For the past two months I have been focusing on ‘Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas’. During this course I designed a GAME Plan for myself, set goals and created unit lesson plans to support my goals and integrate technology in the classroom. I had the chance to look into NETS-T and NETS-S standards and integrate them in my daily lesson plans. (NETS, 2010).
My Game plan had the goals of professional development, teacher and student support. In order to integrate technology in the classrooms of elementary grade levels from kindergarten to Grade four effectively, I first had to have the teachers equipped with the right kind of technological tools that they needed for their classroom usage. Being a part of the school’s IT team, I had the chance to deliver their needs to the IT department and find the appropriate tools for their integration. This was the first challenge I had because the classrooms were not equally equipped with the right tools and in order to have an effective integration first I needed to solve this problem. After having some research done and going through negotiations with the IT department and the administration, the classrooms were well equipped. We supplied fifteen iPads and fifteen laptops for the Grade levels Kindergarten and Grade1. The grades from two to four needed some softwares to be installed into their laptops and some classes needed projectors, cameras and headphones so we ordered them as well.
The second challenge was to level the teachers’ knowledge on integrating technology in their curriculum. With the assistance of the curriculum coordinator, being present in the grade level unit planning meetings, we integrated technology in their daily lesson plans. This took a lot of time and effort. But in the end every grade level had projects using technology in their units.
The third goal was to assist the teachers and students using technological tools in their classrooms. Some of the teachers were resistant using these tools due to their low self-esteem and lack of experience in integration. I started to run technology morning meetings with every week with a good amount of attendance. These sessions helped a lot of teacher to gain confidence and be compatible with new technologies. A good amount of them started their classroom blogs and documented student work and shared their classroom experience with their peers and the school community.
The last goal of mine was to improve my knowledge and experience in the field in order to be more helpful to the teachers and students. I was lucky that in the second week of November I attended a workshop run by Alan November (November, 2008). In this workshop we had discussions on web literacies and one to one integration in schools. As I had studied his teachings in my last course in Walden University, this workshop was a good supplement to my studies and gave me ideas to implement more creative projects in the classrooms.
To sum up, this course gave me insight on how to effectively integrate technology in the classrooms and ways to support teacher and student learning. I am still working on improving my GAME plan and goals. I believe as long as we have goals and plans for a better integration, the classrooms will serve better and more effective learning for the 21st century students we work with.
NETS (2010). Standards for Global Learning in the Digital Age. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/ForTeachers/2008Standards/NETS_T_Standards_Final.pdf
November, A. (2008). Web literacy for educators. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.