U21C Reflection – Jen Walton
I am very happy to have been involved in our school’s U21C project. I have changed from a reluctant and infrequent user of technology to a firm believer that it has an important place in my classroom!
Class blogging has changed my communication with parents significantly. I no longer send paper newsletters on a monthly basis because parents can check on our activities daily if they wish. Parents have commented that they prefer the immediate form of communication that they can refer back to instead! Students are also sharing their work and experiences differently with their parents because our blog is a conversation starter at home as well as a gallery of our work. Parents and students both love seeing the smiling faces of kids in action, right on the day of a great event!
Using SSDZ and personal devices is empowering to students. Activities requiring a device can now be planned at any time, not just when I am booked into the computer lab. Students are able to recognize how to use their device as a “TOOL, NOT A TOY”, and they understand what type of activities are for learning and which ones are purely for enjoyment at home.
One caution I do have is to be sure that students are still familiar with more traditional tools and skills (such as using alphabetical order in a dictionary or a phone book) as they are still needed in life and as a part of our curriculum. I feel it is very important that we do not ignore those outcomes that technology might miss – because sometimes your brain is the right tool, not an iPod or a computer.
Overall, my journey with U21C has been positive. I have now presented to my colleagues for the first time, and I feel that I do have something to offer! I am looking forward to the next steps along this path, and I hope to have my students creating and using their own blogs very soon as a means of extending their learning and showcasing their skills.
U21C Reflection – Melanie Quance
- We were able to keep in touch with other bloggers our age and see what is going on in their classrooms – Mrs. Laszuk, Ms.VanMaarion, Kathy Cassidy, etc.
- Great opportunity for students to do some writing – creating comments for other class/student blogs.
- A lot of fun to see our own projects/pictures/events displayed on the class blog.
- Parents felt they were more in touch with the classroom events. Provided parents the opportunity to generate a discussion with their child about the events of school and send us a comment.
Planning and Instruction
- Provides a variety of opportunity for students to explore and show what they know. New devices and approaches to showing understanding has been a lot more engaging for students.
- Differentiated instruction – provides a lot of opportunity for the variety of levels of knowledge of students in the classroom. Additional support/resources for students with various needs (ESL, low exposure to reading, high achievers).
- Teacher plans more often include a technology/student device element in them.
- Excited about researching on the internet.
- More willing to explore and take risks with the technology then some adults.
- Generates more ideas for how to show what you know.
- IT IS FUN!!
U21C Reflection – JoAnne VanMaarion
- Successes of Digital citizenship – students know alot about being safe on line and keeping personal information confidential.
- Class blogging – students are excited to see their work and VOICE online. A great way to share with family, grandparents, other classrooms, etc. Parents feel more informed and see snippets of life in the classroom. Great way to share.
- I feel that my own technology has grown exponetially. I do feel that a challenge we have in grade one is that we are the starting building blocks for everything, and we have to find balance with everything. It takes time to do the blogging/digital citizenship. We just need to make sure that everything that we are doing has purpose and keep what is important. The tech project has been great. Looking forward to seeing what this year brings.
- In grade one, we haven’t gone through the process with students bringing devices yet. We may consider that this year???
U21C Reflection – Tracy Wirtanen
- Last year I was fortunate to participate in our school’s U21C project. One of the things our leadership team was able to do, was to create and maintain classroom blogs. Being a technology novice, I was instantly amazed by the benefits and reaction to this “new” communication tool in my classroom. Students were highly motivated to extend their learning, and participate in online discussions through commenting. Our students were not only working on basic literacy skills, but they werealso practicing their good “digital citizenship” habits on a regular basis. Parents expressed a great deal of appreciation for this convenient, frequently updated communication. Other teachers, and blog followers around the world, began to make connections with our classroom through the blog. This was not only a great motivator for my students, but also aided in their understanding of global citizenship. After our U21C team had a solid understanding of basic blogging, our team was given the opportunity to mentor other teachers on staff. Within this comfortable, supportive, team atmosphere, our fellow staff members quickly realized the numerous educational benefits of this technology, as they started their own journey into the blogging world.