In my classroom technology has allowed my students to have way more choice in how they learn, show, and share their learning. The creative apps available to us have revolutionized things in my room. My students are far better able to talk about their learning because they are constantly adding voice to their digital and non digital work. They are (by choice) explaining the thinking behind what they are learning. Technology allows me to hear this thinking even when I'm not in the classroom because they are sharing it on their blogs. And yes, I often hear errors in their thinking but because of technology I can hear these errors and do something about them. Technology has provided me with way more authentic data for formative assessment which in turn is allowing me to better meet the individual needs of my students.
In my classroom we learn with out technology too. We learn outside and we learn with hands on objects. We PLAY and explore in unstructured ways. We ask questions, lots and lots of questions, and we find ways to answer those questions. Choice is key in all of this too. I can't stress enough in my classroom it's not about the technology it's about the learning.
But access to technology has also transformed the way I teach. Technology, and my school districts' open wireless policy, has allowed us to literally learn with the world. If my students are curious about something we can google it, or even better skype in an expert. Technology has allowed my students to connect with their favourite app developer, meet a published children's author, and learn from a video game creator . It has allowed them to learn with other children both in 1:1 and whole class situations. It has continued to allow them to be curious. This type of learning has been engaging and powerful for my students.
Access to technology has also broken many learning barriers for my students. As I've written about before my quiet students seem to be okay with finding a quiet private space to share their thoughts about their learning in a voice recording app. My students who struggle with written output can add voice to their drawings or images and can explain their learning in words instead of being held back with limited writing skills. I find with technology most students are way better able to demonstrate their learning.
I also believe my students co create more with technology. While we can co-create with out technology (it's a waaaaaaaaay slower process) , with access to technology we've been able to create voice threads, iBooks, and iMovies with children in other part of Canada. But really we could have done this with children in other parts of the world. Apps like BookCreator , with its combined books feature and dropbox, make co-creating globally quite seamless. Voice threads are just as seamless.
I try not to use my technology as expensive worksheets. I always wonder when I see people so excited to have their non digital worksheet in digital form on an iPad as a way to cut down on paper. I don't really get that though because in my eyes it's just a very expensive piece of paper. But I have noticed that we do use a lot less paper in my room because so much of our work is done digitally. And I'm thankful that my students have blogs/digital portfolios to showcase and share this learning with their families and beyond with the world. This couldn't be done as easily with out access to technology.
These are just a few of the ways technology has transformed my teaching. I'm curious to know how it's been transforming yours?