Last week we celebrated Digital Learning Day. It was great to see all of the awesome ways that students in Wayland are learning with the assistance of technology. Digital Learning Day is a good reminder that teachers need to regularly incorporate technology into their lesson plans. One standard, NETS-T 2b, suggests that teachers develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress. Basically, teachers need to allow students to be in charge of their own digital learning.
As elementary teachers already know, elementary students still need quite a bit of guidance as to how to manage their own learning. I suggest using a Student Goal Setting Worksheet (see pic of example worksheet at the top). A teacher would sit down with the student to fill out the form. Together they would list some digital activities that the student would choose to complete for improved learning. These activities could be done during classroom time or suggested for at home. One digital activity could involve the student using Sheppard Software (see pic at top) to help the student practice and monitor their progress in math. The teacher is still involved, but the student can begin to learn how to use technology to manage their own learning. Older students could be given a similar worksheet and asked to find their own digital activities that will help them in the learning process.
A teacher could also use Project-Based Learning (PBL) that incorporated technology. One important part of PBL is student choice. If students were also asked to monitor their progress along the way, this would be a great way to teach students how to oversee their own learning.
Another way to allow students to guide their own digital learning could be through menus or choice boards. In Choice Menus for Differentiation by Jackie Patanio, mentions, "All of my students are unique, so the choice is theirs to take charge of their learning." If menus or choice boards were paired with technology activities, it would be a great way to help student manage their own learning. In the math tic-tac-toe example shown above, a teacher could easily add a digital activity to accompany each choice.
Are you allowing your students to become 21st century learners by managing their own digital learning?
Digital tools are everywhere we look. Therefore, we need to be sure that we are incorporating them into our 21st Century teaching. The NETS-T has a strand that focuses on designing and developing digital age learning experiences and assessments. Today, I would like to focus on the NETS-T 2a which encourages teachers to Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity.
At Wayland, we are fortunate to have many technology tools available to use with our students. This allows for teachers to find many fun and creative ways to engage our students in learning. Technology tools can be used for simple tasks such as recording timings using the Clock App in a science lab to taking a picture of an example of parallel lines that a student finds in the hallway for math class. I know that it can take extra time to use technology for some of these tasks, but we need to make sure our students are proficient with using technology to complete tasks. The Next Generation Assessments are coming next year and we need to have them as prepared as possible to take these types of tests, which include using technology proficiently to answer questions.
In addition to simple tasks, there are so many ways that technology tools can be used to help students learn and be creative. I cannot begin to list the all the tools, but thought a graphic might help.
So, which of the tools, shown in the graphic above, do you use regularly in your classroom? Hopefully, we at Wayland are continuing to move to some of the newer technologies listed. If you are not using relevant technology regularly in your classroom, then you need to schedule some time with me to explore the technology possibilities that will work best for your classroom.
FINAL THOUGHT: I do have to say that I am not in favor of the Robot Teacher shown. I hope that I never live to see the day when a Robot Teacher replaces a teacher in Wayland!