Technology is woven into the fabric of our lives. Whether it’s smart phones, laptops, or to tablets. we use them everyday. Our job as educators is to prepare our students for this world. So how does a digital immigrant keep up with all the applications available, the constant changes, and the planned obsolescence of technology? How can we learn how to use the apps so we can teach it to the students? Don’t slip out the back, Jack just make a new plan Stan!
These days a technology plan is essential- it helps to focus efforts and make the best use of limited time. The first part of the plan is to use the resources available. In my district we have i coaches, ISWAT, and professional development opportunities to keep current with technologies and introduce us to applications (not only how to use the application, but also how to use it in our classrooms). Since we no longer have a computer lab, the i-coaches are our former computer teachers who present professional development and are available for classroom co-teaching or consultation. If I have an idea and want to integrate technology , I can bring my idea to an i-coach and ask for input not only about feasibility, but integration ideas as well. I have used these valuable resources in a limited way and will make the effort to learn and work with them. The ISWAT (I’m a Student Assisting With Technology) team is a group of students from 3,4, and 5th grade that are tech savvy. They are available to update computers, load software and help teach your students to log on, use applications and other helpful jobs. In my classroom, I have used the tech savvy students to help others use the applications, but not for other purposes so I have added them to my plan. As a one to one district, we have both our i-coaches and Apple computer coaches provide professional development. While I have taken some and found them all useful, I sometimes don’t find out about them right away. I am subscribing to the professional development i-cal so I will be informed of all the opportunities my district offers.
The second part of my technology professional development plan to to learn with the students and let the students teach me. This is where choice comes in. I like to offer choices to the students, but sometimes limit it to applications I understand. If I am willing to learn with the students and let the students teach me, I can increase the amount of choice. I have done this in the past with Glogster and Google Sketch-up with great success. Students would ask how to do something and I would always reply…let’s find out. Once we did, that student was responsible for teaching that skill to the others. I need to do more of that.
The next part of my plan involves social media. While I will never join facebook, linkedin, or other social networking sites as I feel that my private life is private, I do see the benefit of sites like Twitter or Tumbler. Short posts about what is happening in the classroom and resources from other educators are very useful. I started using twitter only for school events resources and communication and will to continue to use it. I also like having my resources in one place. As part of this class, we started a Delicious account. This has spurred me to really take advantage of a Symbaloo account. Symbaloo is similar to Delicious, I just like the format and aesthetics a little better. I will build a Symbaloo page with science resources on it to help me meet the needs of my students, and keep me current with trends and lessons in science.
I subscribe to a few professional organizations, and museum websites. I follow organizations and people relevant to my teaching on twitter. I subscribe to a few podcasts that are helpful to my teaching. I also add helpful links to my google plus account. By doing this, I feel I can get a handle on the current trends in technology. I have listed a few below.
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org – for Ell strategies
http://www.nsta.org – National Science Teachers Associaltion
www.nasa.gov– NASA’s government site
Staying in the know with technology seems a daunting task for a busy educator, but it’s very important. For me, a plan helps focus so I can make sense of it all.