One month ago I was leading a fairly typical warm-up in World Languages. Students sent me screen shots of challenging pictures from Rosetta Stone, and as a class, we worked through the process of deriving meaning. We used the promethean board to project the image in a flipchart where students could circle and draw and label all over the Rosetta Stone picture. It worked! It helped! Students were problem-solving and leaning collaboratively. We integrated problem-solving skills and technology (promethean board and flip charts). Check!
Two weeks ago Mrs. Harris introduced me to a new technology, ShowMe. On this app students can upload pictures onto an iPad and record themselves writing on the screen. So we moved from a full class working on a promethean board to partners creating screenshot movies on ShowMe (here’s our google doc). Same skill, new technology. Check!
In the middle of my lesson today Mrs. Harris walked in. As my students worked on ShowMe, I was introduced to Doodle Cast Pro, a new app. Whereas ShowMe can only capture one page, Doodle Cast Pro has the option to flip pages and essentially capture a book with drawing and pictures and kids voices. Same skill, new technology. Wait!!
What’s going on here? Am I reinventing the wheel or finding the next iteration of a classroom activity? I value options. I value innovation. I value introducing better ways to develop a skill that is personalized and project based. Yet, as I give students more freedom to create, there seems to be endless means to do the same thing (some means are certainly better than others).
How do I stay current? In this example my technology was outdated (or at least I discovered something stronger) in two weeks! As a teacher, I have to consider how I spend my time with students. This rotation I spent at least half of every class introducing, practicing, then creating with ShowMe. Was this time lost? Absolutely not! Can I afford to do this with each technology that presents itself? Absolutely not! So what’s the remedy? How do we balance innovation and options and personalized learning with the reality of time constraints and learned that should happen though the use of technology.
This post is in no way conclusive. It’s an open-ended reflection, and I welcome feedback and discussion.
Learner, Thinker, Writer: Julia Kuipers serves the Trinity School community as a World Languages Teacher.