Have a teaching partner who has much experience & initiative , as well as being part of this learning community, has provided an expedited process of understanding, learning and growth. The intimidation factor has been reduced and the excitement to incorporate the learning is far more rewarding.
After hearing George Couros speak, left any worries about leaving a digital footprint, prepared me to begin the discussion of the benefits of a digital portfolio for my students, as well as myself. The learning curve may be steep, but I find the value and need to be a role model for students that we all have to start somewhere.
If we (students and teachers) post more of what we do in our classroom, on our classroom/student blog, then the students will be excited to share with their families about what we are doing, making our learning more visible and open. This is one more ‘tool’ to provide access to what we are doing in our class for open communication of our learning community.
Professionally we are working toward effectively using all the different technologies to showcase our students learning, our learning, and the inquiry that is happening in our classroom. We want to also build resources, as well as our own ability, to better explain to families why we are introducing technology at this age. Many parents are concerned that we are trading necessary early skills for using computers. We want to alleviate these fears by modeling what a great vehicle blogging can be for oral communication, reading, writing, and collaborating.
As this is a Kindergarten classroom we are starting with establishing expectations and routines using the technology. We want our students by the end of the year to see the ipad and our blog as a learning tool not a gaming device.
Next, we want to use our class blog to show our students that the blog is a way of using our reading, writing, and speaking skills to communicate with families and the world. This way by grade one they will understand there needs to be thought and meaning behind what they post on their own blogs.
Last, we want to start cooperatively building individual student blog as a portfolio of inquiry and learning stories.
Our learning will be visible in how the students begin to use technology to communicate their creativity, problem solving, and collaboration in our daily inquiries. It will also be visible in the better relationships with families who don’t always get to be at the school.
Team Kindergarten Creation
My goal this year is to provide my students with more time to reflect on their learning and to share those reflections on their blogs. Last year I focused on making student learning visible by encouraging my students to share as much as possible, only reflecting on a select few pieces of work over the course of the year. My focus was quantity, with less focus on quality. By that I mean my students didn’t often write about why they chose to post a particular piece of work on their blogs, they just posted every piece of work. This year I still want my students to post the process (conversations & observations) and products of their learning, however more time will be provided for students to reflect on their learning.
I also want to dedicate more time to exploring digital citizenship using the curriculum developed by Common Sense Media. The curriculum is organized by grade, and fits beautifully with our Media Studies.