Let’s just set aside the fact that I am struggling to stay organized and ahead of the game as a part time teacher, and that this year I will only get to see my students once or twice a week, and at 2 (or hopefully 3!) different schools. Instead, let’s focus on the monumental challenge of incorporating technology into that teaching and into my own organization and planning.
It’s August, and high time I start organizing my life for teaching this year. So I began by thinking about how I would track what I was teaching to who and when. Sounds easy right? In the past I have used a binder as a daybook at one school. This year is different though. First of all, I will definitely be teaching at two different schools, and maybe more. So do I create a different daybook for each school or do I lug my daybook around to each school. OR, do I get with the program and use my iPad as a daybook. Bingo. iPad.
Okay…. so which app should I use? Today I started browsing the apps available that will help me create a digital daybook. Last year, and in years past, I have dabbled with a few. When I was working in an LTO as a planning teacher, I used my laptop (pre iPad days) and downloaded Planbook. It was decent, but really hard to set up, and not flexible in any way. Last year, I tried LiveBinder on my iPad. I liked that I could create my own daysheet as a pdf and add notes to it, but it didn’t really meet all of my needs.
When I create a physical daybook, I set it up with my schedule and then just write in the days as I go. I add my lessons in pen, and write reflections after I teach. I do this because it is usually a week, or sometimes more before I see those students again and continue with the lesson or the unit in question. So the most ideal thing for me to do would be to write my own app and customize it the way I want. But how in the world do you do that?
This past weekend I was extremely lucky. I got to attend the first Google Apps for Education Ontario Summit.
I have been telling everyone that the Google Summit changed my life, and it is absolutely true. I really feel that I am looking at education and technology in a completely different way than I did before I attended this amazing event. Yes, I learned a lot of cool things about Google Apps and some impressive tricks that I can wow my friends with. But that wasn’t the best thing I took away from the Summit. Not even close.
What I came home with was a deeper understanding of what it means to be a teacher and a student today. And what I have discovered is that it’s okay to not have all of the answers. As a teacher I have a plethora of tools to help me find the answers, and a world-wide network of like-minded teachers, to help me and inspire me, at my finger tips.
And most importantly, it doesn’t matter what technology tools I prefer to use in my classroom, because the fast pace of these innovations is fostering a mindset of testing things out and seeing what works. There will always be new and better things available to me and to my students. But taking that plunge into something new and exploring it together is an authentic learning process that will be repeated over and over in my life and in the lives of my students.
As a teacher, I can lead my students into responsible digital citizenship, by being a responsible, innovative, and inspiring digital citizen myself. And that is now my major career goal.