Technology integration is one of my passions in teaching. I used to be a stand alone ICT teacher for 3-7 year olds on old PC computers (probably older than the students that were using them). It was my second year teaching, and I was just starting my IBPYP journey. I was super curious about the curriculum and I loved how different subjects mixed into meaningful units (and still love this). Because of this interest of mine, I tried to make sure most units were as integrated as possible. Right from the start I was seeing first hand how technology enhances curriculum and how integration helped my learners with their other subject areas. And this technology was just a once a week time in a completely different room.
As I moved on to a variety of different classroom roles, I made sure to take this passion with me. Whether I had one iPad to share with everyone, 1:1, or 2:1 with a couple of iMacs, I kept technology integration in my thoughts when planning. I value technology the most when it is authentically available for student use. Of course this means that 1:1 is my preference in the classroom so that when inspiration or need hits, a student can immediately have access to follow through. Read more about my journey below!
I have been at schools that use the SAMR model and some that reference the TPACK model. for simplicity, I do like the SAMR model. However, I feel like a lot of people look at this model as a ladder they need to climb, and once they "hit" redefinition they need to stay there. I believe that if technology is truly leveraging the curriculum, you will be on all rungs of the ladder (or depths of the sea, as my favourite SAMR image depicts below). In this illustration you can imagine the swimmer playing around in the different levels, swimming back and forth.
As for TPACK, I like this model because it shows that it is not all about THE technology. Pedagogy and curriculum are both important as well. I also think that this model can be fluid. I feel like depending on the school you are at, the middle of the model may or may not be the actual perfect place. I probably sit in the Technology/Pedagogy overlap. This isn't because I do not know my curriculum well, but curriculum changes and sometimes the value of curriculum standards also changes. My personal values lie more in the pedagogy of how to help students through content than the actual standards of the curriculum itself. This is probably why I feel that I sit where I do.
Over time, my teaching with technology has changed.
Those first few years, while I was trying to integrate the curriculum the best I could, I was still a stand alone subject teacher and access was not on an as-needed basis. Most lessons were related the the unit but not necessarily integrated. The times I tried harder to really integrate (write a story in class, create creatures so we could film a story in ICT) it was often hard to have all teachers on board and prepared for the ICT portion of the learning engagement.
When I had one iPad to share with my class, not a lot changed. One student could do some research (if the wifi was okay that day), or one person could use an app to help visualize a concept in a new way. We weren't using it much for creation because of the limitations of only one person being able to do this at a time, and my knowledge of the iPad was still growing.
When I moved to a 1:1 environment next, I learned very fast. I remember my first NearPod lesson with my Year 1 students and I was blown away at how fantastic it was. Immediately I started thinking of different ways my 5 year olds could be using this technology. Looking back, it was still probably fairly in the "enhancement" range of SAMR. When I moved to a Year 5 class in the same school (so still 1:1) I really started exploring a lot more creation apps with my students. They started making books, movies, presentations, recordings, etc. to show their learning. They also started posting to Seesaw and authentically sharing their creations in that way. (Hooray, in the "transformation" end of the ocean!!)
When I moved to a 2:1 environment, I had to get creative. I had been spoiled with this 1:1 environment and didn't quite know how to adapt yet. Luckily, my class was small and the grade 2 class we were sharing iPads with was quite large. The teacher was not comfortable using them as often as we were (sad for them, but good for us). Within this year, my pedagogy changed a lot. I was watching Studio 5 at ISHCMC and the Enhanced PYP Documents were coming out. We started playing around with using the devices for goal setting, evidence, and planning our day, on top of the usual creating and expressions of new understandings.
I am now back in a 1:1 environment, and my students have continued much of the same things my students in a 2:1 environment did, but with more ease of access. We also use it a lot more for collaboration within the studio. With almost 100 students and 6 teachers including EAL, the iPads are an important piece of communication, collaboration, and creation. I am appreciative of access to these tools and opportunities our students have.
Watch this space for what comes next in my technology integration journey!
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