Special Education Resource Blogger

Blog Post created by noproblem on Dec 7, 2015

Ten Week Check-in

                            Posted by Emile Ferlisi in Effective Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age - @HCTLLP on Dec 6, 2015 11:17:42 PM                                             


After a little over two months of our TLLP, I sent out a Socrative quiz to all team members with the hopes of gauging where we were in terms of implementation of technology and what we might do better as a team. I was also interested in seeing what areas of our board learning plan the team had been addressing through their use of digital tools. For context, the areas of improvement our board is currently focusing on include: knowing our learners through assessment, a focus on mathematics, the ministry mandated 'Pathways to Success' initiative and digital citizenship.


Here's each question and a summary of how team members responded:




What digital learning tools have you tried with your class so far?


This question shows the range of tools that team members have implemented. Responses included: Sway, Mathletics, Seesaw, Explain everything, Nearpod, Catholic Bible online, Kahoot, Puffin Academy, Class Messenger, Prezi, Gizmos (found within explorelearning), Prodigy Math, and Epic read aloud.


Since the quiz was sent out, team members have also started to implement Zaption as well as OneNote (class notebooks); our team also has a OneNote space for group collaboration as well as reviewing and sharing of resources.


If you take the time to check the hyperlinks you'll notice that the tools we've used have ranged from presentation apps to improvement on parent-teacher communication. We have used our technology to support instruction in language, mathematics and everything in-between since many of the applications and web-tools listed here can be used in multiple ways for different content areas. We've taken the initiative to learn how to incorporate these tools into our practice and go beyond the "novelty" factor and into the realm of effective implementation; that is definitely what we are trying to accomplish with our project.


Are there any digital tools that you have started learning about but haven't implemented yet? Which ones?


This question showed me that team members are striving to learn more and put some learning "in their back pockets" for further exploration later on; there is only so much you can implement effectively at any given time! Most team members mentioned their desire to become more proficient with tools like OneNote, Sway or other software within our board-provided suite of apps. There were some interesting inclusions, however, including: Comic Life , Powtoon, and Book Creator.  I have personally been exploring a few newer web-based applications that I'd like to help team members run with (hopefully) in the near future: Spiral, and seem to have some pretty incredible creative possibilities, but right now they only serve to prove that there really are more tools out there than anyone can possibly wrap their head around! I do, however, encourage anyone reading this (including team members!) to check out Spiral or Ideaphora to see how you might be able to take advantage of these tools in your classrooms. I've also come across a tool called 'Tanjo' as well as 'Teacher Templates (' - both, again, have their creative possibilities and I do hope to 'unpack them' in the near future!


Which area of focus from our CBLP (board learning plan) have you decided to focus on?


This question served to remind all of us that our use of technology should be deliberate and intentionally focused on improving student achievement. Framing our work with our board learning plan provides structure and allows team members to meet the goals of the project as well as our board and school improvement plans simultaneously. 30% of the team responded that they were using technology to know their learners while 22% said they were using digital tools to address digital citizenship and 22% said they were satisfying 'Pathways to Success' expectations. Only 13% of team members said they were focusing on mathematics, but perhaps this is okay since improving mathematics instruction is part of our larger school plan - it's definitely worth looking at either way and something for us to tackle as we move forward. Of course, with so many choices, it only makes sense that we've chosen to address different sections of our improvement plan.


How can your team or team lead better support you?

This question gave team members the chance to mention their concerns, if any, with how things have progressed so far. Most team members mentioned that they felt comfortable asking for help and supporting each other. The overall feel I got from team responses was that we genuinely have, at least to this point, created a culture of collaboration. Team members are working together and supporting the effective implementation of technology and we're all comfortable seeking support from each other - this is probably the most important element of our work together so it's encouraging to see that we're doing well to this point. One very important concern brought forward was that, perhaps, we don't "meet in person" often enough. My most sincere answer for this concern is that meetings were intentionally replaced by effective sharing through twitter, blogging and, most recently, collaboration on our team OneNote. The project was designed in this way so that there was no "extra layer" of work associated with the time commitment of additional meetings - team members were (and still are) expected to engage in self-directed learning - we most certainly have enough resources to go through! - and then bring that learning back to the team. It's also important to note that this project is intended to go beyond our school-level setting; there are team members who are not on staff at our school. Lastly, our next meeting date will provide in-school team members with a full day for in-person sharing and collaboration prior to launching the second phase of our project.


Our team continues to build momentum as we progress towards the end of the first phase of this project. I honestly feel that we're improving every day and the results of this survey give us reason to continue our optimism moving forward.


Thanks to all team members for their valuable input!