Siobhan Kivell is a grade 4/5 teacher at Quadra Elementary School in Victoria. She has been teaching for 12 years in the Greater Victoria School District. When her district hosted a GAFE (Google Apps for Education) summit a few years ago, she was inspired to bring those new opportunities into her classroom and she was excited to have SET-BC support her in this endeavor. Siobhan worked during this past school year with SET-BC Tier 2 consultant, Kamelia Dousti, to bring a more collaborative environment into her classroom. Here she summarizes her experience and gives some examples of what her class worked on during this past year.
Since the GAFE summit, my students and I have been on a shared journey of discovery and learning through the use of technology in the classroom.
In the beginning, my main objective was to engage and enhance student learning, and most of the time, what we did was based on each student using a device to create their own product. Although that objective was very clearly met, I have come to realize that there is even greater power in combining this idea with collaborative practices.
As a result, most of what we have done this year has focused on ways to work and create collaboratively. We still did many of my favourite projects, only I adapted them to have students creating in partnerships or groups rather than on their own.
For example, the projects listed in 1 and 2 below, I have been doing for several years. In the past, they were done without the use of technology, and as individual works rather than a shared project.
Promoting a collaborative approach to learning has made my classroom a much louder place than in previous years (something that took me a bit of time to come to grips with!). The conversation, however, is rich and almost always on task. These things have added tremendous value to the learning experiences of my students, and have changed my teaching and classroom practice, most definitely, for the better!
Below is a list of some of the things we have done using the Chromebooks loaned [as a Tier 2 classroom-based solution] from SET-BC.
1 – To Multiply or Divide…That is the Question! – Shared slideshow (Google Slides)
Working with a partner, students created a multiplication or division word problem for others to solve. The students also used the “Explain Everything” IPad app to explain how they solved their problem and then embedded the link into their slide.
Note: not all students got to the stage where they were able to embed the Explain Everything link into their slide.
2 – Too Much Candy! – shared slideshow (Google Sheets, Charts and Slides)
Working in pairs students learned how to use Google Sheets and Charts to create a double bar graph showing the types of Halloween candy they collected. They copied the graph into a shared slideshow and then wrote 3 questions that others could try to answer by looking at the graphs.
3 – Padlet
We used this “interactive whiteboard” to share ideas with each other and to brainstorm.
4 – Developing Digital Citizenship
Having so much access to technological opportunities in the classroom led to the discussion around responsible use of that technology.
We made posters to show what our “Awesome Online Selves” might look like 15 or 20 years in the future.
Kidblog – After we have committed to developing a positive online presence and our “Awesome Online Selves”, (thank you to Trevor McKenzie for coining this term and allowing me to use it), we use blogging to develop literacy skills and communicate in a kind, appropriate and respectful way with one another.
Google Read and Write – This extension has been very useful for my struggling writers and readers. They use the word prediction and voice to text to help generate and develop writing ideas more easily. As well, they use it to have text read to them and then respond using the writing tools.
For all students, Google Read and Write also helps develop editing skills as student can have their writing read back to them and then edit as needed.
Google Classroom – I have used google classroom for all kinds of assignments throughout the year, which has reduced the amount of paper being used to deliver information/articles. Sometimes I assign something to the whole class or for students to work on in groups or partners but other times I use it to support a student who may need an adaptation to complete a task that the rest of the class may be doing on paper.
I am thankful to SET-BC for allowing me this amazing opportunity – I have learned so much, as have my students! The beautiful thing is that we often learn together as we go…I am certainly no technology expert! Because young people today are so tech-savvy, I find that when I introduce an idea or project to my students, I often learn from them just as much, or more, as they learn from me. They love to “teach” me new things…and I love how that makes them feel!
Thank you, Siobhan, for your enthusiasm and kind words – we really enjoyed collaborating with you and your students this year – what an amazing journey!
To learn more about the technology used in this SETstory, search for it by name in learningSET.