Learning new technology is fun, teaching it is so much more complicated. Finally decided to take the plunge and use an easy online tool with my fourth graders…Quozio. They had written haikus for Poetry Month and I wanted to be able to display electronically on school website. The learning curve was not related to Quozio but rather the students trying to remember their email addresses even when a written reminder of the format was up on the smartboard! Watching them type was equally painful. Despite my students being digital natives/residents, I was asked several times “how do I make the cursor go to the next line?” (Hit enter) The lesson became less about using presentation software and more of an assessment of basic keyboarding skills and recognition of email address components. (not just your student ID, where’s the @, the domain? the extension?) Thus the Quozio lesson became more of a lesson for me than a lesson for my students. which is okay, just not exactly what I had planned.
The Coding Club was a complete success for me and my students. Although several dropped out when they realized that perseverance was more a factor than gaming skills, the ones that stayed, faced obstacles, persevered, and accepted help from other students, definitely enjoyed the club. One student in particular, has difficulty every single week, very little comes easily for her, but because the Code.org curriculum and club environment is nonthreatening and nonjudgmental, she has stayed the entire time. We ran the club for approximately 3 months but most of our students did not complete Course 2. My co-teacher and I felt very positive about our interactions with the students, looked upon the time as “relaxing” and even missed the club on days when we had to cancel for one reason or another. We would continue the coding club but have decided to take advantage of the fleeting spring weather and form a hiking club. I would do Coding again. I might look into other coding sites such as Scratch for next year just to change it up for the students I hope will be returning.
I’ve been using my Libguides more often. More for the Common Core Modules that we repeat every year. It is easier to add new links, like the Cultural Institute gallery I created, to already existing units than trying to remember from one year to the next what resources I have used. “My Favorites” list was getting ridiculous.
As I learn these new programs, I am very aware how much time is required to survey new technology. Some are accessible for my students, some are not. Some I would love to use but are blocked by the district. The vetting process takes time and I am glad I get PD credit because otherwise I would feel like I was just surfing endlessly and oft times for naught!