At Sir Alexander MacKenzie Elementary School in Vancouver, teacher Sean Martin has taken a thoughtful, logical approach to introducing technology to his students. His Grade 4 students have a myriad of learning needs from written output challenges and learning disabilities to more complex issues.
Wanting to explore how technology can be used to help his students learn at their best, Sean has been leading a SET-BC Tier 2 Classroom Based Solution using the Clicker 6 software on a Mac laptop and several iPads loaded with Clicker Docs, Sentences, Books and Connect apps. Sean’s goal was to integrate the laptop and iPads into an inclusive classroom setting where the technology is used by all students to support and enhance learning while breaking down any curricular access barriers.
On a recent visit to the classroom, Sean was using the technology to present a whole class activity that reviewed prior knowledge of concepts following up with a small group activity using the iPads.
A Clicker 6 matching activity involving visuals of the circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems had the entire class collaborating in full force as students discussed the possible answers, using test taking strategies to eliminate choices, and then discussed why one answer might be more appropriate than another. The engagement in the class was electric with almost every student energetically waving hands to provide answers.
The vocabulary and concept building activity was then connected to a Clicker Sentences group activity on the iPad. Students worked in groups with the iPads unscrambling sentences with picture clues then adding the information to their own document. While students supported each other with the shared iPad to complete the assignment, the class was abuzz with discussion: “What is that a picture of?” “How would that sentence start?” “Why is that capitalized?”
Sean has made integrating technology look easy, understanding that planning precedes integration and that management of the equipment is essential to successful implementation. Entirely new to Clicker 6 software at the start of the year, Sean approached the program by initially choosing activities that seemed accessible and supportive of his goals – he is taking on more complex activity-building as he learns.
“The technology,” says Sean “has made a huge difference to those who struggle with pen/paper tasks” allowing them to produce more with less resistance. One student who struggles with undiagnosed learning issues “zoomed through this assignment and was very successful.” Another student took longer to finish his work “but as a result of doing it this way”, Sean believes “he understood the work better…he did end up getting an A on his final test.” With the word bank activities in place, students were successful and “proud of themselves”. All students loved using the tech and were quick to help others use it effectively.
Students will soon move forward to demonstrate their knowledge of body systems by creating talking Clicker Books and, with their newfound Clicker App skills, will incorporate the technology in various other curricular areas. Their teacher, having experienced success with the Clicker suite of software and apps and always on the look-out for innovative teaching strategies, is keen to investigate more apps that will enhance learning and engagement across all areas of the curriculum. A class act, Sean! Your students are definitely engaged and learning!