Monday, 14 July 2014

Summer Learning- HWDSB Summer Institute Series

Our board has some great opportunities for Summer learning.  One of the PD sessions that I attended was a mini-course on using technology in the classroom.

This was a jam-packed, 2-day PD session where teachers from my board was able to explore topics relating to using technology and transforming technology in the classroom.  Of the number of sessions that were available I decided to attend the crash courses on using the ePortfolio app, Explain Everything app, using Inquiry-based learning in the classroom, using the Binder app and what to do with tech when the iPad goes down.  All the groups were very small, and allowed for a lot of one-on-one attention, which was great when you are frustrated and having a tech problem.  The second day sessions that I attended were mainly about my own development as a teacher; Collaboration, and the iPad as a teacher tool.  In these sessions we were given more time to practice using the tools, and trouble shooting, which I found helpful.

I could talk about all the sessions, but I have attached my notes for anyone interested, so I'm just going to focus on the sessions that made me think even further about my own teaching: the "when the wifi goes down" crash course and the second day sessions about collaboration and a singular iPad classroom.  

"When the Wifi goes Down"

The techie-teacher's nightmare.  This has happened to me a few time this year.  On my cart, I usually keep a back-up activity for when this happens.  What was great was that the instructor Jared Bennett (  provided us with lists of apps and resources, and little tricks to prepare for the common occurance of wifi-lessness.  (See my notes for that list.)

The challenge for me, however, is that my classroom is not one that has enough resources for students to have their own devices to use.  I can plug in my iPad using an adaptor to project the image, and that doesn't need wifi.  I would have liked to learn a little more about those physical things that I could use; are there any more?  

Overall, I wish that the session was longer!  But, Jared's really good about answering my questions via email (no matter how silly or inane) so I'm not worried about when I inevitably have more ideas and questions.

"Using the iPad to Collaborate"

Even though this session was about how to teach the students how to collaborate, I found this session useful because I can adapt it to use for planning with my colleagues.  Everyone is busy, and it is difficult to organize time to plan together, with the programs we used and learned about, that is something that could no longer be a challenge.  Most helpfully, we were given over an hour to apply what we were learning on a question.  I learn best through application, so I was greatful for the opportunity to work through the process with support.  

"The One iPad Classroom"

The afternoon session was a great introduction in using the iPad as a teacher tool.  To start the session, Jared noted that for schools with limited access, the teacher's should be the one's that are equiped with the tablets first.  I found that I agreed with this idea; Jared introduced a number of ways that the teacher could use the iPad to provacate and engage the students, instead of passing a few devices around.  

I appreciated that Jared took the time to display how a teacher can use the iPad as an organizational tool.  I felt that there was enough new information for me who is comfortable with using tech in the classroom, that I still took so much away from the ideas that he introduced.  I'm looking forward to trying some of the things he outlined throughout the summer.

What PD are you hoping to complete this summer?

If you would like to have a copy of my notes, click this link:

Hope you find them helpful!