It is always fun to visit a Learning Connections District and be invited into the classroom. While in Limestone DSB I had the chance to visit two different classrooms at Calvin Park PS in Kingston. In the afternoon we sat down with students from each of the classrooms to discuss how technology is enhancing their learning.
During their Learning Connections project, LDSB will focus on augmenting student learning with the meaningful integration of technology (TPACK and SAMR model). With the power of “co” in mind, teacher and student plan to engage in co-learning using network platforms (Google Apps for Ed, Office 365). This was clearly evident during my visit!
In Stacey’s classroom, students were working on completing a science report in groups. Each student had access to a Google Doc for their group lab report and set about the task of writing. It was interesting to see how the different groups tackled this task: some groups used the “divide and conquer” approach and some collaboratively worked on all parts together. In Rudy’s classroom, students were working on an authentic math task for their data management unit. Rudy took the time to explain their task as there were several steps to review resources, find data, capture data and then analyze data. The end product was a class presentation in Google where each student had their own slide. Once most students understood their task, Rudy “let them loose” and then worked with the students who needed more support to get started. It was great to see how the teacher and students worked together to learn new ways of using the technology tools for their task. It was clear that both teachers spent time with the students from the beginning of the year establishing the protocols for using technology in the classroom.
Feedback from the students on using tech to enhance their learning:
- can access Google Docs anywhere and on any device
- not like working off the hard drive at school or trying to remember to take a USB drive to and from home
- easy to “talk” with each other and ask questions using comments
- don’t have to SAVE with Google Docs
- when doing math – different ways to explain their thinking
- can draw more accurate shapes for math using Geometry Pad
- can draw and use different graphical tools to express thinking
- students understand the workflow in Google very quickly so it was easy to get them working online
- apparent that students were more apt to share their work with others
- students learn very quickly how to provide effective feedback
Moving beyond the classroom… Why are these students in the hall? Out of necessity! The school has wifi, but access in the classrooms is sketchy at best. So the halls are often filled with students working. It is awesome to see how these teachers
take something that may be a barrier (lack of wifi in the class) and embrace the challenge with their students. Students walk from their classrooms down the hall until they get a strong wifi signal, then sit down to work.