Today, I am happy to bring you Cathy Brophy: a great friend, former colleague and important member of my PLN. Her approach to being Tech Integrator is that of service to the teachers and in turn to the students. She wants teachers to find a comfort with technology so that they use it as an extension of what they already do. Be sure to follow her on Twitter @brophycat. ~EMP
In my role as Technology Integrator, I remind teachers daily to think about what they are trying to teach and what they would like students to know and be able to do-BEFORE choosing HOW to use technology in the classroom. On the flip side, I also ask them to look at their daily teaching and learning routines, and recommend ways to integrate technology seamlessly into those classroom routines. For example, in a typical 7th grade classroom, teachers ask students to write a weekly journal response to their independent reading or to a class read aloud; by using Google Docs- students have access to their writing from any device with Internet access; set up a classroom blog using kidblog, Blogger or Edublogs– and suddenly students are publishing their journal responses with a wider audience.
Using Kelly Tenkely’s Blooming Peacock http://ilearntechnology.com/?s=blooms+taxonomy&x=0&y=0 it is easy to see how technology can be used for activities that assess learning: remembering and understanding, applying , analyzing, evaluating and creating. For a typical end of unit book project that is designed to assess student understanding of content, technology can take the project to a new level. Using Voicethread, for example, students can collaborate and share their project with others, (remembering and understanding) and provide feedback for each other(analyzing and evaluating), while creating new content.
Finally, using technology to present lessons and learning doesn’t have to be boring! If you have an interactive whiteboard in your classroom, instead of creating a static PowerPoint presentation, have students create their project using interactive whiteboard software such as Promethean’s Flipchart, RM Easiteach or Smart Notebook. Their classmates can interact with their presentation, getting everyone involved. If you use Microsoft Office at your school, Microsoft has a new plug in for PowerPoint 2007 and newer called Mouse Mischief http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mousemischief/ that can turn an ordinary PowerPoint into an interactive lesson or presentation using wireless mice! Google also has a collaborative presentation software, and Prezi just came out with a collaborative workspace, as well.
Day to day technology integration should not require hours of planning and preparation. Try to take what already works and make it paperless, interactive, and accessible to a wider audience. When technology becomes a part of your daily teaching and learning routine, you will be amazed at what can happen. The hardest part is going for it!