I have been amazed by the myriad of resources, programs, apps, etc. that I have learned about at ISTE. As someone who always believed myself to be quite tech-savvy, I realized that there were so many things that I just had no idea about. My biggest takeaway from ISTE is that the use of technology in education cannot be ignored and that teachers have the responsibility to use technology in the classroom in the most effective and meaningful way for their students.  At my school, we were lucky enough to have access to our own iPad carts, but I found that iPad time easily became a time for teachers to disengage and let students independently use a program or two.  Our access to iPads merely became a block of time during the day for teachers to rest and students to play, instead of using these tools to their utmost ability and realizing that technology should be immersed in the classroom throughout the day and across all subjects.  As teachers who are lucky enough to have access to great technology in our schools, we must first take the time to study and explore the technological resources we are given and impart this knowledge on our students, while also engaging with them in the process.  At ISTE, I realized that there were a million more things that I could have been doing with my students on the iPads - furthermore, the programs I could have been using were challenging, highly engaging, appropriately scaffolded, etc.  I learned that the use of technology is not just isolated as a block of time during the school day, but that the use of technology in the classroom is the same as it is in our daily lives - a constant and valuable resource that assists and augments our everyday routines.  While I have left the classroom and am now entering into a teacher development role, I am incredibly eager to share all of the new knowledge that I've gained with teachers, and to also share my reflections about my newfound appreciation and understanding of the right way to use technology in the classroom.

jiun.kimm

NBC Learn

Posted by jiun.kimm Jun 25, 2013

This is a resource I would have fought for in my classroom.  NBC Learn is an online resource that uses an immense collection of NBC's historic and current videos and aligns them to state standards.  The program is very easy to use.  You just find your grade and state and the site displays videos that are aligned to your criteria.  From there, teachers have the autonomy to use this information to start a debate, form a project, or give an informal/formal assessment to students.  As a news junkie who taught in a school with no formal social studies curriculum, this resource would have been a great and simple way to engage students in the past and present and the domestic and international.  Real video from all around the world makes the resource even more engaging and supports multicultural thinking.  Yesterday's events can quickly be found and presented to students the next day, keeping our students up-to-date in our ever-globalizing world!

jiun.kimm

Online resources for ELA

Posted by jiun.kimm Jun 25, 2013

I was lucky to attend a session about open-ended web tools that can be used for ELA curriculum. As a second and third grade teacher in a school that recently adopted PBL curriculum, I was shocked to see the many web tools that I could have been using with my students but had not idea about! I will note the resources that I am excited to try out with corps members and students... smore.com is a program that students can use for poster and flyer-making.  The notable aspect of this program is the ability to input video and photos onto the flyers, creating a unique and more interactive experience.  Powtoon.com enables students to create animated slideshows.  Different from a regular powerpoint, this program makes the experience of creating a slideshow more engaging as the level of animation and the opportunity for creativity is much more powerful.  Lastly, storybird.com. This is an online book creator.  In my classroom, there was nothing more exciting for my students than producing their own books.  What I like most about this program is that final products can be printed. In each of the PBL units in my classroom my students created books.  I would have loved to use this program to create books online and then print and laminate them for my students!

jiun.kimm

UDL and assessments

Posted by jiun.kimm Jun 25, 2013

How do we evaluate and measure UDL? This was one of the big questions at a session about Innovation and UDL.  UDL reduces unnecessary barriers in instruction for students by assuming variability while maintaining high standards for students of all learning levels. While UDL curriculum has proven effective, it has not eliminated the debate over assessment as, ultimately, students still live in a paper-and-pencil testing world.  While I firmly believe in the UDL framework and the idea that students must have accessibility and variability in their educational experiences, I also know that we must keep in mind that students’ state tests, college entrance exams, graduate-level exams, etc. have not expanded in variability.  What most struck me about this session about Innovation and UDL was facilitator David Rose’s point that, as educators, we are in the business of “preparing our students for future learning”.  Whether “future learning” comes in the shape of a paper-and-pencil test or a video game, it is our responsibility to ensure that students are ready to tackle whatever assessments come their way.  Therefore, my biggest takeaway is that UDL is not about an elimination of paper and pencils or textbooks, it is about an expansion and addition of the many methods by which students learn.