Inspiration for Personalized Learning...
I am into technology, but never sure of exactly HOW to incorporate technology into my classroom. With a limited supply of technology, I decided to brainstorm effective ways to not only incorporate technology, but use it to make the learning personal for my students. I researched and experimented with several ways to combine technology and math.
Take a step into an elementary classroom, and chances are, this is what you will see - an enthusiastic teacher, who uses manipulatives, and thoughtfully plans each lesson. An ELL student that wants to participate, but is unsure of the concept being taught. A student with an IEP that is off task because they have lost focus during the long lesson. Two students are actively engaged in the lesson, raising their hands. Lastly, there are a few kids doodling in their math notebooks, bored because they have already mastered the concept.
It is clear that every classroom is full of students, each with unique needs ands ways of learning, and though they are all different, they are all equal (Differentiation and diversity in the primary school, 1996, p. 3). Teachers need to realize they must address the differences among their students in order for them to all perform at their highest level (Tomlinson, 2005, p. 9). In California especially, classrooms are very diverse - with many minorities represented, gifted learners, and students with special needs. In addition, many educators are teaching in a way that centers around them, teaching by standing at the front of the class and talking.
While many teachers know that differentiating their lessons is the best thing for their students, many teachers are untrained or feel unsure of how to effectively do this in their own classrooms. Because of this, many “teachers persist with single-size approaches to instructing diverse students populations, both research and everyday observation provide ample evidence that many students are ill-served in such classrooms” (Tomlinson, 2005, p. 10). In addition, many teachers with access to technology feel uncomfortable using them, or are unsure of how to make them work in their classroom. This can, in turn, cause teachers to have fear, anxiety, and concern. (Bittner and Bittner, 2002, p.96). Teachers are so used to familiarity in their classroom, that the fear of the unknown can cause teachers to avoid using technology, or use it as little as possible.
Read more by clicking on my link to my research paper at the top of the page.
SITE PERSPECTIVE of AUDIENCE - EDUCATORS
This study was done with fellow educators in mind. Some major sociological factors to consider are what types and amounts of technology the school has access to. This study was done with 8 iPads in the classroom. Later, the action research and driving question were refocused to include the use of chromebooks. Ten chromebooks have been consistently used in the class. This study would be quite difficult to do if there is no access to technology, but can be adapted to work with the type of technology available.
Students and educators must have access to information on the internet in order to do a similar study, or to learn from this research. In addition, educators must have access to the information they are going to teach. With a focus on math, a solid understanding of the math skills to be taught is vital. Learners must also have an understanding of these math skills in order for them to use technology to increase and deepen their learning.
The school were this study might be replicated must have access to some technology, and have strong internet connection in order to complete activities and assignments. In addition, teachers should have a Google Classroom set up if they are hoping to focus on Google Apps for Education. Teachers and students must be somewhat familiar with the technology available, and have an understanding of how to use it.
(Innovative) Educational Perspective
While it is not necessary, it would be wonderful if teachers had access to professional development/training available for the type of technology they hope to use. In addition, it would be great to have a time set aside where educators can share with their colleagues what worked, and what did not.