Here is a digital story I created, focusing on how I could integrate technology into my lessons. Also linked here.
After talking to my CT and others in the school that I have been placed at, I have learned about the technology that is available for a teacher to access at this inner city school and what it is like to work with these resources. The technology that is available in a standard classroom include; two desktop computers, a projector, document camera, dvd player, and cd player. There are four laptop carts that circulate through the school that teachers are able to rent out for hour time slots. Teachers are also encouraged to apply for grants to increase the technology devices that are in their personal classroom. However, students are not allowed to bring devices to school. Besides this there is one other computer lab in the school which teachers have assigned time slots once a week. The school has wireless internet access for the laptops and other devices to connect to the internet. The school does have a firewall, and there is limited student access, however the school does not limit sites like YouTube so that teachers can continue to use these resources in the classroom. One teacher is designated the technology guru and they are in charge of maintaining and answering internet or subscription questions that teachers might have. The electronic subscription that my school has includes; Pearson, Imagine Learning, and Go Math.
There are many ways that a blog could be used in a classroom, one of these ways that I think would be great for parent involvement would be to use it to document what their children were doing in school that day. Teachers could post pictures of writing that a student did, math problems that they have been working in groups to solve creatively or science experiments that the students did through the day. Parents could check the blog daily and ask their student more directly about what their student did in school that day so when they get the “School was good. We did nothing” answer, parents can ask specifically about certain activities that happened throughout the day. This might also be a rewarding place to highlight student achievements that might get overlooked. This can then also be a great way for parents to share with other interested family members such as grandparents so that they too can be interested and invested in the work that their student is doing in the classroom. All this being said, if the teacher is being consistent in posting and the parents are regularly checking in on the blog, the student will feel accountable for what they are learning and begin to take initiative in their learning.
Of course there are a few restraints that teachers can also experience when using technology such as blogs to view or assign homework. It is possible that many students do not have access to computers if they are not assigned one by the school. The possibility of excluding a small few would make this mode of communication unfair, and the teacher would have to find another way to have this communication with parents. The possibility of technology failing when you need it would also be frustrating for teachers as they would have to have a backup plan for these situations.
My name is Chelsea VanderZwaag, when I graduate from Grand Valley next winter I will be certified in Mathematics and Elementary Education. In my free time I enjoy being outside, exploring what this beautiful world has to offer, and yoga. Some of my favorite memories have been camping trips with friends to northern Michigan. I love to bike, hike and be on the beach enjoying the sun. I enjoy traveling and meeting new people. The summer of 2016 I had the opportunity to do this in New York City. I spent seven weeks here leading short term mission trips in Harlem where we led a kids club, helped out at a soup kitchen and food pantry, as well as visiting a nursing home and daycare center. This trip shaped my life by opening my eyes to what it might be like to be homeless and what it would look like to be a child growing up in the projects. For this reason, innercity schools have become of large interest to me and one day I hope to teach in a location similar to the experience that I had this summer.
I am excited to be in this class and continue to develop my knowledge of technology in education. Technology can help open many different doors for students as information is readily available. I feel that this plays a huge role in helping our students to understand the many opportunities and diversity that our world has to offer. Technology that I am currently familiar using would include standard classroom features such as a document camera, projector, a computer, as well as a handful of websites that are good tools for students. I am excited however to expand this knowledge and gather more tools that I can use to assist in student learning.
Here's a video of me doing something I love!