Friday, March 8, 2013

ITT Reflections

Below is a self reflection of my progress as a first year ITT





Content Section 1: Philosophy of Education
Being an ITT, I believe my job is to provide support for teachers and students to utilize technology in their learning and teaching. In order for this to happen students and teachers need to see the technology as a tool to complete the learning or reach the learning process, other wise it is something added into the curriculum. So when I provide support for teachers, I work closely with them to help them to integrate technology seamlessly into content they are already teaching. We then discuss a variety of technology tools and possibilities until we can identify one that works best for the teachers and will help students meet and demonstrate the standards.

Content Section 2: Respect for Individual and Cultural Characteristics 
I have also found that where one tool works great for one teacher it may not be the right tool for another teacher, often because of individual student needs and teacher needs. Even after planning projects with teachers, I have found that the tool that was chosen was perhaps fitting for teachers but not for students. It is these times when I have to pause and evaluate the lesson and determine a better tool for the students that can also meet the teachers needs. Most of this is done through discussions with teachers and modeling the process of evaluation. This process is made even more transparent for the professional development sessions that I have run, providing a rubric for teachers to work towards.












Content Section 3: Knowledge of Content Area
All projects that are created with teachers are based on content standards and ISTE NETS standards. In addition, rubrics or "I can" statements are used to assess student progress and learning. Furthermore, I have recognized that a variety of basic technology skills need to be incorporated into every lesson, such as short key cuts, how to search, where a URL is in a browser or where and how files are stored. These lessons can be seen in the different lesson posts or on the lessons page of this blog.

Furthermore when a lesson is provided to the students, I provide a handout to walk through the process, and then proceed to give step by step instructions while students follow along on the computers or their iPads. When possible, and if the teacher is feeling comfortable, I have them take the lead for providing the lesson and support them and their students. A great example of this are the lessons that were developed collaboratively by our ITT team for teaching students Google Earth.

Beyond providing lessons, I have found that I spend a great deal of time also providing technology resources for teachers, usually via email. Many times teachers have excellent skills in utilizing technology but they lack the time to test a variety of tools, many of which I have already tested and can provide suggestions on. Hence, I can provide resources through email, Edmodo or this blog.

Perhaps one of the difficulties of being the Language Arts/ Foreign Language ITT is that my true content area is science and I feel at times not having a deeper knowledge of Language Arts has prevented me from providing more in depth lessons to meet the students and teachers needs. One of my goals for the last quarter and for next year is to work more with our Language Arts curriculum coordinator to produce lessons that are more rich and in depth to meet the teachers and students needs. In addition I will try to build more of a connection with teachers so that I can work closely with them to integrate technology into the projects that they are already using in their classrooms.

Content Section 4: Facilitates, Monitors, and Assesses Student Learning 
I have also had the opportunity this year to work with teachers in several capacities to provide training (both 1 on 1 and group) to create formative and summative assessments using Moodle. Teachers have appreciated the fast grading and the capability of transferring scores to their gradebook. And because Moodle provides analytics on scores, teachers can use the data to quickly assess areas that need re-teaching. One of the areas I can improve on, however, is working with other assessment tools to provide pre-assessments that are correlated to the new standards. Many teachers have these resources, my goal would be to put these into a digital format with tools that can instantly provide the analytics. But using such tools as Socrative, I can help teachers to quickly collect formative assessment data. Though this was only done once this year,  I look forward to creating a more formative lesson and providing it to teachers.

Because I have taught for many years, I am also able to model appropriate classroom management with technology for teachers. This may include proper use of equipment, check out of equipment or even how to share equipment. In addition, I am able to help teachers to utilize students who have strong technology skills to teach other students in their group or class. Furthermore, students in my lessons are always aware of expectations and end products as these are posted at the beginning of the lesson, and usually restated in their handouts. Often their handouts include a section on reflection based on the learning goals. Finally these learning goals are reviewed at the end of the lesson, to reinforce the learning outcomes.

Areas for improvement include being able to provide more detailed information for classroom management in lessons, as well as providing resources in a more accessible format for teachers.

Content Section 5: Professional Development
Part of my growth this year has come from professional development provided at two conferences ASTE and FETC. I was able to glean many new project ideas, tools and apps to bring back to teachers as well as plan several collaborative projects with teachers at a distance.

Attending these conferences also allowed me the opportunity to bring back unique technology hardware and software that I felt would benefit our school district, all of which was shared through a collaborative Google Doc and email.

Along with maintaining my own professional development through Classroom2.0, Edweb.net, and Twitter, I am also able to provide the same professional development to the teachers in the district, being sure to maintain equality with all of the teachers. To view a typical day in the life of an ITT, check out the blog entry or to learn  more about the different projects provided each school, check out this blog entry.

Finally I have also been able to provide several trainings this year, each of which I provided an online learning environment for the Participants. These included:


One of the areas that I can improve on is to blog more about news, resources and available lessons. This way teachers have a place they can build regular technology skills.

Content Section 6: ITT as Partner with Teachers, Schools, Administrators
Over the course of the year I have also learned about the need for proper communication between all parties. I have learned to follow district protocols to maintain a smooth workflow for all. This is best done through email, phone calls and the use of Skype and Jabber for quick video communication when working out a technology problem. Having these technology tools has been a huge help in answering the many questions I have had as a first year ITT.

Furthermore, I constantly remind teachers in PLC that we all have a responsibility to integrating and using technology as part of our teaching and part of our workflow.

Content 7: Professional Participation and Contribution 
Besides participating in professional development opportunities (as mentioned above), I have had the opportunity to work closely with the Distance Education team to help integrate a 5 year plan for implementing distance education via videoconference at the high schools. This has been a great opportunity as it has allowed me to put much of my research to work.

 In addition, I have been able to participate in several training to begin to help implement the new Language Arts standards, from trainings from the State to trainings from curriculum staff. This has allowed me to work even closer with the curriculum team to collaborative develop lessons that are more aligned with the new standards, such as this lesson on AOW.

One way in which I can improve however is to allocated more time to working on creating a series of standard lessons that all teachers can utilize in their classrooms, 1 for each major content thread in the new standards based on the areas of most needed improvement as gleaned from state test scores.

Overall
Overall I found this year to be a great learning experience in helping teachers to better integrate technology into their classrooms. I have discovered new ways to work with teachers and new, better ways to use technology in a variety of different settings. Perhaps the best component is being able to collaborate with teachers to plan exciting new projects and then help implement the projects with the students. And of course it is always rewarding to hear students express excitement over their projects. Finally the area that I feel I can improve the most on is being able to provide more of a variety of lessons more connected to the new standards, again, one from each thread. This will be something that I begin this spring but continue to work on for the next year, so I can leave a legacy of quality lessons that can be used again and again.




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