Okay, so another teaching assignment change for me… Just had teacher librarian added to the mix. I’ll still be teaching Kindergarten one day a week, but I’ll now be in the library three days a week and vice principal one day a week. Phew! Just writing all that made me tired!
I took on the teacher librarian role as an opportunity to collaborate with all the enrolling teachers at my school and as a way to really get to know all the students. I also was excited about the ability to integrate technology during our classes’ library times.
While I know that technology is to be used as a tool for teaching and isn’t a magic solution to all children’s learning needs, I have never really experienced students not wanting to use technology!
Well, in come a group of 4th graders and I excitedly revealed to them that I would be pulling out the iPad cart for them to find more information on the different birds we read about. My announcement was followed by cheers and clapping; they could not wait to get their hands on the iPads! After searching on Google for a few minutes, one student nervously asked, “Are we allowed to go on YouTube?” Me: “Uh, yes, of course!” The library suddenly was filled with bird song and a lot of sharing. We watched videos of robins hatching, a warbler singing, a sparrow building a nest, and many more. So much engaged learning was happening! I was about to pat myself on the back, for a job well done, but then beyond the sea of happily engaged students I spied a group of boys on the carpet at the back of the library… with no iPad… and they were not talking about birds!
Me: “Boys, do you want an iPad?”
Boy 1: “No, I don’t like iPads?”
Me: “Well have you used one before?”
They all nodded and sneered in my general direction, not wanting to make any eye contact.
Me (totally thrown off and not sure where to go with this awkward situation): “Okay… Uh, hmm…”
And then it dawned on me, we were in… A LIBRARY!!
“Do you want to look at books about birds?”
They all nodded eagerly and stood up. I then skipped over to the 598 section (yes, I am becoming a Dewey Decimal System Master!), showed them where the bird section was and they happily looked at the books until the end of their library time… engaged in learning.
Now that was unexpected! The boys looking at books were just as engaged in their learning as their classmates who were using iPads. This was a big reminder that technology isn’t for everyone and it is just another option as we differentiate instruction for our students. Forcing every student to use technology to learn and present their learning is just as ineffective as forcing every student to all use pencil and paper and books in the library!
Oh, and in case you are curious, here are some of the bird videos these students found. Welcome spring!
Sparrow Building a Nest
My school this year was lucky enough to receive a grant where we have been able to buy 40 iPads, and a projector for every wing in our school. Wow, has this ever transformed my teaching. This is why CanTeach, once again was put on the back burner. I have immersed myself in creating and collaborating. I kept thinking, I should add my thoughts to CanTeach!
My district has been so supportive with offering workshops and bringing in wonderful guest speakers like George Couros (http://georgecouros.ca/blog/) and Bill Ferriter (http://teacherleaders.typepad.com/the_tempered_radical/) who have inspired us to use technology as a tool to encourage 21st Century learning.
As a result of all this support, I have been able to do so much. I haven’t immersed myself in technology since first starting CanTeach in 1998! A lot has changed to say the least! It has been a huge learning curve. I can even sync 40 ipads and give them all a iOS 6.1 update… and when it fails, I know how to fix it! If I have been able to do it, you can do it too!
I am so excited about what these new tools has done to my teaching and the connections I have been able to make with my students, parents and colleagues. This year has been the best year yet! My students are engaged, I am making more use of the time in the teaching day, and I have been able to make some deep connections with parents.
In future posts I will share apps that I have discovered for early learning and all the messy things we have been playing with, but for now I’d like to share a video I made with one second video clips. I shared this on our class blogs to show how print rich our classroom is and how we are loving learning how to read and write.