One last time – right? I will admit, when I didn’t see any tech classes for this Spring/Summer session, I was pretty disappointed – I really wanted to end my Master’s degree with one of these #edtech classes. That is why I was really happy when Jen suggested I join her and a few others – Andres, Jayme-Lee, and Kyle – in a directed reading course this spring. That way, I can explore more pieces in regards to educational technology, but this time around more specifically in my field of teaching. A few others who have previously taken directed reading courses, like Krista Gates, have told me how it can be, at times, lonely because you are working through material independently. Generally, I think teachers are social individuals and enjoy working with others and collaborating – which is why I am happy that this directed reading is more of a mini-group class instead of a completely individual endeavour.
There evidently will be independent research being done throughout the course as we are all focusing on our areas of expertise. I personally wanted to focus on the use of technology in a high school French Immersion Social Studies course. I previously taught for four years in middle years and ever since I started working at Campbell in the fall of 2016, I have been comparing the use of technology in the classroom. Back at Wilfrid Walker, when I was teaching middle years, I could essentially get access to computers whenever I wanted them. This made the incorporation of technology easy enough – I had gotten my students on blogs and using Google Classroom successfully throughout the entire year. I am finding it more difficult in high school. It is much more difficult to get access to computers, and I find it more challenging when I only have the students for one semester.
That is not to say there aren’t parts that are easier. When I would use tools like Kahoot in the classroom in middle years, I needed to book computers so all students could have access to the online quiz. In high school, especially at Campbell, all students (or at least the ones I teach) have cell phones, and therefore have consistent access to technology. They can access Google Docs and Google Classroom on their phones and, consequently, could also access any other mobile-friendly educational apps that can help increase engagement and motivation in my classroom.
I hope to learn more about how I can incorporate technology seamlessly in my Social Studies courses, all the while continuing to meet all of the objectives in our 300+ page curricula in a span of four and a half months. My Social Studies courses are in the afternoon, and I want to learn how to incorporate tools to increase the engagement, even when it comes to a mere six weeks left of school.
I’m not going to lie – I am having a very difficult time at the moment with phone usage in my classrooms. Through our previous courses, I understand how the phones aren’t necessarily the problem – I need to learn how to better manage technology so it does not manage me. I also need to get back into the zone of appreciating technology in the classroom, rather than being simply being frustrated by it and the difficulties I am currently feeling in my classroom.
So, in the end, I hope to read and learn more about how I can use educational technology specifically in a High School Social Studies course to engage my learners all the while meeting the objectives set out by the extensive and content-heavy curricula I teach. I hope to regain optimism in regards to technology, all the while discovering solutions to current problems I am facing. My plan is to discover new education tech blogs, the 2016 Honor Roll of EdTech Blogs, and even some educational technology journals throughout the six weeks of this course to achieve my previously described goal of this directed reading course.
Well, I have to say, I am looking forward to one final Master’s class, and one final educational technology course with you guys!