I am always looking forward to find new ways to integrate technology to the curriculum. After this course on Instructional Technology, my vision for teaching and student learning has had a shift in my mind. To exemplify it, I chose the first unit of inquiry (UoI) from the PYP for third grade level to expose the horizons now and three years from now in order to improve the integration of technology.
The unit of inquiry is “Chain Reaction”:
- Transdisciplinary Theme: How We Organize Ourselves
- Central idea: Our choices and actions affect society
- Lines of Inquiry:
- Children’s rights and obligations
- The importance of values (PYP student attitudes and learner profile)
- How respectful interactions lead to positive relationships
The technology integrated to this unit was the introduction and use of Google Apps in order for “students to use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others” among other NETS standards (International Society for Technology in Education [NETS], 2012.)
My vision of approaching this UoI in the horizon looks as follows:
Monday, Jan 20, 2014...
Google apps were introduced and set up along with the students at the beginning of this school year (August-September 2013) with the UoI “Chain Reaction”. The content of the document was in charge of the lead teachers and depended on their personal approaches to the lines of inquiry for the UoI. All third grade students have been using Chrome as their default browser in the lab ever since. They have been using Google Docs and Presentation mostly since September. They have been using e-mails to communicate with their teachers, parents and friends. They know their work is available in Google Drive and some have discovered Drawing. Most of them understand they are in a safe network environment and that they have been using cloud computing, this is, they know they can find their work in any other device outside the lab, which was not possible when they were in 2nd grade.
As for January 20, they will continue to create shared documents and presentations in at least one more UoI. When they were introduced to the shared apps, they worked in teams or couples within the lab environment. As time has passed by, and the teachers and students have become familiar with the use of Google Apps, they have been working also in teams from home. Students have done some research online and have taken notes in order to create their documents and presentations. I have introduced Diigo to some of the groups but others have not had the time to do it. No printing has happened in the lab since 3 years ago, so far, this is an eco-friendly lab.
Next school year...
The introduction and use of Google Apps will continue with this same UoI since students will be using Google Apps from then on. The Mac desktops in the lab will be running Mavericks OSX in the newest version smoothly. The features of Google Apps will probably change for the best and I will have to be ready for these updates.
There will be an important extra shift going on though, the full implementation of the BYOD program at our school will be running effectively. Consequently, students will have access to the Apps not only in my lab, but also in their classrooms through iPads or at home with a variety of devices. Collaboration will move on to a higher level since it will happen not only in the lab, but from the classroom or home at the same time. Children will understand cloud computing and how they can use it much better through direct experience.
Their research procedures will change as well. Class time will be used better and we will have more time for research in the lab. I will teach how to use the Google Docs research tools to look for information for their inquiry. The teachers will be aware that they use their own words for their reports and the participation of each student. They will also have time to work with Diigo so instead of taking handwritten notes (notes students always loose), they will have their research work saved and also available in every device they use in the Web. By highlighting or making notes on the webpages found to support their inquiry process, students will understand researching online better and will be able to have access to their information and share ir with classmates and supervised by their teachers.
Three years from now...
The lab will still be in use. The Mac desktops will be running a new operating system or an updated version of the last available if they can run it. Google will still be running on them. However, depending on the trends of technology, it could happen that most the technology could be taking place more into the classroom than into the lab. Cloud computing and mobile devices use for education will be both fully in use. More useful apps will show up and added to the ones that still are in use. They will make the research process easier among other processes.
Teachers and administrators will be looking forward for new challenges to face. One of them could be using learning analytics in order to decipher trends of student-related data, to further the advancement of a personalized, supportive system of K-12 education. Another, the use of open content, and bring the textbooks to the mobile devices. Technology into the classroom will be looking forward to be customized to each student’s unique needs through the development of new technologies that will provide more learner choice and control and allow for differentiated instruction (New Media Consortium [NMC], 2013).
Some other trends on the use of technology in education might arise and be adopted, since this is the vision of the school regarding modern infrastructure: “ASF is a 21st century learning environment because of ongoing investment and stewardship in: state of the art classrooms conducive to interactive learning; the finest technology, classrooms, science laboratories and athletic facilities; a new performing arts venue; the vanguard of technologies for students to research, work and communicate effectively” (The American School Foundation, 2014).
The shift in my mind is huge. I am already a pro 21st century learning teacher looking forward for my students to use Web 2.0 tools to create technology products that will prepare them for the future in the present. However, my perspective moved from: “I will work with whatever new technology is available and let us see what comes next” to “I understand where I need to go.”
This new understanding and connections made me embrace a new vision of how things will evolve, which is just fine; nevertheless, in the mean time, while embracing this new vision, I also understand that I do not need to rush towards the horizon, since it is never ending, but to enjoy the ride.
Beers, S. (2011). Teaching 21st Century Skills: An ASCD Action Tool. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD.International Society for Technology in Education. (2012). ISTE NETS. Students. Retrieved from ISTE: http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/nets-s-standards.pdf?sfvrsn=2Jukes, I., McCain, T., & Crockett, L. (2011). Education and the Role of the Educator in the Future. Phi Delta Kappan , 92 (4), 15-21.New Media Consortium. (2013). Horizon Report 2013, K-12 Edition. Retrieved from HZ NMC Horizon Report: http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2013-horizon-report-k12.pdfThe American School Foundation. (2014). Mission and Vision. Retrieved from The American School Foundation. Educating Global Citizens for a Changing World: http://www.asf.edu.mx/about/mission-and-vision/index.aspx
Final Project #EDC601 (@pattyshanti & @tipsbytracey)