Having connections, being connected, getting new connections – it seems to be something which just pops up everywhere, all the time and in all areas our lives. It became so easy to connect to family and friends who live far away, to connect to other mothers, to connect to people with same interests, to connect to like-minded people around you. Having connections is very much a must for doing businesses in various cultures. Technology, social media and platforms with the purpose to connect make it easier than ever before.
It’s amazing and I can’t describe how thankful I am how the network works and how much I am learning. It seems to come all together at the same time. Just a few examples:
- All the reading difficulties my German – and German as a Additional Language – speaker have led to a conversation with my ICT colleague about our Reading Curriculum and how reading on the internet is integrated. At the same time Jeff asked: “What are the strategies for reading on the web? Are we teaching these to our students?” So important. And we want to pay more attention to it.
thinkingplanning of implementingto implement a Tech Tuesday at our school and then Katy Jean Vance posted about her setting and her experiences. Thanks again!
- It’s my goal to explore Google for professional use with colleagues or/and other networks as well as in classroom more often and this morning I got the chance to experience a shared google document with an very interesting article called 5 examples of how the languages we speak can affect the way we think. Following I had a long discussion with my colleague. Thanks Lissa Layman.
And there are more examples … I couldn’t ask for more …And Jeff … the Coetail Effect … I had to check what “to wordsmith” actually means … 😉For me it is about getting aware what is possible. Yes, I observe, I try, I realize that it works, I try old things in a new way and hopefully sooner or later new things in a new way …. I’m getting encouraged and more courageous. There are more chances and possibilities than we think which gets me highly motivated.And now I would love to get more into “Online collaborative projects” and other technology innovations (The Horizon Report) but today is my computer-off-evening … Tomorrow. No, I still have some reading time during my commute home. 😉
… to try new things in new ways??
Probably most of you already heart about Sugata Mitra and his great experiments in India. What a smart idea to give children some computer, leave them with a question and see what will happen:
Sugata Mitra – Here a great TED talk:
The video and SOLE made me think a lot about Grade 5 (Exhibition) – Sharing the Planet. In German we decided as a team to integrate with Ecosystems, more or less like an own unit. From the beginning I felt hesitation. It’s so hard for me this time to make it meaningful for them. We decided it’s meaningful because Grade 5 haven’t done enough Science before they will move to middle school. Not a good reason in my opinion. The TuningIn was already quite difficult for me and for them as well. Most of them found questions but 2 students mentioned that they know already “everything”. A sign for me?
How did using technology change my learning and me as learner?
Technology gave me and gives me the chance …
… to be an independed learner. I have ownership about what I want to learn, how and when I want to learn and who I want to follow and listen to as well as my improvement and development.
… to learn with my own pace and depending on what kind of learner I am.
… to view beyond my local learning environment – colleagues and also in Germany – by using Twitter to follow people who I’m interested in, by using a RSS Reader to channel all the interesting and inspiring thoughts which are out there, etc.
But since I’m with Coetail there is even more. I have the possibility …
… to learn through the exchange (connect, collaborations) with like-minded people.
… go a step further and do action (following the Inquiry Cycle by Kathy Murdoch) by writing a blog, commenting on blog entries of others to reflect and asking questions as well as by sharing experiences face to face to encourage others. Once I created a cycle as a reflection for the job application (Reflection – PYP Verena Zimmer). It’s time for a new one …
In future I vision myself as a learner who …
… creates and contributes to the network in a confident way – even though this is still a little bit undefined for me how this will look like in my case. I’m getting there. Just explored a little bit code.org – there will never be boredom.
By the way I hope to improve my writing skills in general, my English as a second language, my deeper thinking skills as well as how to demonstrate my thinking.
How did using technology change my teaching?
Since 6 month Evernote is helping me immensely to organize my planning, my observations, my assessments, organizing my different areas of professional development, etc. I don’t use it to it’s fully extend yet, f.e. sharing notebooks, web clipper, sending an email to a notebook – is there a possibility to integrate an RSS Reader? I’ll google it later.
Using new tools gives the students the possibility to show their understanding and learning by CREATING. Here are some examples:
- iMovie / Garageband (Grade 5 – Students create a advertisement jingle for their products during the “Shop until drop” unit)
- Apps for StoryTelling (Grade 1 – Students show their imagination by telling a story on StoryWheel focussing on details.)
- iStopMotion (Grade 5 – Students show their understanding of “Der Zauberlehrling” of Goethe)
- App Book Creator (Grade 3 – Students create a simple Picture Dictionary.)
- Storybird / ComicLife for creating stories
- Filming with the iPad for Reflection purpose
- Producing an instructional video (Grade 4 – Producing a video which explains how to insert a picture)
PARTICIPATING / CONNECTING to others allows them to experience learning as meaningful and authentic. Again few examples:
- Students publish their PSA (public service announcement) on Voicethread to the Humankind about inventions, students reflect on each other
- Wikipedia (Students write for a wikipedia about “Our brain”.)
- Writing blog entries together with the students.
- Skype Interview with an expert (Thanks mum!)
Okay, above I just listed few examples of using technology during my last 1 1/2 years. I realized I still do a lot of new things in an old way but my focus was always that the students create something. Just consuming has never felt right. Searching skills have to get way more attention. As a language teacher I got only once the chance on how to find good search words. The internet provides endless resources and allows me to tailor them depending on student questions / each student, there is no need for following a book anymore. Regarding resources and apps for the iPad the German market seems to be not so developed yet. Hopefully the learning gets more meaningful for the students. Often through using technology I realized that there is an audience for student’s learning and it becomes more authentic. I really want to avoid creating a gap between time in school and time outside of school. There is a huge difference regarding documentation of formative and summative assessments compared to few years ago. Documented assessments and observations allow me to tailer the instructions and the learning even more. It also gives students a better way to reflect on their own learning. Students can overtake ownership for their own learning.
If I want the students to be independent and self organized life-long learner I still have to figure out and be a risk-taker what using new things in new ways in teaching exactly means and how it looks like. That’s why I’m here. I’m getting there sooner or later.