Saturday, July 23, 2016

teacher tech talk [final project post]

Even though the course I took at the Kodiak Island Virtual Learning Conference was on paper circuitry, my learning has certainly reached beyond that specific skill.  Overall I am taking away for the course the idea of new methods of communication and building community.

The district I teach in is physically the size of many lower 48 states, populated with ten small schools.  There are no roads between the schools.  Boat, airplane, and snow machine (when there is snow) are the only means of transportation between each village. Last year, my elementary class had multiple opportunities to travel to other schools and villages for athletic competitions.  They very much looked forward to this and it was a time that they could get to know other students in their extended community.  With all the budget cuts faced in the coming year, I doubt this travel will be possible.  Building that connection across the district is something I feel may have a hugely positive long-term impact. For this reason it is my goal for the coming year is to connect with other 6th grade classrooms within our district.  My hope is that opening a channel of communication will allow for and ultimately lead to knowledge sharing.  

During the course of new teacher orientation and district in-service I would like to begin by connecting with other 6th grade teachers.  My aim is to find at least one other teacher willing to connect on a regular basis.  Last year ClassDojo added Class Story to their platform.  I had the chance to explore it a bit and think it may be a good communication method.  It is secure but easily facilitates allowing other users access. Parents and family can also easily be added to see what is happening in our classroom.

We will start small and simple.  Each day together, we will choose a photo (or video) and summary sentence for our learning.  The goal being that the other class would do the same and the next morning we can see what happened in their class the day before.  This would serve equal parts review and incentive for the new day’s learning.  Once the communication becomes more fluid, I would say by the end of September, I would like eventually like to have the class summarizing for each subject of the day.  The goal being to have other classes in the district doing the same so that we can passively see what is happening in other classrooms.  

The next layer of this communication will begin in the second week of school.  I would like to open a video chat between classrooms to have the students introduce themselves.  The next week I would like for them to have a few ideas about their community prepared to share with the other class.  This meshes well with beginning of the year learning about one another as well as social studies goals.  I am very interested to see what might come of building rapport between the students.  I would like for this to turn into a weekly video chat that has a theme and meets with the learning goals of both classrooms.  This would be a great place to share their makerspace creations and ideas.

Thinking in the long term, I know that this process will shift and I must allow for the outcome to be organic with our classroom.  It would be my hope that by the spring the idea of participating in a shared classroom lesson or learning experience would be possible.  The technological groundwork positive social media skills would be in place.

1 comment:

The Simplers said...

Hi Sharon, you have a great idea to use technology to connect with students in other villages. It will definitely open up everyone's world and will be so fun! Writing a good old fashioned letter would be fun for the kids too- maybe save that for when the technology has a blip one day :-) Have a great year! ~ Kathy