Nurturing the Classroom Community
On a recent visit to New Dundee PS, I had the pleasure of meeting with Ms. Andrea Michelutti, Principal and teacher Scott McKenzie. Their plan for using technology is well aligned with our Board student achievement plan. I noted in our conversation that both spoke enthusiastically about how the seamless use of technology in the learning environment has produced a positive attitude in students, increased engagement and improved literacy. As the school’s new iPads arrive, all classes will have the use of 5 to 10 devices so that all learning spaces have access to technology and can use it as a natural part of the learning environment.
The students in Mr. McKenzie’s class are using a combination of Board owned mobile technology and personally owned devices. Given the variety of devices used, Mr. McKenzie has wisely chosen to take a device agnostic approach by using writing and collaboration tools that easily cross platforms such as Google docs, Evernote and a variety of Chrome browser extensions. Students were coached on responsibilities and appropriate use to prepare them for this flexible learning environment. As their new iPads arrive, all classes will have the use of 5 to 10 devices so that all learning spaces have access to technology and can use it as a natural part of the learning environment.
Teacher based observations include:
- students leverage voice capabilities by speaking to the computer, minimizes typing and spelling challenges
- students used computer based read alouds
- careful font choice and size can positively impacts student reading abilities
- technology facilitates options for students to self select their approach to learning
- students are typically confident with technology, particularly when they use a personal device they are familiar with
On a classroom visit, I noted the students were working independently and making their own choices concerning when to use technology, when not too and what application to use for their learning task. There is definitely a culture of risk taking and an explorer approach evident in the classroom. Some students were demonstrating graphing tasks in Minecraft, while others were focused on collaborative writing tasks. The class is also leveraging digital newsletters and blogging as a way to share information with the community while reducing paper usage.
iPads in Action