Creating an environment in which technology is woven in seamlessly to support student learning is key to the adoption of educational technology. As a teacher, it is something I must be capable of modeling for peers and students. Troubleshooting with students and peers, collaborating with colleagues, and modeling the use of a wide array of technology has been key to bringing about change within my classroom, school, and district.
One of the largest challenges for any technology coach, is being able to troubleshoot for a variety of devices and programs on the spot. Over the past 4 years, I have honed these skills learning to troubleshoot issues on desktops, Chromebooks, laptops, iPads, Promethean/Smart Boards, Android devices, and other student devices. In addition, I have troubleshooted issues for teachers and the district with state testing, MAP testing, projector issues, ELMO issues, log-in troubles, and various programs.
"Thanks for Problem solving! You guys are awesome!"
"The problem appears to be with the ELMO and not the power adapter. Fortunately, with your help that's what I was trying to determine."
During this school year, I piloted the BYOD program for Westlake Schools at the elementary level. Students in my homeroom this year had the option of bringing in their own device to use within the classroom. All student devices that were capable of connecting to the internet were welcome. Prior to the start of the year, I sent an interest survey to all incoming fourth graders to gauge parent interest. During the month before the school year begin, I sent a letter to all of my incoming students and parents to welcome them to the room and explain BYOD. Within the first 2 weeks of school we had open house. At open house, I reviewed all policies with parents and answered any questions for concerns. Having open lines of communication with parents and troubleshooting problems with devices with our technology department has lead to the continued success of this endeavor.
Successfully integrating technology within a classroom takes extensive management. Students have to know the expectation with device use and have to understand how to work with others while using their devices. During this year, devices have been slowly integrated. Lots of discussion has taken place with students about how to work in pairs, how to choose the best location for learning, and strategies students can use to help them stay on task. Prior to lessons, students and I model proper use with our devices. Giving students time to explore new programs and tools before beginning learning tasks has also aided classroom management. For example, when introducing Storyboard That to students, I gave them the first 20 minutes to explore the tool. Not only was this a better way for them to discover the program and learn how to use it, students were also able to move around, share ideas with their peers, and get themselves ready for our social studies lesson utilizing Storyboard That.
Sharing resources with peers, students, and parents is an invaluable way to build a community. Through multiple Google Classrooms, I am able to share different materials with students. As part of our exhibition project based learning activity, I have created a separate Google Classroom This has allowed me to share classroom materials and also articles, webpages, and images of interest to students. To share with parents, I have created a YouTube channel to share technical and academic videos which may help students at home as well as a Twitter account to send out communication to parents. Through use of several Twitter tools, parents are able to get news via Tweet, text, embedded feed on my webpage, visiting my Twitter page, or emails sent through If This Then That. To share with peers, I have been created YouTube videos in a playlist meant for teachers. By creating QR codes to easily access this playlist, teachers are able to access these resources when needed.