What have been your favourite apps that you have used during this project and why?
Most of the apps that I have come to enjoy are more of the open ended production apps. Rather than just being consumers of knowledge, children are able to be producers of their own. iMovie is a great tool for students to use when retelling a story. Not only does using the iMovie app on the iPad create multi-modal connections for literacy, it also allows teachers to transform more traditional language arts activities or skills into an engaging authentic learning experience. Although google drive is not an app I have used yet with my grade one students, it has become a central to my practice as it allows me to work in collaboration with others and access my files from any device with internet access.
Have you had any “A-ha” moments in connecting with others through social media?
With regards to my experiences connecting with social media, I can definitely appreciate the value of being a contributor to the wealth of knowledge rather than just a consumer. Twitter has opened up access to educators around the world and also allows me to seek information in a more connected and personal way by connecting with real people for answers to my questions. While the short and sweet notion of Twitter lets you conveniently skim through tweets that cross your feed, links and items shared by others are usually very easy to access. What a great way to stay current on all of the hot button topics in the world of education, network, connect, collaborate and share with other teachers and professionals.
Discuss some of the sessions that you have delivered to your staff. What has been the impact in school?
A school wide session I delivered during a PD day focused on the impact of globalization and contemporary literacy. Not only has globalization contributed to rapid advancements in our society, technology, and the mass distribution of information, it has also significantly altered the way children learn. To facilitate 21st century literacy we must:
• Understand how children’s brains differ from any humans before
• Redefine traditional definitions of literacy to make room for multiple modes
• Choose to integrate technology in more open ended ways
• Support home literacies students are already fluent in and empower them to use their voice to engage and change society
This session opened conversations amongst teachers about where we see ourselves on the continuum of closed ended gamified literacy apps, where students are consumers of knowledge, to more open-ended transforming literacy practices when integrating technology, where students are producers and developing a voice? We also discussed how we can transform our practices to incorporate more open-ended practices.
The second session I facilitated was a small focus group that collaborated to create and utilize classroom blogs as a vehicle for making learning visible and for supporting early literacy development. Throughout the year we have maintained, revised and added to our blogs. Many students and families have cited several positive experiences but also agreed that the classroom blog did support student learning.