Jen Pickard teaches Grade 6 at Oceanside Middle School. This school year, she wants to encourage her students to focus on adaptations in Science as it relates to their personal learning.
She hopes that her students will come to understand that “we are all learners and using an adaptation is not a weakness, rather it is a strength because it helps develop new learning. “ Jen also wanted to extend her own thinking and practice around inquiry based learning and differentiation strategies to support diverse learners.
While there were some struggles at the beginning with the management and implementation of technology in the classroom, Jen found that the students were supportive of the effort and lent a helping hand with updating or downloading apps. Jen had done a lot of reading about implementation of technology and even developed an acceptable use policy to ease in to introducing technology in the classroom.
Jen and her team introduced the iPads as a “class set” and there were concerns initially that there weren’t enough devices so that each student could have their own. But by encouraging the students to share and work in groups, the students are learning how to take turns, compromise, and build on each other’s ideas. This has resulted in a really positive classroom culture.
An interesting observation for Jen is how quickly the students were able to adapt to the new technology tool available to them and how the iPads became ‘normal’. The devices are simply one of the tools that students can choose from. When it came to demonstrating their learning, students were given the option of creating a traditional poster or a digital media presentation. Half the students opted for creating a poster and the other half chose to work on the iPads. Choice making has made a world of difference for students in how they are engaging with their learning.
To read more about Jen’s journey of technology implementation, check out her blog posts, http://diinscience.edublogs.org/.