This has been an exciting year for me as I have stepped into a new role as a teacher technology consultant. This has been a dream of mine for about 10 years. I have always loved helping students integrate technology in the classroom. Naturally, this has helped me to gain the knowledge and experience needed to help teachers with technology integration in the classroom. As this year comes to a close, I wanted to take some time to reflect upon this past year and share some thoughts.
One of my PGP goals was to show teacher growth in at least one area of the NETS (National Educational Technology Standards). As I recently wrote my PGP self-evaluation, I was thrilled to show evidence that 75% of the teachers in Wayland showed growth in at least one NETS standard. Here are some of activities that I observed:
My hope for this year in regards to technology integration is that we all learn to use the 3 C's, Communication, Collaboration, and Celebration. I hope that we can all become better communicators (sharers of information) with each other, parents, and students. I also hope that we become better collaborators (discussers of information) with each other, parents, and students. And, finally, I hope that we can all celebrate our tremendous successes of technology integration with each other, parents, and our students.
As I look through the activities that I observed, I believe that this year we have learned to use the 3 C's with each other, parents, and students. As I celebrate the 3 C's, I hope that you too will celebrate our growth in technology integration at Wayland. I also hope that we will all continue to challenge ourselves and expand our realm of technology integration next year as well.
I want to thank all of the awesome teachers that I have worked with this year. Wayland teachers teach, inspire and challenge our children to become caring contributors, lifelong learners, and critical thinkers prepared to embrace all of tomorrow's opportunities.
As teachers, we are aware that all students learn and access information in different ways. We cannot just lecture to meet the needs of our entire class. Therefore, we need to find ways to share the same information in different ways. The NETS-T or ISTE Teacher Standards list this as 2c, to customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources.
With the use of technology, it can be very easy to offer multiple ways to learn about a given topic. For example, if a teacher was discussing Martin Luther King Jr. in February for Black History Month, they could talk about it in class. But it would be very beneficial for many students to view a video of one of his speeches. In addition, a teacher could find an interactive website that students could access from school or home to learn even more about him and the time period. Additionally, a teacher could engage the students with a blog in which students compare and contrast Dr. King with a modern day activist. The technology makes information about Dr. King available in many forms.
The NETS-T 2c standard also embraces the idea of UDL or Universal Design for Learning. "UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs." Technology can be a tremendous aid for a teacher choosing to implement UDL principles in their classes. You can learn more about UDL and Technology from the National Center on Universal Design for Learning.
Teachers can also offer differentiated learning experiences with the use of technology. I have seen this done in many ways from the Khan Academy Coach for differentiating math lessons to learning menus that involve technology and allow students choices of tasks to complete to show understanding.
As you continue to prepare lesson plans this year, don't forget to utilize technology as a valuable differentiated learning tool for students.