Teaching MYP (Design) Technology, I always try to embed technology into learning and teaching in my classroom. While I feel that most of my units and lessons are in the modification and redefinition areas of technology integration, there is always room for improvement. Every year groups of students are different, technology is constantly changing, and I am trying to improve the learning that goes on in my classes, so my technology integration and teaching changes constantly.
While I don’t have time this week to go through all of my units and really analyze them using the SAMR Model, I definitely think I will pull out the graphic when I am writing new curriculum and when I am reflecting on my units to see how I’m using my technology and how I can transform my instruction.
One important part of my MS Tech Coordinator job (and one of my favorites) is “managing” the student blogs (which they also use as a digital portfolios). When I started my position three years ago, the school was just starting to use digital portfolios in the middle school. I have had a lot of input on our handbook (which we are currently re-evaluating) and the implementation of the portfolios in our middle school.
At first, the blogs were just substituting the large folders students would use to present their work at their student-led conferences in May. That first year, students were just posting work as guided by their teachers in classes and they ticked categories of the Learner Profile and our mission statement because it was required. Very quickly, I learned that this was just a chore for students and it really wasn’t promoting or encouraging any more learning, communication or connections.
Last year, I started planning lessons for advisory teachers to help students create portfolios that “celebrated their work, showed growth and demonstrate progress towards fulfilling our schools’ mission statement”. I have encouraged parents to read their child’s blogs and comment. I have created a Blog Round-Up (inspired by Paula and Jabiz) to showcase great blog posts to our community. This has encouraged students to write good posts and they have been able to connect with people all over the world in their posts, which inspires them to post more.
The students blogs are a way for students to publish their best work, but it is also a place for them to connect with others. This is an area that I need to continue to work on, especially with other teachers. I have blogged for over six years for both work and our family. I read a lot of blogs. Many of my colleagues don’t. I need to help them assign more interactive assignments and allow kids to use their blogs as a way to share their thoughts and learning.
The student blogs at my school are improving year by year, but we can continue to do better. I’m curious to hear what anyone else does out there with their student blogs or online publishing that supports more effective tech integration. I really enjoyed the Edutopia article: Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?: The Reasons Are Many. What really resonated with me was the part that stated, ” to effectively integrate technology it must deepen and enhance the learning process through: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback and connection to real-world experts.”
What do you do at your schools?
What has been successful with your school blogs/digital portfolios?
Tags: blogging, blogs, digital portfolios, SAMR, technology integration