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What a great article on how to approach redefining technology in the classroom. This article resonated with me for a simple reason. Today, I received a phone call from a colleague whose campus is applying for a grant. They want to put iPads in the hands of middle school students, all of them young women. What a neat deal! Of course, concerns immediately came to mind.
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It doesn’t hurt to keep in mind that more women are needed in STEM and embracing computer science…of course, do iPads and computer science go well together, really?
Among the concerns–management of iPads, deployment, training–was a much more important one. How would teachers and administrators go about changing the way they approach teaching and learning?
This article by Jennie Magiera goes after this question.
- Redefining Instruction With Technology: Five Essential Steps By Jennie Magiera
- First, I had to learn a hard lesson: Just bringing new technology in your classroom and working it into day-to-day routines isn’t enough.
- The iPads were not helping my students make substantial progress toward self-efficacy, academic achievement, or social-emotional growth.
- “What have we been doing so far with this technology?” Students used math apps instead of math card games. They’d made slideshow presentations for isolated units. They’d done some research on the Internet. In short, things were going … OK. Nothing to write home about. Not what I would consider “worthy” of a $20,000 grant.
- The problem, I began to realize, was my own understanding of how the iPads should be utilized in the classroom. I had seen them as a supplement to my pre-existing curriculum, trying to fit them into the structure of what I’d always done. This was the wrong approach: To truly change how my classroom worked, I needed a technology-based redefinition of my practice.
- Break down to rebuild.
- I would have to be willing to depart from what I had “always done” or “always taught.”
- By setting aside my pre-conceived notions of how my classroom “should” look, sound, and feel, I was able to transform my practice from the ground up.
- Redefine with a goal in mind.
- When rethinking your curriculum and classroom, identify the goals you have for yourself and your students. I focused on two important goals: increased differentiation and robust, efficient assessment. Next, I asked myself, “Can the iPads help me reach those goals?
- a few examples:
- I created interactive video mini-lessons to increase differentiation.
- I used online student surveys and audio/visual apps such as Toontastic to allow my students to voice their emotions, curiosities, and academic goals in private.
- To redefine assessment and differentiation, I employed websites such as Google Docs and Edmodo to create a faster feedback loop. These sites utilize color coding, instantaneous feedback, and automatic student grouping to allow me to immediately analyze data.
- Get more app for your money.
- I moved away from content apps, such as Rocket Math or Math Ninja, which are very engaging but only address a handful of standards.
- I focused on student-creation apps.
- students are now creating their own math videos, writing math blogs, and conducting challenge-based-learning math projects.
- the app Educreations allows students to record notations on a virtual whiteboard along with their narration, generating a multimedia lesson or problem explanation. This app can be used to address standards in all subjects and engages students at the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy: creation. Other versatile creation apps and programs include Toontastic, iMovie, Garage Band, PaperPort Notes, Kabaam, Popplet, and Aurasma Lite.
- Embrace failure.
- encourage risk taking—and greater achievements.
- Enjoy the results, reflect towards the future.
- After redefining my classroom, the iPads were out all day, every day. They were being pushed to their limit so that my students could be pushed to theirs. This effort paid off: 10 times as many of my students scored at the 90th percentile or above on the 2011 state test as compared to the 2010 state test.
- “[iPads] make me want to come to school every day because I know that Ms. Magiera has a lesson just for me.”
- Classroom redefinition is an ongoing process, and I can’t wait to discover what tomorrow brings.
- Jennie Magiera is a 4th and 5th grade math teacher and a technology and mathematics curriculum coach in Chicago Public Schools. A Teacher Leaders Network member, Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction, and Apple Distinguished Educator, she explores best practices in math pedagogy and technology in her blog, Teaching Like It’s 2999, and on Twitter @msmagiera.