This picture pretty much illustrates how I feel when I get to that point of each week after I’ve done my readings and browsed Feedly. Every week except for one, I’ve posted two different blog post. Looking around my RSS reader, it seems I’m not alone in this habit. From the very start of course 1, we were told that shorter is better and to keep things concise. We were also told that you don’t have to say EVERYTHING in one blog post…but, but, but…HOW DO YOU DO THAT WHEN YOU HAVE SO MANY IDEAS?!?! Trying to smush everything into one blog post just doesn’t seem feasible. Thus, the two post solution! One post just doesn’t seem to be enough for all the thoughts buzzing in my brain! Anyone else feel the same way? Ok moving on…
Ways Techonology is Changing Learning and Teaching in My Classroom:
A bigger purpose for sharing our learning
Having a class blog and giving my students access to post on the blog has made learning much more meaningful in so many ways. Not only are parents and relatives able to step into our classroom and have a variety of things to discuss with their children at home, but my students understand that they can share their learning with people around the world through our blog. We have a flag counter to show the different countries that visitors come from.
When my students take action on their learning by applying it, I allow them to get their iPads and post it to the blog. When my students ask me if they can put something on the blog and the only thing I ask them is, “How is it connected to what we are learning?” My students have learned that if they want to put a post up, they have to justify it. They really enjoy being able to share what they do with the world and the process of explaining their work as they create their video blog posts is also really valuable. I go back and view them later to see how they think and their learning process.
Now, of course there is also a place for my students to post fun things they make during choice time that may not necessrily be related to anything we’re currently learning. Sometimes just being creative deserves a voice too! So in this instance, my kids use Instagram to post pictures of these things. I only have Instagram on my teacher iPad and not on the student iPads so that they have to ask me first. They explain what they created and then I allow them to post an image of it. I have a slideshow of instagram images in the sidebar of my class blog.
Answering questions and finding information isn’t so hard to do
When we start a new unit, whether it be in Social Studies, Science, Math, or Literacy, when we want to find something out, it isn’t so hard to do anymore. Through the school year my students have learned about a variety of resources that we can go through together whenever we want to “Find out”. We used Twitter one time to find out about trees. We have recently used Skype as a research tool as well in our current Social Studies unit. Looking for Videos on YouTube is also something that we’ve done together as a class.
Early learners aren’t limited by not knowing how to read and write
What I like best about having technology in my classroom is the ability to take photos, video and audio record. They are basic parts of technology that have been around for ages, but never before has it been made so easy for those tiny fingers to control independently!
Math in early childhood is very hands on most of the time leaving little documentation. In comes technology and now I can have my students demonstrate for me if they understand concepts like sorting and classifying or counting. Here is an example of one of my students showing me, with the use of tens frames, how to represent a two digit number as well as practicing counting in tens.
Learning with the world
How could I not mention the awesome connections my students have made through Skype? I believe in the value of connecting with a few classes consistently through the year. We currently have Skyped with three different classes, one in Singapore, one in Saudi Arabia and another in Australia. The children ask about when we can Skype with our friends and we think about what we can share with them as well as what questions we could ask them as well. The kids really enjoy being able to talk to our friends around the world and have learned interested new things about different places. For instance, when we called our friends in Saudi Arabia it was already after lunch for us and when they answered our call they greeted us “Good Morning”. My students were amazed and couldn’t believe it was only 8am! Further calls and also through our Traveling Teddy project, my studetns learned about sandstorms. We researched about what sandstorms were and compared them to the types of storms we have here, typhoons. Now when I hear my kids in free choice time playing with some of the plastic animals or role playing, they often refer back to this information saying things like “Quick get inside! A standstorm is coming!”
The Thing that Excites Me
Reading through the Horizon Report (2013), I think the thing that excites me the most is the possibility of 3D printing in the early childhood setting! Right now our school has a 3D printer, but I don’t think the lower school uses it, I’m not even sure if we have access to it. I also hear that printing something is really expnsive. But, how cool would it be to recreate minature models of things that we would otherwise only be able to see pictures of?! Once again, I emphasize the importance of hands-on learning experiences for young learners, 3D printers give us the ability to create these hands-on experiences with things that are normally only accssible through videos and pictures! The possbilities are endless!
What Does the Future of Technology in Education Look Like?
So looking foward, what does the future look like in education with all of this technology and the fast pace at which it is developing? Truth be told, I can’t see it, I have no idea. If I look back to when I was maybe twelve or thirteen, the thought of having a computer you could fit in your pocket was so futuristic and seemed impossible, but look at us now with the choices we have for cellphones! My colleagues and I sometimes sit around at lunch and think about what the next “impossible” thing could be. If touch screen phones seemed impossible not so long ago, who knows, maybe teleportation is next in line to cross over from the impossible to the possible! Imagine what education would look like if we could teleport to take field trips 😉