CILO and Ed Tech – The Right Choice?

As we are utilizing our CILO time today, it is important for us to remember that as much as educational technology can be used to enhance and enable student learning, it also depends on the task as to whether it is the best choice or not…

Often, there may be excellent reason for utilizing educational technology, but just like anything else it can be used in a manner similar to “worksheet” learning.

The practice of putting kids on computers as purely a time for play or as something to keep them occupied for a while is simply not the best use of our instructional time. However, if it fits the right reasons it can be used very purposely and authentically.

Do not feel that it is expected that educational technology be used every time for every learning task. We, as the designer of learning, must make good choices about when and how it is utilized. We do not need to force the fit. I think the same thinking goes for if you are using any resource within the school, including volunteers, manipulatives or artifacts, rooms or spaces, books, or anything else. We should be able to justify the resources we use and make sure they are the best resources for the purpose.

When utilizing any resource, we are working to create curriculum built upon the understanding that all people learn best when they are doing tasks that are challenging and of interest to them. If we are using any resource, we can ask ourselves a few questions:

  1. What is the purpose of the learning task?
  2. How will I enable cognitive investment from my students?
  3. How can I implement an instructional style that is responsive, formative, and match with what our learners need?
  4. How do we make this learning task authentic and build upon our big picture learning?

If you are able to develop a good understanding of these questions when creating innovative learning opportunities, then you will know if educational technology (or any other resource) brings benefit to what the students need.

Work hard, learn tons!


11 Responses to CILO and Ed Tech – The Right Choice?

  1. Grade Six says:

    I’ve really been missing having a team partner during out CILO times. It is so true that teachers can take greater risks with innovation when we work together. I am exploring ways to make our forensics unit exciting and hands on for the students.

  2. Jen says:

    The grade 2 team discussed where the classes were at with their arctic animal research project. Jen noticed that her students were simply typing out the research they found onto a slide and saying, “done!” She then created an example of a research project using Notebook, SMART ideas and Comic life to show the students. Students then looked at her presentations and compared them to the ones they had created. Students were able to see the difference and could self-assess where they would be at on their rubric if they were to keep their presentation the way they had first created it. Now students are working together to show each other how to manipulate objects/pictures/words to create engaging presentations for their audience.

    The other two classes are about to start their presentations and Haryjote and Krystle will be showing the students the example presentations. It is also important to discuss with the students that these examples are not complete either and that Mrs. Arruda would have to look at her rubric and add more to be able to get herself to the Mastery level.

    In creating their final projects the entire class was shown the examples created by Jen, and as the students completed their research they were then beginning their final products. Because each student is beginning to compile their research at different times, they were able to receive targeted teacher and peer support in creating their Notebook, Comic Life and SMART ideas presentations.
    A problem encountered with this age group is that the fine motor skills required to drag and move images, and to type is not yet fully developed. With this in mind the students have not been discouraged, and have shown patience and independence.

  3. Brandy Eagleson says:

    The grade 3’s continued working on improving our Literacy and Math centers. We focused on assessment and how to make the centers purposeful and meaningful to each student.

  4. Lisa T. and Lisa B. says:

    This afternoon, Bartel and I went to Midsun to visit an ALP (Adapted Learning Program) class. This is a system class that falls between ACCESS and PLP programs. We were wanting to see the set up of the program, gain a better understanding of what level the students are at and how the program runs at a junior high level. We have two students from our PLP program that we were thinking might be successful in this program for next year.
    It was a great experience and we were able to network with other teachers and strategists and collaborate about the needs of our students.

  5. Heather Graham says:

    Half of the Kindergarten Team was sick in bed on Wednesday, making the process of innovative team planning difficult. I spent time working on a few loose ends around the classroom that have been hanging over our heads and then met with Julianne LeQuelenec, our SLP, to track the process of our coded kids thus far. With these things out of the way we are looking forward to moving forward with our innovative planning time now that my better-half is feeling better!

  6. Hi Keeler School,

    You’re absolutely right!

    I’ve experienced many-a-times when the idea has been to use technology to ‘get it checked off’ the list of things we do in our class. If the learning task has not been well designed and the technology has not been thoughtfully and carefully implemented into the task, the engagement and/or intelectual engagement will not present.

    However, as we begin to understand what technology is capable of as well as think in more of a digital sense, I also believe that we could add an element of technology into learning in almost every single lesson!

    BTW – I love the way you and your staff are using the blogging format to reflect about the learning that happens during your CILO time – Such a powerful way to share ideas too!

    Keep it up Keeler!

  7. You know when you work on all the other *stuff* and feel like you’re not focusing in enough on what really matters? I’ve felt like that lately. Working on technology and keep-up work so I don’t fall behind. Anyway, today brought me back into the world I actually care about: Teaching and Learning!

    I worked with the grade 4s and discussed the Wiki project. We talked about authentic audiences, and sharing our blog in different spheres whether it’s the classroom, the school, the community or the world (exciting news: Our Wiki is being used as an exemplar for 2 other schools in area 3!).

    I then went upstairs and met up with the grade 5s to discuss our Lego City project, shared student work, and talked about how technology could enhance the project. A couple teachers went home with iPads to play and to continue thinking about the good work!

    Across the hall I met up with the grade 1 team who are excited about starting a science unit called “Building Things”. I’m excited for this – it really helps give me guidance in Learning Commons time, and I think it will turn into some team teaching situations in the Commons!

    Another advantage of this CILO time seems to be morale: I feel like I got my “teaching-swagger” back and am ready to dive into some exciting PBL work with some AWESOME teachers!

  8. Mike, Terra, Tammy and Kathy says:

    This afternoon everything was explained!

    Mike showed us an app on iPads – Explain Everything!

    Terra, Kathy and Tammy made many many purposeful uses of this app to be used by students. We modify, we integrate, we personalize. We even save paper! Terra can’t wait to use the app with her struggling readers. Kathy can’t wait to use the app for her Social Studies project. Tammy can’t wait to use the app with her reading group.

    Grade five’s were very busy with the ongoing planning for the creation of a Lego City math project, how Canada was populated and using the expertise of the learning commons to make it all happen.

    • Hey other teachers at Keeler who may be wondering about the “Explain Everything” app that Sushko is talking about up there, I wrote a blog about it with some ideas connecting it with different levels of Blooms Taxonomy. Of course only use it if it enhances your lessons and ideas! Come and talk to me (or the grade 5 team 😉 if you’d like to play around with it!

  9. Grade Four says:

    The grade four team met with Mike in the Learning Commons to review our Wiki regions project and keynote presentations that students are currently working towards completing. We created, edited and added additional information to the Wiki letters that will be going home with students. As a team we also examined our assessment tools and developed a final peer and self-assessment checklist that includes two stars and a wish. Students will work on completing eight different peer assessments and then they will complete a self-assessment. The grade four team also investigated possible curriculum connections between literacy, science and art, through a group project. Students will be creating advertisements based on waste in our world and the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling. They will use recordings, pictures, cartoons and slideshows to help create storyboards for their advertisements. They will write a script, and present their work at school wide assemblies. The grade four team will continue to work on developing a peer and self-assessment tool for this project.

  10. Claire Matheson says:

    This afternoon, the grade ones discussed our observations from our visit at Penbrooke Meadows. We are now planning to extend our use of bullseye rubrics into our practice. Our focus with the rubrics is for students to become more self-aware, and to become more realistic and honest in the evaluation of their work. Students will now be using a bullseye rubric for their everyday independent writing and math activities, as well as cross-curricular activities.
    The grade one team will also be meeting with Mike to develop some creative and novel projects to work on during Learning Commons time.

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