The interviewee was an elementary teacher in the same school district. She has been teaching general Primary grades for the past 4 years. The interview was conducted at lunchtime in her classroom. Three key points were brought up in the discussion: differentiation, balancing technology and real-world activities, and supporting implementation.
The interviewee’s primary use of technology was to “support the math units” by “using the ipods as an extension for the grade 2’s”. This allowed her the freedom to work in a split class, “while the grade 2’s were still engaged with something that was math related on their own.” She also felt that technology was a valuable way to extend learning beyond the scope of science inquiry lessons. Using QR codes and a growing Youtube playlist, students could independently listen and learn. Other applications she used allowed her students to receive extra practice or review of a topic independently. Her main goal for having technology in the classroom came from a desire to differentiate for her learners.
Balancing real-world and tech
The interviewee also stressed the importance of balancing the amount of technology students are exposed to with the physical opportunities of the real world. Much of the interview described ways in which students can “blend” the physical with the technological aspects of learning. By introducing coding and manipulative apps to her kids, she builds her students’ thinking of math and science to relate to the real-world. They can become better engaged if they know it “comes from something [they] used in real-life”.
Support towards Implementation
Finally, an ongoing challenge the interviewee felt she encountered was the need to “get the kids rolling” with new technology. At the younger ages, students have such diverse knowledge of how to use technology. She feels many activities need heavy teacher support to get going, that some of them are not worth all the effort it takes. Parent volunteers or older expert students could be a viable solution. She proposed a “tech circle” opportunity for older kids to teach younger kids similar to a literature circle. This way students can build their knowledge together and rely less on teacher support.