What digital-age tools can I use to effectively design, develop and evaluate learning experiences in a 3rd grade classroom that students can extend or access beyond the classroom?
With the internet at our fingertips, teachers today have access to a multitude of online resources to choose from the enhance learning in their classrooms. Professional development and practice exchanges are no longer limited within school communities, conferences, and local teacher trainings. According to the eighth annual PBS teacher survey on media and technology, one-fourth of teachers in 2010 joined online communities to exchange resources, get information or advice, and connect with fellow teachers from around the world (PBS and Grunwald Associates, 2010). Even while evaluating my own question on digital-age tools and resources I can use in the classroom, I am able to share in online discussions with teachers in my program in other school districts and countries.
One of these teachers, Anna, introduced an article summarizing some of the digital tools found in classrooms that can enhance learning experiences such as SMART boards and online education video platforms. One of these especially that she mentioned, clickers, can be used to get immediate feedback for a verbal or written question. According to Kenney (2011), “CPS clicker technology in their classrooms found it to be beneficial as a form of assessment or as a review tool for their students.” (p. 71). While the anonymity may prompt students in an elementary classroom to answer more honestly than just by raising hands, I wonder if the technology can be modified so that they teacher may know which students give certain answers even while in the class it may show up as an impersonal but inclusive poll or chart of all the responses.
Extending those learning experiences from the classroom to collaborate at home, a guest speaker in one my math methods class casually mentioned Edmodo.com. Taking a closer look at the website, Edmodo appears to be a free to access, educational social network platform where students create their own profiles and join groups that teachers can create to form a cloud or online classroom. Teachers and students can collaborate, post work, share media, and even submit assignments and grades on Edmodo. One bonus of Edmodo is that parents can also join and communicate with their teachers as well. One way that teachers have used Edmodo is to create ‘flipped’ classrooms where learning assignments are uploaded and accessed at home by students who come to class the next day to discuss or more deeply engage the material.
Currently at my school the social network platform that students use is called Haiku. There may be limits to how accessible information can be for 3rd grade students, but one way that I have considered using Haiku space is by uploading assignments for absent students. With the pressure of having to keep up with curriculum pacing, sometimes it can be difficult to find time to catch students up on critical practice and work. By making classroom materials available online, parents can at least have access and take ownership for their child’s learning and place the responsibility on catching up on missed work a student rather than a teacher burden. While not entirely a flipped classroom, giving students and parents access to an online classroom extends ownership for their education outside of the school.
Cauley, P. (2011). Edmodo: a guide to explain it all. Retrieved from http://www.csub.edu/~tfernandez_ulloa/Edmodo%20User%20guide.pdf (Links to an external site.)
Kenney, L. (2011). Elementary education, there’s an app for that: Communication technology in the elementary school classroom. The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications. Retrieved from http://www.elon.edu/docs/e-web/academics/communications/research/vol2no1/07kenney.pdf (Links to an external site.)
PBS & Grunwald Associates (2010). Deepening Connections: Teachers Increasingly Rely on Media and Technology. Retrieved from http://www.grunwald.com/pdfs/PBS-GRUNWALD_2011_ANNUAL_ED_TECH_STUDY.pdf