About the Author
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."
- Dr. Seuss
Children learn best when they're interested, creative, purposeful, and can see for themselves that they're learning and growing. This means that good teaching must be all about two things: engagement and potential.
My capstone project comes from an intersection of these two areas. How can a teacher make learning engaging and meaningful, while taking all children from where they start to their full potentials over the course of a year? The answer: A reference library of engaging screencasts that students can use to both review and preview content. It's like a flipped classroom, but it's done in class, so younger students are still learning in a supportive, nurturing environment that helps them to develop confidence and independence.
About me: Currently, I'm a first grade teacher in Sunnyvale, CA, where I've been teaching for 7 years. Before teaching at the elementary level, I spent over a decade in high tech, where I wrote technical publications and both designed and taught professional education courses.
What is TPACK? TPACK is the ultimate goal of teaching with technology. It’s when a teacher is teaching with the perfect combination of technology (T), teaching pedagogy (P), and content knowledge (CK). For me, growing as a teacher in TPACK is a constant and ongoing process. Every day is a new opportunity for me to refine my content knowledge, streamline my pedagogical approach, and optimize technology use. During the Touro Master's of Innovative Learning program, I’ve worked hard on all three.
What makes teaching with technology so challenging is that it’s an area that is full of interrelated and constantly changing variables. The most challenging element is the climb up the SAMR model. I still strive to find uses that aren’t simply online replacements for what I already do in the classroom. And in first grade (and all grades), I don’t want to use technology for technology’s sake. It needs to be meaningful.
All teachers have limited classroom time and huge amount of content to cover, and technology is designed to help. I’m looking forward to continuing to explore ways that that my first graders can benefit from all that technology has to offer in knowledge acquisition and skill development.
Lessons from the Innovative Learning Program
As one would expect, much of my learning in the Touro Masters of Innovative Learning program has been about innovation in learning. We've explored best practices in pedagogy and creative uses of technology. We've read research about educational policy, listened to experts about neuroplasticity and motivation, and experimented with graphic design. Probably the most enduring learning, though, has come by learning from the other teachers in my cohorts.
I've learned from looking at everyone’s research ideas. I've learned from reading everyone’s blogs. I’ve learned about technology and different ways to use it, about working with different ages and grades of students from diverse populations, about the challenges of teaching students at my grade (early elementary) all the way through high school. This perspective has been invaluable.
Through my cohorts, I’ve learned about mindset and grit, about project and problem-based learning, about teaching high school math and elementary school art. I’ve learned about the importance of having a well-defined idea, and then about the importance of scrapping it if it doesn’t work out. I've learned about making mistakes about about fixing them.
Learning with my cohort has included sharing ideas and challenges, reflecting thoughtfully on what works and what doesn’t, and trying to become the best teachers we can be. I’m looking forward to continuing this collaboration, reflection, and perspective throughout my teaching.
Visit my website at lkmeyers.weebly.com