Saturday, June 9, 2012

What a year...2011

Leading up to 2011
The school I am currently working at (and have been since 2009) have varied in their technology within the school.  Some classes had IWB, all had some sort of computer/ laptop devices (although some didn't work).  Having been teaching since 2004 and always having an IWB in my class, it was a challenge to teach some lessons without being able to show a clip or have a flip chart that I could use.  I was worried that I would loose the skills I had built up over the years and I was right.  A year and a half later, I was fortunate enough to get an IWB in my class...phew!  I was also lucky enough to be in a team of teachers who were eager to think outside the box when thinking about the classroom.  I had been involved with 'digital classrooms' before (being defined as having 10 computers in the classroom at a previous school I was at), but I could not envisage the road we were about to travel down!

iPods (2011)
In the previous year, we held a market day where our students design and made products to sell.  The goal was for the students to be involved in the whole design, production, advertising and selling process.  We didn't have any firm plans for the money we raised but knew we would get the students involved in the whole process.  After numerous ideas (roller-coaster, swimming pool, student lounge among some of the ideas) we came down to printers in the school as we found both staff and students were getting frustrated with the lack of access to get their printing.  After speaking to our Principal, we decided that this may not be the best use of the money.  Light bulb...iPods.  I had an iPod and an iPhone but I had not really thought about this in the classroom.  A little research later and we decided that this would be a great road to go down.  We researched and researched this idea and finally purchased 8 iPods (without the camera...what would we need a camera for and they are so much more expensive - *insert deep regret!*).  We now had 8 iPods to share between 3 classes, so it was decided to keep them as a set (as we had read numerous recommendations that this would be better).  We had a timetable set-up where my class would get the set every 3 weeks.

iPod PD
We also wanted to get the most out of these devices.  It seemed the more we researched (and we researched a lot) the more we got to grips of the magnitude of change we were about to undertake and how much we had been missing out on.

I knew of a school who used iPods and went to observe a day in their school life.  Ahuroa School opened my eyes to some the possibilities within the classroom.  They were a lot more advanced that us (having both iPods/ iPads/ apple TV's...).  We also attended a course on using the iPods in class...we were off!  Hindsight...If only we had got those iPods with cameras!  We noticed a shift in our classrooms.  Students were connected to the world and loved the different way of learning that this device provided.

We ticked along nicely...trying to integrate these devices throughout our whole programme.  Then I was lucky enough for the chance to attend the ULearn conference in Rotorua...*insert complete change in my teaching*.  It was like being hit by a bus.  Teachers were doing truly amazing things!  The ideas I had - I needed 3 weeks more just to get my head around it all.  The new terms (thank goodness for google!), the new ideas WOW!  So consequently my entire classroom change.  The layout the delivery...EVERYTHING!

I am a 'I-CANT-WAIT-TO-DO-THAT' teacher (which also means waking at 3am to put into place new ideas).  So come term 4, when my students came back, everything had changed.  The reaction...they loved it!  Furniture change...check, wikispaces (class and student) set-up and ready...check (see Wiki's in the classroom for further details).

So that was 2011...