me!) and need guidance in listening with a critical ear.
I have had very limited experiences, learning and entertainment-wise with virtual reality. I have struggled with the goggles that have accompanied my virtual reality experiences because they have triggered ocular migraines each time after I've looked through them for more than a few seconds. As far as augmented reality, again I've had almost no experiences. Last year I had the opportunity to explore a trigger image of a Mars Rover that created a 3D image of the Rover that I could "fly over" and look at from all different angles and sides. After reading the article, "How to Transform your Classroom with Augmented Reality," by Patricia Brown on edsurge.com, I realize that using an augmented reality app with my students, I could increase engagement as well as use it to assess my students understanding of concepts or topics. It would also be an engaging and fun way to work across grade levels on a variety of topics, like vocabulary. For example, older students could create videos about how to pronounce and define vocabulary words for younger students to view via trigger images that they identify as representative of the vocabulary words.
The article by Kara Pernice, "F-shaped Pattern of Reading," raised my awareness of the differences in reading behaviors between digital and paper media. To think that my students could be skipping/skimming over large parts of digital text is alarming. The awareness has helped me to realize that I need to teach specific skills on how to actively access digital media in a meaningful way to build comprehension. It has also caused me to think more critically about the digital passages that I share with my students via Canvas or Google Drive and choose passages that have a structure that provides more support with helpful and engaging text structures and features. I've come to realize that some of the passages that I shared digitally with my students in the past broke the "rules" by having too much text without supporting text structures and features to help to engage the students more readily.
All in all, I've got a long ways to go with efficiently and effectively using digital multimedia in my classroom, but at least now I understand the importance of using it. One subject that I envision pushing myself to grow in using digital multimedia is in vocabulary. Vocabulary instruction and learning has become a major focus in our building this year and I'm creating new lessons that I haven't used before so, it's an opportunity to create those new lessons and activities via new digital multimedia.
Prior to this week's module, I stumbled upon the effectiveness of engaging some of my students in learning activities supported by graphic design by observing one particular student who would put uncharacteristic effort into choosing the "just right" font and images to support her writing or google slide deck that she was creating. When I would question why she was investing so much energy in the visual representation of her learning, she would look at me with a quizzical expression and essentially tell me that she wanted to make her message clear and easy to understand. My interpretation of her nonverbal and verbal response also lead me to believe that she was trying to make sure that I recognized her work towards a Secure level on the learning progression of the topic. It's tough getting schooled by a fifth grader!
According to the wyzowl blog, Albert Mehrabian, a Psychologist, found that 93% of communication is nonverbal and as I reflect on this possibility, it takes just a few moments to look around my classroom and school building to realize just how embedded graphic design is in our daily communications and culture. We see the American flag appear on our Morning Announcements Nearpod presentation, and my students and I immediately stand up to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I don't have to say a word, the students are cued by the image of our nation's flag.
I've begun to incorporate student-choice in matching up new vocabulary word definitions with either hand-drawn or digital images to encourage retention of word meanings. The students who really take the time to think about, compare and contrast a variety of images and reflect upon which one best supports their understanding of the meaning of a word, are more likely to retain and use the words in their writing and speaking. Later on this Spring, we will move into studying World War II and some of the propaganda that was used by the Axis and Allied Powers to persuade citizens to believe in their causes. I have a poster of Rosie the Riveter that I could use as a discussion starter or Socratic Seminar topic to help my students to deepen their understanding of graphic design and it's influence on society.
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?
I believe the biggest thing that I’ve learned though this course is that technology is a vehicle for instruction. I used to kind of view it as the bells and whistles of showing off mastered material by my students. It was the prize for having worked hard. Now I see it more as a means to build mastery while also providing all students an opportunity to learn in ways that best suit them. Technology can be used to help quieter students find their voice while also helping students who tend to go full force ahead, to rein themselves in a bit and learn from others through collaborative projects based in a digital environment. The opportunity for students to provide feedback to one another by name or anonymously is huge when it can be captured in text and read and re-read as a learner continues to strive for improvement and understanding. I also view technology as a means to provide more individualized instruction to my students. Posting videos in Canvas allows students to view them as many times as they need as well as to go back to them in the future.
The Google environment provides a plethora of extensions and apps that can be used by some or all students to support engagement as well as learning. For example the Read and Write extension allows a struggling reader to access reading passages that are above their independent level for in class work such as well as research. Then, add FlipGrid and Today’s Meet and my mind is blown! I can provide engaging, and dare I say it, FUN ways to get my students to respond to text as well as one another. I’ll admit that I feared one to one in my classroom this Fall. I worried that my room would be filled with the sounds of keyboard clicks and students focused on their computer screens for entire class periods. But now I realize that technology can be a means to get a conversation started, with all students participating and then moved to actual verbal discussions. Starting online may help some students to gather their thoughts and their voice so that when it’s time to share in small group or whole group, they’ll have something to contribute.
I now believe technology can help me to provide learning opportunities outside of my classroom by “flipping” lessons so that when my students come in the next day, we can have a mini lesson and then they can get to work. They will be able to have time to think about what they’ve watched the night before and ask better questions to move their learning along, perhaps more quickly and efficiently. I never thought I would be in position to genuinely work towards flipped lessons because I thought it was such a daunting task. I don’t think that anymore, and I’m actually kind of excited to work on some lessons in the fall. Fingers crossed I don’t fall flat on my face!
Kindness Boomerang Project
My SEL project, “Kindness Boomerang” has helped me to reflect upon how I need to continue working to support all of the learners in my classroom. This project provided an opportunity for all of my students to participate in a lesson by tapping into multiple ways for students to share their understanding and individualize the lessons. Also, the lessons provide students with opportunities to take time to build understanding at their own pace. Today’s Meet provides an opportunity for the quieter students as well as those who may also need time to formulate their response, a voice in the classroom when they’re ready, as opposed to immediately during a whole or small group discussion.
By providing a link to the video, students are given the freedom to watch the video multiple times, to do what works for them. A challenge to providing a viable video link is that elementary students in our district are not allowed to view YouTube videos over the school network. I will need to work around that and I’m hoping that the network filters will allow student access to the Kindness Project website. Finally, the creation of the Word Cloud will help to solidify what kindness really means to each student and provide a visual reminder that can be displayed in the classroom.
I realize that this project does not rank high on the SAMR model for my students, but in a sense, it’s transformative in my teaching. A project like this is taking me away from the front of the classroom leading to stepping off to the side and facilitating. It will provide me with an opportunity to talk with individual students and meet their needs while also building rapport with them to create a positive learning culture in my classroom towards the beginning of the school year.
The SAMR model is the technology integration model that I am most familiar with and have had the opportunity to discuss with my colleagues on several occasions. In applying this model to my own integration, I can make sense of how it provides a framework for moving from being a tech novice to a tech innovator. In my mind, Substitution and Augmentation are the ways in which the students and teacher dip their toes in the pool water and become comfortable with using technology by easily comparing it and linking it to the more traditional school experience. Substitution and Augmentation are ways in which technology is a tool for building foundational understanding. Modification and Redefinition are the equivalent of jumping into the pool and swimming to the other side. Modification and Redefinition lead to a deeper understanding of the course content/foundational understanding because of the collaborative and immersive opportunities afforded with the use of technology. Just like in life, there’s a time to hang out at the edge of the pool and there’s a time to jump right into the pool.
The purpose for the activity needs to be clearly understood and identified so that the appropriate use of technology or lack of use of technology fits with that purpose. Adding onto the SAMR model with Bloom’s Taxonomy further deepened my understanding because it helped me to further differentiate the different levels within SAMR. There are times when I need to work with my students to build a foundation of understanding about a concept(s) so they can have a starting point to dig deeper and to pursue their interests within the concept to build a deeper level of understanding. There must be times of students remembering and applying concepts before they can move into analyzing and creating. Technology that is integrated properly can assist students in building their foundational understanding so that they are better prepared to analyze and create via technology further down the road.
As I reflect on where I’m at in integrating technology effectively in my fifth grade classroom, I would say that I have rarely given my students the opportunity to jump into the pool and immerse themselves in their work and in building their understanding. I am definitely a work in progress in this area. I feel confident in my ability to use technology in substitutional and augmentative sorts of ways with Googleforms and Googledocs. I have appreciated the opportunity to provide feedback in a more timely manner to a larger portion of my students as well as create more opportunities for students to provide one another with meaningful feedback as well. I struggle with moving into the deeper level of technology immersion with Modification and Redefinition because I’m unsure about what it looks like and if it will be a good use of class time to allow the students the opportunity to explore and create on their own as they work toward CCSS. I know it’s cliche but I also worry about time away from moving on in the curriculum. I know that student choice and creation are good practice, but I also know that my administrators expect me to work all the way through the curriculum within the year. I struggle with the give and take required for students to have more time to pursue their interests related to the curriculum. Their gains and a portion of my evaluation are based on success on standardized tests and not the amazing projects they create. In the coming year, I’d like to implement a consistent Genius Hour (realistically a half hour 2-3 times per week) into my schedule to provide opportunities for my students to pursue their own interests and to create opportunities for Modification and Redefinition based upon student choice. I’m thinking the engagement, collaboration and learning that I will hopefully observe will help me to become more comfortable with the process.
Hello, my name is Dena Porter. I've been teaching in Naperville District 203 for the past seven years, most of them at fifth grade. Prior to teaching in Naperville, I taught in Central Oregon in a small town called, Prineville for three years in kindergarten and third grade. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I didn't begin teaching until I was in my 30's. I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know that I have a passion for teaching and working with children to help them reach their potential.
When it comes to technology, I'm definitely a work in progress. I am apprehensively looking forward to moving to 1:1 with Chrome books in the 2017-2018 school year. Throughout this past school year, I became more and more comfortable with the Google environment and the collaboration tools at my students' fingertips. I have especially appreciated the ability to use "Comments" within my students Googledocs so that I can provide them with consistent feedback that they can easily refer back to as they work through the writing or thinking process on a variety of assignments.
A success that I've had in working with technology is related to robotics with my First LEGO League students in our after school program. My lack of expertise in robotics has helped me to become more comfortable with facilitating rather than guiding or leading learning. I honestly didn't have answers to student questions and as a result I focused on reflecting back to students what they shared as their understanding and helped them work through their own thinking process rather than prompting them to my predetermined answer. As a result, I'm more comfortable with exploration and learning alongside my students, both in the after school program and in my fifth grade classroom.