My Experience

(Professional Development Project)

Overview

So, I ended up observing for more than 5 hours in a technology classroom. So for the purpose of this assignment, I am going to reflect on the more important 5 hours. Then, I will answer the assigned questions. :)


I was at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School which is a PreK-8 school. I was in Mrs. Farley's technology class.

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HOUR 1

When I first arrived, I had this hour alone with the teacher whose classroom I was observing in. It was her hour to plan. We had planned it this way so that we would have plenty of time to talk. I am so glad that we did it this way because I got a lot out of that one hour. Also, I am glad that it was the first hour because she told me a lot about what to look for once the students arrive. She also showed me what they would be doing that day. They were having typing tests. They used a website called Nitro Type. This is a fun way to test students on their typing skill because typing is disguised by a fun car race! If you type fast then you will win. But, the teacher explained to me that she makes all of her students get 94% accuracy. She said that she believes it is extremely important to be accurate because it's no good to be able to type super fast if you can't type the right words.

HOUR 2

The second hour I am going to talk about is when we had 2nd graders in the technology lab. I actually really got to help out with this, so that was kind of cool. The teacher had them all sit down at their assigned desktop computer. She said that they are going to go onto PBSkids.org today. (They were all pretty excite about that!) Then, she had the projector on with google chrome up and running. She asked the kids how she could get to the website they wanted. She said there are three different ways and she called on three different students to come up and show the class the different ways of accessing that website. (The three different ways were bookmarks, tool bar, and recents.) She then let them get to the website. From there she said they are going to play Arthur games today and so to find Arthur. They did as she said and then waited for her next instructions. The teacher then showed them some of the games they were going to be able to play and then she let them get started. She walked around awhile because some of the students had trouble finding where to go. Then, she let them play. Well, they thought they were just playing, but in reality, the games are extremely educational.
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HOUR 3

STATE TESTING
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I thought that this part of my observing hours was going to be the most boring. I remember doing state testing as a student and I thought it was super boring/annoying. I was sure it was going to be the same as I remembered.

Boy, was I wrong! It was VERY interesting to be there while they were completing state testing. The teacher and I had a long discussion about state testing. She told me about how strict everything has to be. No one is allowed to see the test prior to the students taking it. Not even the teachers. So really they are just guessing what to teach their students to study. In addition, the students' passwords and usernames have to be locked away in a safe so that it diminishes the possibility of someone getting in to the test. Also, when the students are taking the test there are very strict restrictions on what the teachers supervising the test can and cannot do. For example, if a student does not know what a word is the teacher can not even say it for them. Also, if the student was having trouble navigating the exam, the teacher cannot even tough the mouse. It was crazy to me how many rules there were! But I guess it was necessary since there are definitely teachers that are cheating for their students, but that is a whole other thing!!

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HOUR 4

"CE" : Curriculum Enrichment

This hour was in the afternoon and some older students came in for their engineering CE, which is basically their elective. It is for 7th and 8th graders at that school. This was also a very interesting thing, because they were doing stuff that just blew my mind! The teacher told me that they were doing super advanced things. The assignment they were working on was to take a piece of a car (for example, someone was doing a steering wheel and another student was doing a shift control) and then create at it computerized using a program. It was amazing! As the students were showing me their progress, I was amazed! I was also amazed that there were so many girls in the class. The teacher said that this class is something the school is really trying to focus on and enhance STEM in the classroom. Below I have embedded a link that the students use in that class.

HOUR 5

CODING
What Most Schools Don't Teach
This was crazy to me, because I was so unfamiliar with this. This was not something I did as student in computer class. They are teaching the students how to code! How to create things. It is disguised as a game, but the students are learning something that is so futuristic I could not even believe. The teacher was really good at coding and was telling me all about it, and I was just in shock that some of her 4th graders can code! She even told me that she had an 8th grader that had created his own app for smart phones. I was so impressed by this because I think it is so great that this teacher was teaching them something that is going to be so useful. If they don't actually use coding in their future careers, which a lot of them will considering how much technology is advancing, they will be able to use the skills of trial and error and deep thought processes in all aspects of life.

Teaching

For my lesson, I taught about USA Landmarks.
I have attached the lesson plan I used to teach in the technology classroom I was observing in.
After reading my lesson plan, you should have a good idea of what my lesson was about. The students seemed to really enjoy working together and presenting their little landmark projects. I assessed them by using a Quizlet quiz which included 10 main landmarks. The students seemed to go through the quiz easily so I think that was a sign of a successful lesson. :)
Here is the Quizlet I used at the end of my lesson.

Questions

1. What type of technology were the students using? The students I was observing were in a computer lab, so they were using desktops.

2. Did students appear to be more or less engaged in a lesson content using technology? YES! I noticed that the students were having a lot of fun doing school work when they got to use the computers to do it. I think this is because a lot of times people are always telling them to get off the iPad or computer, but in their technology class, the teacher is telling them all the good aspects of technology.

3. What was the teacher doing while the students were using technology? The teacher did an excellent job of walking around as opposed to just sitting back down at her computer desk. The students would raise their hand and she was already up and ready to help them.

4. What pros and cons did you observe related to the use of technology in the classroom? A definite pro was that the students were super excited to have their own computer and use it. A con that kind of goes along with that is that the students got kind of rowdy since it was not their usual classroom setting.

Questions I Asked The Teacher & Her Responses

1. What are the benefits of students using technology in the classroom? "This is were we are heading--a culture that is full of technology. That is why it is important to teach students how to use it wisely and independently. Once they get to 6th grade they are typing papers. So, we must start teaching them efficient ways of typing at a young age."

2. What are the disadvantages for student use of technology? "Students are overstimulated. If they are at home on their tablets and then come to school and use desktops, that can be a little too much for them. In addition, while the students are gaining knowledge in technology, we have seen a trend of other things being not as focused on, like proper manners and things like that."

3. What is your favorite classroom technology and why? "Personally, I like Promethean Boards. They are basically like a Smart Board but instead of it being a big board, it is just a projection that you can do all the same things as a Smart Board. In addition, they are a lot less expensive."

Take-Aways From My Experience

  • A technology class teaches more than just typing and word processing.
  • Technology class is extremely different than when I was in school.
  • I have full respect for teacher that are tech-saavy enough to teach technology.
  • I hope that when I have my own classroom, I use the technology provided to me as much as possible.
  • I realized that I will have to make an effort to stay up-to-date with all current technology throughout my career as a teacher.
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Technology in Education

THE END :)