I love workshops like this one. I love learning about new tech. Many times I see immediate applications of the tools in my class but I am always surprised by the ideas of others. I don't know how many times a teacher suggested something and I thought to myself, "Why didn't I think of that?" When you get some creative, tech-savvy teachers in a room, they will astound you with what they know. While we received many handouts, it was the suggestions of teachers during conversation times that I noted. Now, I will go back to my classroom and investigate the ideas of these creative teachers and see how they apply to my own situation. Like any good ideas, I'll tweak them to make them work for me, but the ideas are the important currency.
One of the tools that we used was the TIM chart. It helped the teachers in the room come to agreement on where tech integration fell on the spectrum. For the most part, teachers agreed on more effective and less effective uses of technology. In our own lessons, we are trying to seamlessly use technology to further learning, not just substitute one tool for another. The key to technology is that is should do something that other tools cannot do to enhance learning.
When it came time to create my lesson for reflection, I chose to have kids make "How-to" videos using FlipGrid. FlipGrid is an app that our district is pushing. It is a short video app with which kids can create video responses. It looks really cool and I can find dozens of uses for it in my room. The problem is that I don't know how to use it. I subscribed to the teacher kit, read enough to get me going, and pulled two kids from class, and had them download the app to their phone. They will be responsible for learning how to use it. They will make an introductory "How-to" video about using FlipGrid which I will show my classes. They will then be the experts in the room. To say that they are excited is an understatement. I am happy because I can leverage the interest of these kids in order to get all of the students using FlipGrid. We are a community of teachers and learners.
I am really looking forward to what comes next during our time in the IDI program. I feel that I have a lot of growing to do this year. Last year, I integrated some tech into my classroom but not nearly as much as years previous. Part of that problem was because I was in a new situation (new state, district, and school) and part of it was getting a handle on what resources our school had. Now that I am one year in, I feel that I can make better decisions and get these kids up to speed in their use of technology. They need to learn and I need to give them the room, time, and resources so that they can learn.