Action Research

 

In my research I am looking to answer the question of how to incorporate technology into my classroom practice in a school with limited resources. My board is adopting a BYOD program this September however, many students are unable to afford these devices in my school’s area. The students are by no means below poverty level! Their families have other priorities as many are single parent households. I have now worked in a daycare where digital cameras are being used as a method of incorporating and understanding art as a form of literacy. I see the challenge of limited resources (having less than 10 cameras and a total of 37 preschool and kindergarten students).1

I began my research online, looking at teacher blogs, Pinterest and using other social media as a tool in developing some ideas. In my search online I found many sources of valuable ideas and practical ways to use one iPad in the classroom both in a 1:1 setting and 1:25. I have loved the idea that I have read on many blog posts to use my iPad as a way to present material.2

I have always felt tied down to my computer when using it as a method of delivering presentations (slides, notes, or creating rubrics with the class) because I teach grade 6 and find that chart paper is a little “primary” and these are “mature” students. I find it to be distracting for my classroom management having been tied to a computer and desk and also trying not to block the projector so the students can see. Not being able to roam the room and interact with students that way is limiting! Not to mention not being able to use proximity as a tool for management. I have always just used a word document but with an iPad I can begin using mind-mapping applications to write down ideas, questions and share them with the students and parents. There are many apps to do this and I can share these items and give parents logins and passwords so students always have access to the materials in class.

In a blog post on edgalaxy.com, the author creates a list of reasons why BYOD and 1:1 classrooms are not the most engaging, reflective classroom situations. One is that schools and teachers misplace the priorities of including technology and exploring technology in the classroom.3 One of the reasons is not understanding that the curriculum needs to reflect the device. Using an amazing resource like the iPad should help expand and extend the curriculum to the point of making it innovative and so rich using video, audio, images, and other techniques that bring out depth and interest of the curriculum. I remember complaining about curriculum not reflecting practicality of adult life, but these activities do. Think about the professions, careers and not to mention the use of technology in post-secondary and how it relates to displaying information and analyzing it in a critical and explorative way. Students will relate to these ideas! So I intend on using my iPad sparingly however I want students to become familiar and aware of expressing their ideas in a digital media. Differentiating the way they use the technology to do this is where I will hopefully find success.

I also found a blog post about using Edmodo.4 This site (albeit I need to explore it some more) seems to be a great way to incorporate BYOD with all platforms and devices my students are using. I can apply badges as a means of classroom management systems, differentiate materials, group students, post notes, incorporate parents without having to set up meetings (as many of my parents are shift workers), and sharing resources.

I have always enjoyed the concept of including a flipped classroom lesson in my daily plan and have included it when teaching physical education. I think using the iPad to record and share homework, mini-lessons and other resources for students who are sick or on vacation (I also have a high number of ELL students that leave for weeks at a time for trips to their home country) is a great method that students can also participate in. Students will be able to reflect on the work done and share with their classmate using the iPad where to focus attention, how to tackle problems. What is a better way for the student who is at home than to be taught by a group of their peers how to complete an assignment and what a great review for the students in the class? As an example, we could record how to solve a math problem after a 3-part math lesson as an anchor video (or chart) that students could always refer to even when at home.5

There are so many resources I found that go from casual use in the classroom to very detailed programming that requires a lot more tech saavy abilities than I have. I need to find a balance where I allow my students to create more than they consume but also where I am comfortable with them being. I want to ensure my students are participating online, and using social media as it is the way of the future but also keeping in mind how important online safety is (that includes bullying, marketing/sales, predators, etc).6

As I read and reflect on all the things I am learning about I am getting excited for the upcoming school year and what I can do with my iPad and classroom computers. After doing research, reading blogs, listening to education podcasts (TEDtalks, the Rookie Teacher)7 and participating in twitter chats8 I have realized I am my own limit when it comes to incorporating technology in my classroom. I should not feel limited by the physical resources (or lack there of) but of my own creativity and comfort when incorporating these methods for differentiation, curriculum exploration and the sharing of ideas.

1“Artist in the Centre,” last modified June 2013, http://www.mcrc.on.ca/images/ACT_Brochure_-_FINAL_for_web_2.pdf.

2“7 Modern ways teachers use Mind Mapping,” last modified July 29 2013, http://blog.thinkbuzan.com/imindmap/7-modern-ways-teachers-use-mind-mapping.

3“Five common reasons why 1 to 1 programs fail,” last modified July 24 2013, http://edgalaxy.com/journal/2013/7/24/five-common-reasons-why-1-to-1-programs-fail.

4“10 Tips for Getting Started With Edmodo,” last modified July 30 2013, https://blog.edmodo.com/2013/07/30/10-tips-for-getting-started-with-edmodo/.

5“Anchor Charts – Five Essential Features,” last modified August 2012, http://nancymcneal.blogspot.ca/2012/08/anchor-charts-five-essential-features.htmland “Integrating Technology with Limited Resources,” last modified August 2010, http://www.edutopia.org/blog/free-tech-integration-resources.

6Text Me The Answer – BYOD Strategies and Solutions,” last modified January 2013, http://fishingforedtech.com/2013/01/13/text-me-the-answer-byod-strategies-and-solutions/.

7“Ted Talks,” http://www.ted.com/talks and “The Rookie Teacher,” last modified July 18 2013, http://therookieteacher.ca.

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PEOT

I am now a sitting member on the Social Justice and Equity Committee for the local.  I’m pretty stoked to be involved in any way, shape or form.  This is definitely steering me towards my professional goals!

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VLC

As I continue in my current AQ I am coming to the conclusion that I love twitter.  I have never been a huge fan of it before (just ask the boyfriend) however after communicating with other twitter users and reading other tweets I feel as though I am being sucked in!  It feels like the Wikipedia suckage, where you look for some basic information about a type of bird you see in your backyard and next thing you know it is 5 hours later and you’re reading about a small city in Eastern Europe. I’m digging the community feelings, sharing, talking and allowing your voice to be part of a large educational conversation and debate.  I also feel like I am able to reflect more on a holistic level and include all my teaching passions! Collaboration, physical education, health, literacy, kindergarten, play based and emergent curriculum all seem to fit under my one Twitter handle!

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Lit Review

Action Research Literature Review

In my research I am looking to answer the question of how to incorporate technology into my classroom practice in a school with limited resources. In my search online I found many sources of valuable ideas and practical ways to use one iPad in the classroom.
The blog Elementary Ed Tech (specific post can be found at:
http://elementaryedtech.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/the-single-ipad-classroom/) is a resource that lists possible iPad activities to do with one iPad. The blog entry looks at how teachers that the author (Margaret Brown an Educational Technologist from a Texas elementary school) works with use their one iPad classroom. The blog is one of practical application in a classroom, highlighting key strengths and weaknesses from different teachers points of view.

Another blog entry but this time from http://dukelyer.wordpress.com highlights a model they use in their classroom that is one iPad to twenty five students (which is very typical for what my classroom will be). Dukelyer is a teacher who has only begun to use technology in the classroom (as he cites on his “Hello” section). He is clearly a technology in the classroom as a beneficial tool as there are little negatives (besides the expense for schools or families) listed as a problem in this entry. He concludes after highlighting some uses that iPads/computers/tablets are a method into making the next Bill Gates.

Mrs. Wideen’s blog (http://www.mrswideen.com/2013/03/3.html) seems to reflect her ability to teach literacy with iPads in less than a year. This amazing feat was only surpassed by the acknowledgement of her school board with more iPads and other technologies. This blog cites nothing but a positive experience in the classroom and does not give any ideas, programs, applications or knowledge beyong that into how she was effective in using the iPad.

Edudemic (http://www.edudemic.com/2013/01/ipad-king-of-classroom/) seems to be sponsored by Apple. This blog entry lists 6 reasons why iPads are the “king of the classroom.” Most of the other blogs, articles thus far have described iPads but only as a method of delivering technology, not as the only way. Workflow, the company’s commitment to education and the fact that students aspire to own iPads as a way of or reason of integrating them into your program. This blog entry is overwhelmingly not in my beliefs. Students should not be geared up ready to learn because they wish they had an iPad. This method would not work in my lower middle class and working class school background. I have no desire to lure these “aspirational objects” over the students so that they are feeling as though they are not valuable because they do not have this device.

During my time spent perusing for resources I have found online blogs, twitter feeds, articles and links to be the best bet for practical advice. I found little documentation of people searching to keep technologies out of the classroom but also found way too many proponents of just Apple products. As I searched I found that every teacher blog to be a walking billboard for Apple’s newest gear.  

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Action research

Research Plan

  • To help you get started with your question, think about the following open-ended statements to help you identify an area of interest for your Action Research Project.

  • I would like to improve my use of technology in the classroom so that is meaningful, well utilized and does not create a sense of panic/anxiety for me.

  • I am perplexed by time crunches, how to integrate technology in a school with little to no resources (with students from homes with little to no resources).

  • I am curious about how students can learn on different devices if not given the opportunity frequently.

  • I want to learn more about implementing BYOD and how to effectively manage it in the classroom.

  • Something I think would really make a difference having the access to different technologies through a board sharing/lending program.

  • Something I would like to do to change my own use of technology is to incorporate different techniques that I have never tried (more than scavenger hunts and presentations).

  • Right now, some areas I’m particularly interested in are BYOD, literacy development through technology, math supports.

 

Materials:

  • Devices (flexible- could be netbooks, iPads, computer lab)

  • Trial and error: social media sites, blogs, google docs, etc to establish what works and is easiest to monitor from various devices and locations

 

Types of information:

  • Notes (anecdotal) about each method of journaling

  • Research/study of how to use each method

  • “ “ on how to police/monitor/supervise the sites

 

A timeframe for:

Gathering information- 5-6

Researching and writing a Literature Review – 5-8 hours

Developing an Annotated Bibliography- 4 hours

Examining the various evidences: 4-5 hours

Writing up your investigation: 2-4 hours (including revising and editing)

 

 

 

 

Rationale

 

My question: What literacy strategy could I use that would allow students from a low socio-economic background to participate and gain experience with different devices while strengthening my classroom management of BYOD?

 

Right now, some areas I’m particularly interested in are BYOD, literacy development through technology, math supports because I am entering a year of EQAO. As a new teacher, I need to develop my instructional techniques and strategies to impact the student learning. To help use differentiation in my lessons having technology as a back up just makes sense. Students are able to pace themselves and regulate their learning by researching (or googling questions) without having to ask. Although I try to ensure student risktaking and having a “no stupid question” policy there are many students who still shy away from asking questions during lessons or after.

Investigating literacy strategies using Peel’s BYOD policy (Sept. 2013) will help me use the technology my small school has available but also will help me develop management strategies to monitor their use. Through using technology in the classroom (blogs, wikis) I hope to strengthen the literacy skills needed for EQAO (as that is where my school is a bit weak). I want to research different literacy methods that can be used for junior grades with limited devices/financial support within the school and at home.

I would love to work out a program that includes blogging to a shared area for each student to do journal responses. That way students can use limited resources that the schools has to complete the assignment and they can do it throughout the day on the classroom computer without having to complete the assignment at home or during designated computer times.

 

 

 

 

 

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Camera play

Camera play

Camera play- Grade 2 student exploring lens, reflection, perspective

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