TPACK stands for Technological, Pedagogical Content Knowledge. When I started this program in Innovative Learning, my pedagogical and content knowledge were solid. I was quite confident in my role as a teacher and had an array of strategies to help children learn to read. What I definitely did not have was a toolbox full of technological tools. Not too many years ago, my Google password was "IhateGoogle!" At the time, I didn't mind much because I didn't know what I was missing out on. I was especially nervous about EDUC 702, Digital Tools for Edu-Vators, but I hoped that my colleagues would help me muddle through.
The first thing that happened on my journey through this program was I made peace with Google. I am now proficient creating and sharing documents and slideshows, and I have organized my drive so I can find things when I need them. (These were all big steps for me.) Through the 702 course, I even learned to create Google Forms and manage extensions. My improved technological knowledge has helped me work more efficiently at school.
I also learned to create presentations. I can manage Screencastify, though the requirement that I record in a single take makes it my least favorite recording solution. I love Voice Thread because it is interactive; multiple users can record comments on the same slide. My favorite recording tool is Adobe Spark because it allows users to edit a single slide at a time and even reorder a presentation.
One TPACK goal I had this year was to find a tool that would help my students improve their retellings. I eliminated Screencastify and Adobe Spark because the visuals would distract my young learners. My first thought was that Voice Thread was a perfect application. I thought I could upload photos of the illustrations in the book to serve as memory cues to guide students. However, this would not have served my pedagogical purpose, since our district assessment requires students to retell without the benefit of visual cues. Much more important, in our lessons on digital citizenship, I was reminded that uploading copyrighted images would definitely not be fair use.
I finally settled on a tool called Flipgrid to train my students' to retell. This site is easy enough for kindergarteners to navigate, and it allows students to pause in the middle of a recording or do a second take if necessary. When I saw how much progress my students were making using this tool, I shared it with my colleagues. I was so pleased that my students had a 100% pass rate on their retellings at the end of the year. This was definitely a case where the technology improved my teaching and ultimately my students success. I am thankful for the Innovative Learning program for expanding my technical horizons. I will be more likely to incorporate technology into my teaching because of the skills I have developed here.