BEd Teacher Candidates (TCs) this year will have opportunities to flex their digital technology muscles by creating presentations for course assignments and by planning ways to engage their own students on practicum in using digital technologies. In particular, elementary TCs in most sections of LLED 350 Classroom Discourses will create a multi-media presentation in response to their “Literacy Autobiography Assignment”. This assignment affords TCs the opportunity to develop digital and technological literacy while also sharing a literacy the TC has developed or is developing.
In support of this assignment, I worked with Monica Shank, a GTA in the course, to develop an in-class workshop to provide students with opportunities for hands-on exploration and facilitated discussion about the considerations involved in multimedia creation.
It is my hope that TCs see this as not simply an opportunity to learn to develop their own skills as students but will see the potential for incorporating this kind of assignment into their own teaching practices to provide their own students with opportunities to CREATE (rather than simply consuming) as a way to achieve higher order thinking (Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy pictured here)
Last week, I was also invited by Patrick Robertson and Teresa Rowley to work with the Sustainability cohort who are being encouraged to create and share their BEd Inquiry Proposals in unique ways. Students played with ‘StoryBird‘ – a very visual and artistic little browser based app for digital storytelling. Within 10 to 20 minutes, the students were able to effectively utilize the app to begin creating stories and poems. We learned that we can also find and read stories shared in the storybook community. I loved this example called “I’m a Teacher” created by Ms. Bader to share her Philosophy of Education as a teacher candidate or early career teacher.
We also looked at Haiku Deck, a digital presentation tool with built in Creative Commons images that places a limitation on the amount of text one can have on any given slide. Using this app can support students creating a visual presentation and seeing themselves as the ‘storyteller’ (rather than relying on a slide to tell the whole story).
Something I hope I was able to convey through modelling is an approach to introducing ‘new’ digital technologies to students in an experiential and playful way. Rather than ‘teaching’ whole class ‘how to’ use a particular technology (and risk losing many of your students to boredom or going over their heads), I have always provided my students (of ALL ages from K through secondary) opportunities to play with a given app or tool for a period of time prior to their being an expectation of actually using it for a given purpose. I find this helps lessen anxiety and affords students the opportunity to learn from and teach one another.My ‘general’ process for this:
- Show the students a very brief example of the technology ‘in action’
- Provide time for the students to play with the technology in pairs or small groups (with the instruction that they may only ask the teacher to help with tech issues – can’t open, won’t boot, etc – for the first 5 to 15 min depending on the complexity of the tech).
- Teacher circulates and invites students to share (or ‘satellite’) their knowledge with others.
- Once students have had exposure to different ways of representing their learning, I strongly recommend providing them with some choice and agency. Providing the choice of medium, from digital to analogue, helps meet the needs of varied learners and supports a Universal Design for Learning approach to planning and teaching.
In my experience, students can and will teach themselves and each other even more complex applications. I followed the above process with a group of grade 1/2 students using Garage Band to learn to create PodCasts. Within about 1/2 hour, all of the students were able to create a file, add loops, add audio and images. After their initial exploration, students storyboarded and created some very informative podcasts about the salmon in our classroom were ready to share with the school!
As a long time elementary teacher, I always try to provide my students with time to ‘play out’ and experiment with any technology – from math manipulative to science equipment to art supplies to digital technologies. Philosophically, I love being able to incorporate the above approach into my co-teaching in the BEd program and hope TCs are reminded to give their own students such opportunities in order to allow them time to co-construct their knowledge and skills! YD
RESOURCES from our sessions:
Digital Storytelling Post by Janis Sawatzky – provides a nice overview of digital storytelling and links to the various applications we introduced in the classroom session and in the followup drop in Scarfe Sandbox ‘PlayShops’ held on Oct. 2, 3, 9th.
Slides from our session in LLED 350 (October 2018):
Special thanks to:
- the Sustainability Cohort ‘team’: Dr. Patrick Robertson & Dr. Teresa Rowley
- the ‘LLED team’: Monica Shank, LLED GTA, Dr. Kathy Shoemaker and Sue Belliveau, course instructors and to Marlene Asselin, course coordinator.
- the Scarfe Sandbox team – Eric Lee and Janis Sawatzky for helping develop and facilitate this session