Over the course of the past 7 weeks, I have been busy teaching at a new school, with 26 new students, new staff and started my first semester of grad school. If I were to explain how overwhelmed and exhausted I am, it may take me some time. However, I am so happy to say that I throughly enjoyed taking my first course, CEP 810, Teaching for Understanding with Technology. It was such an engaging class even though it was solely online. I was able to communicate with classmates via Twitter, Zoom, ShareTracker, and blogs.
This class has taught me so much from reflecting on my learning through my own personal blog, using Wunderlist to keep track of my lists and “to-do’s” to creating a PLN using Popplet and how to repurpose tools that we do have in order to fit our needs (TPACK).
Not only did I learn new things, but was definitely pushed out of my comfort zone when having to learn something new only using YouTube and help forums. I chose to knit an infinity scarf, something I have always wanted to do, but never found the time to do it. I watched various YouTube videos in order to help me understand how to begin knitting as well as finish it off. It was incredible to experience this type of learning first hand and makes me want to implement in my classroom.
One other project that got me really thinking was the cooking with TPACK. I loved the experience of only having three tools and going through the thought process of how and why I repurposed each tool in order to fit my needs. It was interesting to see my reaction when playing the video back at how surprised I was that my bowl was able to cut my sandwich in half. This was a great learning experience in remembering that although we may not always have the tools and technology that we need, we can repurpose the tools we have, in order to complete the same task.
In relating this back to my own classroom, I am excited to bring new ideas and technologies to my students. The one I foresee starting with right away is Popplet. The reason being is that it is colorful, easy to maneuver, drawing and text options are available, as well as the fact that I teach kindergarten. We are currently working a lot with life cycles (apples and pumpkins), that I think this would be a great activity to use with Popplet. It’s a more engaging, fun, and unique way for students to show me what they understand. I also want to try something close to the cooking with TPACK with my students as well. I think this would be a great way for me to show them how to repurpose or adapt their tools or technology to fit their needs. Since I do teach kindergarten, getting them started with this mindset of repurposing at a young age will only benefit them in the future.
Some technologies that I have added for the parents use in my classroom this year are Remind and SignUpGenius. Remind helps me to communicate with parents quickly. I can send out class reminders as well as “chat” with parents about questions or concerns via Remind also. Signupgenie is another technology I started this year with parents in signing up for volunteering or bringing items in. It has worked out tremendously and saves me a lot more time and effort from sending papers back and forth to parents about these same things.
After taking this course, my hopes are to continue adding new technologies to the classroom. I want to give my students the opportunity to learn in a new and innovating way with trial and error, creativity, and thought. Since I do teach students at such a young age, I often find myself asking the question, “How can I teach this to 5 year olds?” I think I get so caught up in their age, not realizing that many already have prior knowledge on using technologies. I need to get in the mindset that they do have a little background working with technology and the more opportunities I provide them to continue using it will only enhance their learning and understanding.
With all this new technology and wanting to try it, I do have some frustration in that I have not had a working Elmo, Smartboard, or iPads for the first 6 weeks of school teaching kindergarten. I want to try these new ideas and give my students opportunities, but right now am limited in that area. I hope to continue learning technologies and playing around with them to gain more knowledge so that when I do have the technology available I can serve my students needs better. For now, I will continue coming up with lessons that involve technologies and serve the purpose of enhancing my students knowledge and gets them excited about learning!