Managing technology

Technology

Image: my image via befunky

A school can reasonably expect its teachers to confidently and competently use the technology it has committed to and parents may or may not be helping to supply. A school can also expect to create the scaffolding to ensure that teachers learn the use of the devices and software supplied. At the conference I was at recently I noticed the NZ teachers were very good and comfortable with iPads and they all had little keyboards for the keynote sessions. They typed their notes, took pictures, could access and contribute to social media. Outside of those sessions they could quickly access their own classroom materials from the cloud, their emails and were just very familiar with the devices. Same with the Canberra primary teachers. It tends to suggest they had been well trained. This is always easier in a smaller school and in smaller groups. It works like that in our office at school . There are about 14 teachers and then other people who come to the office for various reasons for short stays, like student teachers and a French assistant. We all have different capabilities with technology and different interests. It has evolved into a learning hub for technology. We share, we show , we engage and we fix. Recently, it’s been mobile technology focus . By the time we’d done the show and tell there were some teachers who realised they needed to upgrade and take on some of the new learning with mobile technology. There was no pressure. It just happens because we share and feel free to ask questions or ask for help. Our school has also been offering learning sessions for various things from how to better use the white boards , to Google docs and various other basics so we are all on the same page so to speak. Past that point different teachers are or aren’t pursuing different technology ideas and equipment in their classrooms. Some are working on iPads, some are developing skills in particular software, others are Windows based and continuing to develop those competencies even though we run on MacBooks.Some are reaching for the stars. We are currently installing Apple TV. Of course there are issues with all sorts of technology. It’s a school. We are all learning. While there are connection problems we go for the software. At the moment we are learning to navigate everything and anything. It’s exploring. As we do that you can see that some are really developing some good educational uses for what they have been trying. Others are more encouraged to try. We are educators. Some software and some technology will normalise in the classroom but we all have to be ready to get out there and give something else a try because things are changing quickly. There should be no one approach and no single dedicated classroom model. We are not there yet. If we opt for one thing, we shall be missing out on the changes on the developments. What is important is that you have a mix of teachers with a mix of interests and skills. You need the risk takers and pioneers, you need to supply scaffolding for basics and expected knowledge and past that point you let people know what’s around or you just install it and let people find out. Getting the right tool for the job is important. Knowing what is available and what its educational possibilities are comes from creating learning hubs and allowing people to discover what suits them and fits their classroom needs.

Learn to blog

The more teachers are coming on the Net to share their ideas , the more the world is learning there is an important role educators can play in the development and underpinning of good practice on the Net which enables all to share the benefits of being digitally connected. Blogging is one of those benefits. I have blogged since 2003 but now we have the One to One programme I am finding blogging is taking on a new role in my life and my classroom. One of the ways I rally my classroom resources is by having a subject specific blog. My French blog initially started because I had student teachers asking me to make my ideas available. I also had ex students asking me where they could learn French. The school then went into One to One and I thought I could use a blog to help me organise my classroom. I put media and interactive materials on my blog so I can quickly find them. It means I have the unit materials there and ready to go. I also put up grammar points or useful sites and then I put up interactive practice and things for students to be able to do if we have some spare time. The laptop students have made good use of this blog to help them while they are at home and it has helped to fast track students who have learning gaps. I then run this blog to help teachers and students become more aware of what is available in terms of classroom technology. So, if you want to blog, WordPress has opened up a teaching corner for you so that you, as a new blog learner , can get support and ideas to open and run your own blog. That is what I like to see! So visit Learn WordPress.com and welcome to the blogosphere.

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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