I taught fourth grade for 5 years before taking my current position as an instructional technology specialist, otherwise known as iTech. It has been an interesting year to say the least! The beginning of the year was a huge learning curve for me! I had used technology in my own classroom, what I thought was a lot, but I had never dealt with a whole school before. The first week before teachers showed up was a cluster and a half! I had to figure out what technology I had, what technology needed to be fixed, and where all of the technology was along with cleaning up a computer lab that had 3 1/2 floppy disks still stashed away! If that gives you an idea of the age of some of the technology. I have been working to update technology on the campus and get teachers to start using more technology in their classrooms to enhance student learning. To make a long story short, it has been a lot to take in and a lot of challenges to get people where they need to be with technology. I have taken on the challenge and it has been a great learning experience. I am sure I will relate back to more of my experiences from the first semester, but for now I will start with the most recent
Last week I attended TCEA in Austin. I was only there for two days, but there was a lot to learn and take in in the short time I was there! I attended some great sessions and talked to a lot of vendors about their products. One of the best sessions I attended was put on by Tammy Worcester. She had numerous great resources to try out in the classroom to integrate technology and help your lessons flow more smoothly. The session I attended was called Flipped Classroom and she talked about some great tools to use for flipping your classroom along with what a flipped classroom is. The flipped classroom is where students learn the lesson outside of the classroom (usually through a video of some sort) and then the teacher does an activity with the students in the class to enhance the learning. A common misunderstanding of the flipped classroom is that when the kids come back to class, you just give them worksheets to complete. That is the opposite of what the flipped classroom should be. You should have meaningful activities planned that will help the students dig deeper into the concept of what they are learning. It is in essence more work for the teacher and student, but the rewards are much greater for both as well! Tammy gave some great ideas of how to create these videos. You can click on her name above and it will take you to her website where you can find all of the great ideas she has share there for you.
Another Great session I attended was put on by Katie Drake and Andrea Cardon. They presented about Literature Circles with a Techie Side. Here they talked about how they created an after school club where the students read books and then blogged about what they read for the week. It was a great idea to get students interested in reading and technology at the same time. There are several ideas you can take from their session and make them work for your classroom or your after school club. I have already started planning a technology club for next school year.
I'd say that's a rap for day one of iTech E in the blogosphere! I guess we will have to see if I return!