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Supporting Teachers in Tech Integration During Planning

Today I had the opportunity to support a group of 1st grade teachers in integrating technology during the planning process. I’ve never taught 1st grade so this experience was definitely a welcomed one.

Each teacher had classroom access to two ipads at all times. In addition, their campus had an ipad cart that could be checked out weekly. As for ipad use, teachers had only used practice apps and games during centers. Creativity had not been heard of. Even after being told “I’m not a tech person”, this group excited me because I knew that all of these issues were ones that were within our power to address.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 5.19.43 PM

After discussing the intended outcomes for each lesson, I talked to teachers about creativity and how students could collaborate, even as first graders, to better enhance, explore and express their learning. When creativity is a new idea to teachers, it’s important to not overwhelm them further with tons of apps at the start. It was amazing to hear them reiterate this idea as they decided to learn one app really well and use cross curricular in lieu of allowing the apps to overtake the learning. In other words…Focus on a Few.

During the course of 55 minutes, we were able to talk about 4 apps, how kids would use them and how I would be supporting them through this process.

One of the apps that we discussed was 30 hands, which I learned about this past weekend at Edcamp Austin.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 2.57.29 PM30 Hands is a digital storytelling app that allows users to add voice to an existing image or draw and then add voice. Once the presentation is complete, it becomes a video that can be saved to camera roll or uploaded to the 30 hands cloud service.
For these 1st grade classes, I suggested that students collaboratively create so that each person has a slide which means that each student would share a part of the story. 30 Hands is super simple to use and is an amazing tool for student creativity.
Important Note: Planning meetings must always begin with the end in mind. It’s not about the app or “tech-ing” up a lesson but about intentionally designing for students to learn and grow. It’s also important to not get caught up in what teachers do not know but to start where they are and focus on helping them to grow as well. There are plenty of “cool apps” out but teachers new to integrating tech need a baseline to start. Let the intended outcomes lead you to collaboratively determining that baseline. My goal is that these teachers are running this process for themselves and eventually they will. Right now, it’s about empowering them to start.
Today…they did.
To read about this meeting in greater detail and also how students may use Haiku Deck, Tellagami and Educreations, Click HERE. (Our Instructional Technology Department blog)

Comments 2

  1. Pingback: Supporting Teachers in Tech Integration During Planning | Teachers Blog

  2. Rafranz, I am so glad the 30 Hands app wound up working for your teachers. I hope you can share links to some of the final projects when they publish them to the web. 🙂

    Enjoyed spending time with you at EdCamp Austin. Hope we get more opportunities to hang out together soon!

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