Final thoughts on Course 4

Thought this course I have constantly been evaluating my stance on Technology integration and what that really means and looks like, particularly with in this school.  I have wondered just how far we have come integrating technology within out lessons and I have particularly enjoyed reading Kim Cofino’s articles.  I really like the idea of looking at technology as an environmental factor in my lessons rather than tool that is carted out , used then neatly put away.  She makes a great analogy between ESL teachers and Technology teachers in her blog, “We are all Technology Teachers”.  It encouraged me to look at the classroom through a very different lens.  What skills and support do our teachers need to be effect technology teachers? How can we bridge the gap between technology being done to our students and technology being used naturally by our students.  I know that many will think that it is all down to resources, but some of the most inspirational teachers I have met work in school where there are little of no resources – and the thought of having parents send devices into school is laughable.  We must look at the technology that we have available, read the research and talk to our peers about how we can best serve our students in the 21st Century, preparing them for the world that they will live and work in.  
For my project i have taken a unit of work in Visual Arts that has previously been taught using paper flick books.  The students had to retell a story through simple animated flick books.  I read over some of the teacher reflections for this unit and realised that often students found the use of the flick book was restricted to the students skills in drawing.  Students also found the need for accuracy extremely frustrating.  I was inspired when watching the grade 1 teacher teach sentence structure and the need for stories to have a clear beginning middle and end.  I could instantly see how this would connected the construction of a program in Scratch Jnr.  The students would have to think about the way the story unfolds, how it begins, what happened and how it ends.  In addition to this, I could see how the programming blocks are connected in the same was a sentence is structured; there are trigger blocks, motion blocks, appearance blocks, and end block – much like Capital letters, nouns, verbs, adjectives and full stops.  I felt that the use of Scratch jar would support homeroom lessons and allow students to make connection between subjects, using transdisciplinary skills.  There is also the potential for the students to be assessed on their understanding of story structure and the different ways that story can be told, rather than on their ability to accurately copy pictures from one page to another.  Overall, the use of technology within this unit would free students from eh confines of what they could draw and give them new opportunities to express themselves.
  • Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?
    • This unit lends it’s well to the use of technology and give the students a possible alternative from writing and/or drawing.  It enables them to think about the actions of the characters and how theres actions can help to tell a story.  It is perfect of our Real students as there is very little language that need to be used and the students are learning the meaning of the blocks at the same time – thus giving them all new vocabulary to draw from.
  • What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?
    • I am concerned that some students may find the abstract nature of programming a challenge, resulting the focus of the learning moving from story telling to programming, especially as the learning intention looks at how – ‘Stories can be constructed, told and interpreted in different ways.’
  • What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?
    • I will have to ensure that as a specialist teacher in ICT for so many years I have always focused on teaching the skills, however throughout this unit I am creating transdisciplinary links with the Unit of Inquiry and we the Visual Arts curriculum.  This requires a very different focus.  I am using the technology merely as a tool to ensure that students have a different medium to express their understanding of the structure of a story.
  • What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?
    • As our school curriculum is guided by the IB, I would hope that the students are displaying the following Learner Profile Attributes:
      • Thinking – We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.
      • Communicator – We express ourselves condently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate eectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.
      • Risk-Taker – We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change.

The following plan will be updated and adapted as the students start to work through the lessons.

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