Kathy Cassidy Educator Profile (Interview)

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.

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2 Responses to Kathy Cassidy Educator Profile (Interview)

  1. Hi Mariette,

    I agree with Kathy that technology should include pieces about your self but not extremely intimate pieces. The participation you have with regards to technology should be able to demonstrate that you are a positive, competent, professional individual who collaborates, encourages inclusion and diversity and effectively uses technology to enhance students learning and your own learning! Technology can be used at any point in the day and it opens up numerous opportunities for teachable moments. What you are mandated to teach and what you actually teach and explore with students can vary, it’s up to you to be able to help students understand and connect what they learn and the relevance it has to their lives. With this being said, children are so capable with technology and they can teach us new things all the time (ex: learning how to use new programs, discovering new apps and finding global resources). I also really believe in communicating with parents, it is so important to involve them in the learning process. Informing parents of the technology usage their children will be engaged in is very important, this shows parents that you care about your relationship with them and their families and you are able to show student’s progress throughout their learning journey with you!

  2. Pingback: Social Learning Review | Shandra Nelson

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