I came to Alison's classroom through recommendations from 2 mutual friends. I know Alison through literacy training sessions I provided over the years and realized early on that she is an excellent teacher - insightful and reflective, always focused on what is best for her students. I also knew that after 13 years of teaching, she had returned to get her MED in the field of educational technology. Needless to say, I was eager to see what had taken place and came armed with curiosity and -- my handy-dandy little checklist.
After the students went to their special, Alison explained how she was integrating technology in her classroom. I am writing this in bullet form in hopes it will be easier to follow the process.
- At the beginning of the year, the school based technology integrator, Rosie, taught the first graders how to use the toolbar on the macs.
- Students were introduced to skype by teaming with Alison's sister, Gay. During one of her skype session, she read Make Way for the Ducklings and shared family pictures of Alison and her sister in the park where the story took place. Alison continues to use skype with her students. One of her students who is chronically ill, is included in daily instruction by tuning in via skype. This has worked out extremely well for the class and for the student.
- Alison has a classroom blog. Here are some of the projects she has posted.
students. They are excited all of the time because they know their parents can see or hear their
work. The students want to do their best. Parent response has been positive.
So what does Alison think about developmentally appropriate - technology and her first graders? Not too surprisingly, many of her ideas have come from observing high school students in other states! She brought them back to her first graders and taught them how. All of the student projects posted on the classroom blog are independently produced by her students!
Asking Alison what she sees as the biggest concern for her students and technology, she cites social networking. She feels a strong responsibility to teach students how to use the social networks, remarking they are available to all of her students whether they have a computer at home or not. Rather than blocking the networks, Alison encourages educators to consider teaching - at an early age - the safe use of the internet. She reminds me that we were taught to tell callers (on the telephone - technology for my generation) parents were unavailable, not absent from the home. She concludes, ethics and technology is a key issue we can not avoid. Our students deserve more from us.
We will visit Alison again and post some of her projects in depth. You will also be able to tune into her webinar at the beginning of April.