Thursday, June 16, 2016

Amplify - Getting Started: Developing a Mindset For Technology



     When I first started this digital literacy journey a couple of years ago I remember always hearing Deb Frazier and Cathy Mere sharing all the great ways they were incorporating technology with students.  I wanted that sooo badly but didn't know how to get started.  I realize now the two essentials that are necessary to start this journey are the following: knowing what are my core beliefs and establishing a reading and writing workshop.  I love this quote on pg. 4 - "We focus on the overall goal to teach kids how to think and then layer in purposeful tools along the way."   The teacher and students need to understand how the tool propels student learning.  They also mention that "tools" does not always mean a device or technology.  Tools are anything that support students as they are learning.  I think that it is important to always have a balance and a purpose so that learning can be intentional and scaffold towards independence.  As my literacy journey with students continues I need to remember my core beliefs and keep that as a solid foundation.  On page 5 it states - "We keep these leaders and established best practices, which are research based, teacher tested, and kid approved, at the core of all we do.  When introducing technological tools, we apply the same practices and strategies we use in reading and writing workshop." 

     The workshop's predictable model allows teachers to stick to their core beliefs about best practices and gives students opportunities to be supported at various levels.  Kristin and Katie make a great point on page 5, "Technology in the classroom fits easily into this hands on approach to learning: our students should be the ones using it."  As a teacher I started to think about how technology could be integrated into our reading and writing workshop but I didn't do it on a consistent basis.  I knew spaces like Google Docs and Kidblog gave my students a place to share their learning.  Many students would use Google Docs to organize their thinking for book talks or around their reading life.  Some would use Google slides and others would create tables. However, some readers preferred to have a small steno pad for each book. I let the readers decide on which tool helped them get prepared for their book club. Kids shared books via Kidblog and later on in the year we learned how to make book trailers as another tool to share books within our learning community. 

Here are a few examples:

     I need to think about how technology can be used as a tool to help students reflect on their learning too. I think that when students blog they were reflecting about their reading life but I didn't purposefully think about different ways to have my students reflect.  I used rubrics and they created goals but after chapter one I see I should have been more open and flexible. I focused mainly on how to use technology purposefully to guide instruction and as a tool to help students communicate what they felt was important to share as readers and writers. I also wanted technology to be a tool to use as a vehicle to celebrate and share quality work that needed to have a wider audience. 

     On page 18 in chapter one the authors discuss the use of digital bulletin boards and how this space is another way for students to make their thinking visible.  Digital bulletin boards also make it possible for the learners to also view, respond and interact (pg.18).  I used Padlet over the last couple of years in different ways.  The students love it and are always engaged in sharing their thinking with this tool. I really wish I would have incorporated it more into my chapter book read aloud time but it was at the end of the day so we often ran short on time.  This was a tool I used in the beginning of my journey because it is quick and easy to incorporate in a variety of purposeful ways within reading and writing workshop.  When you use Padlet as a quick check the best part is not carrying a stack of papers home all you need is your device to analyze and take notes. 

Third Grade Reading Goals 

Assessing Theme in 5th Grade

Flint Water Crisis - 5th grade

    Kristin and Katie state the following on page 19, "It doesn't matter where we are on the continuum, only that we've placed ourselves in the exciting world of digital learning."  This is so true and if we embrace this journey with colleagues and students we will continue to push ourselves as learners which will impact the ways we use digital tools within our daily lives.