Thursday, November 29, 2012
Technology in the Classroom CAN Benefit Students
I recently had the pleasure of meeting with our school's Literacy/Numeracy Teacher, Paula Windsor. Paula came in to my room to support me around a "Blended Learning" Pathway that is being created to assist my students with their preparation for the sacrament of Reconciliation. While Paula was in my classroom the students were working on Math using the iPads and iPod Touches. I asked Paula if she wouldn't mind providing me with some of the things she observed/heard while my students worked on their Math using the iOS devices.
Here are Paula's words:
"I was quite amazed to see children in your class remain engaged and collaborative for over an hour while using the iPad & iPod devices to explore math games. I noticed that often times the children each had a hand on the devices and the control of the device flowed from one child to another. One group of three had 2 boys and a girl. I noticed that the girl in the group verbalized a strategy that she noticed one of the boys use and then the other boy shared his strategy along with why he thought that it was easier. The biggest thing that I noticed was that they were talking with each other and engaged in ensuring that their ideas were heard and understood. The devices seemed like a focal point at the onset but they were not solely absorbed with the technology to the detriment of peer interaction. Rather the peer interactions seemed to be driven by their engagement in the games and their shared schema relating to the strategies and problem solving skills essential to navigating the technology. One boy was drawing conclusions about the data that he was collecting and he was referring to both the numeric data on the t-table and the pictorial data proportionally represented on the circle graph. He was excited to share that two of the three hockey teams were tied and that he interpreted this to mean that they were equally liked among the group that he had surveyed. Later he concluded that one team was more supported in the class then the other two but that it was only a single vote that made this so which he decided meant that there was not a single team that was the obvious favourite (much deeper conclusions than the typical “shamrocks win” that many gr.2 kids claim)"
I am happy that Paula was able to witness the level of engagement and focus that the students demonstrated. Their capacity and interest continues to grow. They are fully aware of the responsibility that comes with using the technology collaboratively, demonstrating their thinking/learning, and creativity.
It is such an exciting journey that I am on with my students! Please do check back to see how my students and I are doing with the integration of technology in our class.