Since I took this course at the end of another fabulous, but busy school year, I look forward to spending my summer rereading course materials and planning for purposeful technology integration in the fall. Fortunately, I have a few opportunities to meet with both grade level colleagues and other staff members during summer writing teams and other get-togethers.
One goal mentioned in my GAME plan as part of a few earlier blog postings was K-6 vertical planning towards teaching students basic word processing skills and simple Google Apps setup. There have been numerous conversations regarding this issue, as I discovered that I was not alone. Primary teachers are also aware of the lack of focus in this area. Intermediate teachers have suggested that all teachers devote time each fall (with refresher courses in the winter and spring) to basic computer literacy skills. Although my grade level has plans for a Google Apps introduction in the first week of school (as Gmail and the other Google tools are new to 5th graders), there is not a coordinated vertical alignment yet. However, I am a member of the school technology committee, and will make sure to add this as one of our tasks for the year. Getting a coordinated plan in place will take some time and discussion.
The second goal in my GAME plan was to incorporate shorter and more frequent inquire and explore research opportunities for my students. The GAME plan I created for this course over the past three weeks aligned with this goal. As part of this plan, my students worked in partners to read the newspaper, looking for topics that interested them. Then, they conducted a few short bursts of research to uncover facts and details about their topic, adding them to a shared Google document. The next steps, obviously done with my new group of students in a repeat of this plan, will be adding a summary of findings to a page on a shared class wiki, and then creating a digital story to document the process. With more time to plan out the schedule and assure availability of resources, I am excited for this and other projects that combine short online research opportunities with social networking, online collaboration and/or digital storytelling.
As for my instructional practice, I am more energized about technology integration as an instructional practice. I want to make sure to focus on my state standards, as they drive my instruction, and then look for ways to meaningfully integrate technology. Incorporating Problem-Based Learning, additional educational networking, and digital storytelling into my teaching will keep my students engaged. I realize that time and resources (access to technology) may limit their frequency, but I will not let my ignorance or lack of confidence act as barriers to their use in my classroom. By planning creatively, I can make technology integration a seamless part of my everyday teaching instead of just an add-on.