I believe that I can teach more than I know. One way to accomplish it is to allow students to teach their classmates and me. Personally, I love to learn from my students and I can know that they love to share their knowledge. However, I do sometimes have issues with stepping back and giving up control. I worry that it would appear to my colleagues and administrators that I am not working if they were to just “pop” into my classroom. As Martinez and Stager (2013) wrote, “This ‘letting go’ is not being a lazy teacher by making students do your job for you. Far from it. A teacher is highly engaged in the art of empowering young people, not getting work done.” I wonder if this is a common concern for many teachers or if it is just my lack of experience since I am a new teacher.

I don’t doubt that there are many students who are more technically savvy than their teachers. I am not sure how much technical ability my first grade students have yet, but I do know that many of them have iPads and other devices. In our classroom, we have iPod Touches, and iPad, and computers they can access. I would love to teach in a school that has a laptop or device for each student, but that is not the case where I teach. I also am uncomfortable with having students (especially early primary students) bring a device from home. However, I am planning on finding out which apps my students love to use at home. As Hudson (n.d.) wrote, “You’ll see your students will gladly tell you their favorite sites and which apps they can’t stop using. Once you have that information, you can begin to incorporate their interests into some of the projects that you assign. The trick is to build the learning connections.” I love the idea of incorporating programs and games my students enjoy into our classroom learning activities.

So where does this leave me as a teacher who wants to incorporate technology in her classroom in a meaningful way? I think it leads me back to an idea I had towards the beginning of this summer, a blended learning classroom. “Simply stated, blended learning is combining computers with traditional teaching. Knowing that today’s learners are wired at all times, teachers are directing students’ natural online proclivity towards schoolwork. It’s referred to as different things — reverse teaching, flip teaching, backwards classroom, or reverse instruction. But it all means the same thing: students conduct research, watch videos, participate in collaborative online discussions, and so on at home and at school — both in K-12 schools and in colleges and universities” (Barseghian, 2011). I would like to try a modified flipped learning for math in my first grade classroom, where my students would watch the math lesson on their own, using an iPad or Ipod Touch and then we would do homework together in small groups. I believe it would be a great way to get my students accustomed to using technology in a meaningful way both at school and at home.

References

Barseghian, T. (2011, February 5). Three Trends That Define the Future of Teaching and Learning. Retrieved July 9, 2015, from KQED News: http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2011/02/05/three-trends-that-define-the-future-of-teaching-and-learning/

Hudson, H. T. (n.d.). Do Your Students Know More About Technology Than You Do? Retrieved July 9, 2015, from Scholastic: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/do-your-students-know-more-about-technology-you-do

Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

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2 thoughts on “Can You Teach More Than You Know?

  1. I understand your concerns about stepping back. Over the years I have learned to not worry so much. A teacher that is confident enough to step back and create a student-centered class portrays to their peers and families, master teacher traits so don’t worry – you might even inspire other teachers to do it. My 2nd graders always keep me on my toes when it comes to technology. Some of the things they can do blows my mind – I laugh now when I hear someone say something like “its not developmentally appropriate for students to learn to add with regrouping” I want to say have you seen what they are doing in Minecraft?- its 10 times harder.

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  2. It’s good that you are thinking about ways to incorporate technology in a meaningful way. All too often I see teachers use technology as a pacifier, so they can get some grading done. I too have been thinking and researching about a flipped classroom. I already know I would need to do an in class flip, where students watch the videos in class. However since I am starting at a new school for the 2015-16 school year and I am not fully aware of the schools technology, I may have to wait a semester or longer to “flip” my class. We should keep each other updated about our “flipping”, so we can learn from one another. Did I read in you reflection that you went to a makerspace? Where was it? I would love to observe, help, or create in a makerspace before trying to start my own.

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