My Interview with Kathy Monday, June 10, 2013
I had the opportunity to meet Kathy in person for our interview because she lives an hour from Gravelbourg. We met in her classroom at Westmount School at the end of the day. Kathy’s classroom is a typical grade 1 room including desks, beautiful artwork adorning t the walls, computers, ipads, and a whiteboard. At first glance the room seems typical, but where I really began to see how unique this classroom is, is when Kathy described how she incorporates various technology from Ipads, Blogs, Skype, and Twitter.
Q. When did you first incorporate technology in your classroom?
A. About 10-12 years ago the school division placed computers into most of the classroom. My class had five and whenever you have five of anything in an elementary classroom you create a centre. Unfortunately, you could install software onto the computers and wordprocessors in a grade 1 room aren’t practical because students still can’t write. So I found websites for games, but typing in url codes was difficult for such young children. So I started by creating a web page where students could access games. This was all great but there was not much for higher order thinking. So when I attended a conference I started questioning the value of Blogs. So I ask Dean Shareski if he thought this was possible. So I started creating a blog.
Q. How much information do you feel is necessary to share on social media, like Twitter?
A. You don’t to share the intimate details of your life..but putting a little bit of yourself out there is a good idea because it is a little bit like a social glue. You have to feel your way around an figure out how much of your personal life.
Q. How do you use Twitter?
A. Twitter is a networking tool. Educator have found a way to make Twitter a very valuable tool helping to fill the collaborative void between educators. I think Twitter has changed the game because you’re only allowed those 140 characters. Facebook tries but isn’t able to do it as well as Twitter.
Q. What advice do you have for me when I have my own class and want to include tech?
A. First you have to decide what do you want to be able to do. Do I want to start with. Do you want your children to have digital portfolios then a blog is a great place to start. Talk to parents make sure they sign permission forms and they show the parents what your blog looks like so that they have an idea of what a blog looks like. Start out and explain to kids that we are just learning as we do this. Maybe you may want to start out with a project. Some people start with a project that others can join them. Jen Wagner is one, e-pals is another one. Good places to start where you can do projects with other classrooms.
Start somewhere, For example, I don’t write a weekly newsletter all the information is located on the blog and is so much richer, because it is updated more often and includes pictures. The students’ blogs are also great ways to create digital portfolio which easily shows progress.
Q. Do you schedule a specific block of time in the day where you use this technology?
A. I teach like everybody else does. Sometimes the ipads are part of the activity sometimes they’re not. it just depends on what I want to teach and I look at my outcomes first, what’s the best way, is there something on the ipad that will enhance the activity or will blocks be the best? It’s not the answer to everything.
Put your fears aside and just try something, start small and you will figure it out as you go.