Standard #11 Technology Standards for Teachers – (NETS-T*)/2 Artifacts

Artifact #2: Teacher Interviews

Description: “Interview a current K-12 teacher on a variety of topics whose class you are currently observing, have observed, or a teacher that you have had. There will be five topics during the semester. Students must get in depth with the teacher, have multiple sentence answers, and reflection on what the teacher has said in relation to what we have learned/read in class.”

Teacher/School: Amanda Martin/Dayton Consolidated School, Dayton, Maine. 

Question #1: How have you used technology to create powerful learning opportunities for your students?

We use technology often for whole class instruction and for independent work. I use Google Classroom a lot! It gives students a home base for resources and directions, and helps them be self-sufficient. I have a teacher page that has helpful links on it, such as Google Classroom and links to games and videos for personalized learning. I have also used Kahoot, the iPad to project, and other Google resources, to name just a few more!

Question #2: What are some logistical concerns to using technology in your classroom? How have you handled some of these and what barriers do you encounter?

In the beginning of the year, we didn’t have enough computers for all 4th graders, so scheduling days to use the computers when the other class wasn’t was challenging sometimes. BUT, now we have enough, and every 4th grader is assigned a laptop! Initially, getting students used to using technology efficiently is time consuming. Monitoring all computers at once can also be a challenge. Directions are not always followed. We have a “Standard Operating Procedure” that all classes are expected to follow, and we have a plan in place when laptops are not use appropriately.

Question #3: How do you use technology to support differentiation in your classroom?

I use News ELA and other online reading resources. They have leveled texts that are great for differentiation in the classroom. All students can read the same article but can adjust the level based on their ability. I can assign the same article for both 4th and 5th grade but can change the level to fit each grade. Some students also utilize the “voice to text” feature while typing. Some articles have the option to read the text for the student. I also encourage audiobooks for students to take a mental break from reading themselves, as long as they follow along with the text.

Question #4: How do you use technology to aid in assessment of student learning?

Google Classroom helps monitor progress and growth of writing about reading and constructed responses. STAR testing helps us make action plans for students who are below grade level, and it also helps us monitor their plan. The whole school inputs a lot of data on sheets such as MEA scores, STAR scores, reading levels, writing grades, reading and math learning progression levels, etc.

Question #5: How do you use technology for classroom management? Communication with parents?

I post classroom events on my teacher page for parents to see. I also email individual parents with need to know information about their child. Mass emails about upcoming events or reminders are sent home to my homeroom families when needed also. Occasionally phone calls are made, but emails are my usual means of communication.

Reflection:

After conducting this interview, I have noticed how much technology being used in the classroom has changed over the years. When I was in Elementary School, technology was rarely used. We would designate one day to go to the Computer Lab, specifically on Fridays, and only have about an hour in the lab. In every classroom that I have done Fieldwork in, I have notice that technology is being used more and more. Teachers and educators are now relying on using technology in their classroom and enforce their students to use it as well.

This semester, I am doing my Fieldwork at Dayton Consolidated School in Dayton, Maine. I am working with a 4th/5th grade Reading teacher, Amanda Martin. In this interview I asked her questions about using technology in her classroom and she was very responsive. She uses technology in her classroom a majority of the time and thinks that it is beneficial for her students to be able to use technology.

Technology is extremely beneficial when students are working independently and can self-instruct. Students can work on games and activities pertaining to the topics and the teacher can multitask. Technology allows for students to step outside the box when it comes to learning. It allows them to be flexible and achieve higher learning.

Educators do need to remember that this may not work for all of their students. This may pose as a distraction rather than positive tool in the classroom. It is up to the educator to take control and make this decision based on learning expectations and the level of learning that each student is at and what they need to obtain.

Teacher/School: Sandy Trask/Dayton Consolidated School, Dayton, Maine.

Question #1: How have you used technology to create powerful learning opportunities for your students?

In Miss Trask’s 4th/5th grade writing classroom, she incorporates Google Classroom and Flip Pals in her classroom. Google Classroom is a way for teachers and students to be able to interact with one another. Miss Trask is able to customize her lessons and virtually share it with her students directly from her devise. Miss Trask can easily make changes to her lesson and even collaborate with other teachers in the process. Miss Trask is also able to automatically grade her students’ assignments and provide feedback instantly. This is a good way for both parents and teachers to stay connected with their students and children. Flip Grid allows teachers to personalize their lesson by creating a grid and a message board for their students. Flip Grid is full of different animations and can be both fun and creative. Each one of Miss Trask’s students have access to their own personal laptop with their own logins. Students are able to customize their laptops and use them for classwork through the school year. Students are also able to access Google Classroom and Flip Pals from their computers at home using a simple login code.

Question #2: What are some logistical concerns to using technology in your classroom? How have you handled some of these and what barriers do you encounter?

When students are working independently, they have the freedom to access all different types of things on the internets. Students have found ways to “break codes,” enable private browsing and even come up with their own shortcuts. Students are able to send messages anonymously directly to the teacher. Since then, Miss Trask has been receiving inappropriate messages that could be considered to be offensive. Students think that because they have this type of freedom that they can do whatever they want, but Miss Trask has to enforce that this is not okay. Students need to be aware that there will be punishments if they take advantage of using technology in the classroom.

Question #3: How do you use technology to support differentiation in your classroom?

In the classroom, Miss Trask allows the students to sit in different places in the classroom to meet students’ needs. Some students work on their assignments at their desks, on the floor, in comfy chairs, etc. Since students are working on mobile, they don’t need to worry about sitting at a desk. Each student has different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning. Students also work at different paces and levels. Some students have difficulty with writing and grammar. By using resources such as Microsoft Word, students are able to type out words and spell check is also available at their exposure.

Question #4: How do you use technology to aid in assessment of student learning?

With Google Classroom, Miss Trask can grade her student’s work directly on their assignment and insert comments giving her own personal feedback. Students also have the opportunity to respond to Miss Trask’s comments if they have their own questions or concerns.

Question #5: How do you use technology for classroom management? Communication with parents?

Parents can automatically stay involved with their students learning and log on to Google Classroom anytime. Most parents are actually very pleased with these new forms of technology because paperwork is often hard to keep up with. Students also like using excuses such as “I forgot my homework,” or, “I thought I submitted it.” With technology, it is all accessible and in one place, making chaos organized chaos.

Reflection:

For the second teacher interview, I interviewed one of Amanda Martin’s colleagues from Dayton Consolidated School. Sandy Trask is a 4th/5th grade writing teacher and her and Miss Martin often collaborate together. On the first day that I attended fieldwork at Dayton Consolidated School, Miss Martin was out sick with the flu. Miss Trask allowed me to stay in her classroom and observe since I had already made the drive down. Her students were very welcoming and were enthusiastic about having another set of helping hands. When I first walked into the classroom, I instantly noticed how they were using technology. Each student had their own personal computer and were working on an independent writing activity. Each student was able to work at his or her own pace and Miss Trask walked around the classroom, monitoring her students. If they had questions, they would ask Miss Trask or me, and we would assist them to the best of our ability.

The use of technology has certainly changed drastically since I was in Elementary/Middle School. These children are extremely smart and handy with the computers. The students would show the teachers different ways to use the search engine. One student even showed Miss Trask and me a way to go into “private browsing.” Students were also able to send anonymous messages to one another—although this is a negative aspect of using technology. Miss Trask brought up a concern to me when students began using technology in a negative way. Miss Trask was receiving unappreciated messages from students, an issue she wanted to resolve as soon as possible. This is a perfect example of how technology can be used negatively in the classroom.

I was extremely impressed in how engaged these students were. Each and every student was motivated and excited to show off what they had been working on. The students were working on writing prompts and sending their work directly to Miss Trask. The classroom setting was flexible, and teachers were able to customize student’s learning based on their level of reading, writing, and even using math skills.

Overall, I think that Miss Trask has a good grip when dealing with technology in the classroom. Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, but Miss Trask is an older teacher and is still picking up on the technology lingo. Miss Trask works with her fellow teachers, in which they often collaborate on new ideas for their students. I believe that Miss Trask and Miss Martin are amazing educators and should be praised for incorporating technology in their classroom.

Teacher/School: Andrew Young/Biddeford Primary School, Biddeford, Maine.

Question #1: How have you used technology to create powerful learning opportunities for your students?

Mr. Young tries to integrate the use of technology as much as he can in all subject areas. There are many high-quality resources that meet the criteria of what he is trying to teach, while delivering instruction in an engaging way for his students. With the increase of personalized learning in the district, the technology component has been a great asset. It is always a popular option for the students to practice their learning.

Question #2: What are some logistical concerns to using technology in your classroom? How have you handled some of these and what barriers do you encounter?

The biggest logistical concern is the number of devices that Mr. Young has available at any given time. Mr. Young has 6 Chromebooks and 5 Kindle tablets in his room at all times. Biddeford Primary School shares a cart of 21 Chromebooks for each grade that must be signed out ahead of time. Close second is the time it takes students to learn to use the program. There have been times when the technicalities of logging in or finding the right webpage takes too much time out of our learning.

Question #3: How do you use technology to support differentiation in your classroom?

Many programs today are wonderful at giving the teacher data. From this information, Mr. Young can differentiate other lessons and activities that surround that particular standard in other areas of his teaching. Further, most of these programs will automatically differentiate for the user the more he or she uses it.

Question #4: How do you use technology to aid in assessment of student learning?

75% of the technology used in Mr. Young’s classroom connects to the students’ personalized learning goals. Based on the data provided to Mr. Young by each student, he can factor the work in as a means of what the child can do independently at the mastery level. This is a very quick, efficient, non-threatening way to see what the student has learned or what they continue to struggle with.

Question #5: How do you use technology for classroom management? Communication with parents?

Mr. Young has been a huge fan of class Dojo for about two years now. Mr. Young’s students enjoy earning points each day and it really helps them stay accountable for their behaviors. Mr. Young has developed a rubric based on our Classroom Code of Conduct. A score is put into Dojo based on this rubric daily, so parents can see how their child did. The entire class reflects on these scores the following morning during our morning meeting. Parents will typically respond to or send Mr. Young messages through Dojo a lot faster than they would through email or phone. Mr. Young believes there is a certain comfort level with the texting aspect that this program provides and make his students and their parents connected to the modern world.

Reflection:

For the 3rd and final teacher interview, I decided to interview a previous teacher that I conducted Fieldwork with—Mr. Andrew Young. Mr. Young is a third-grade teacher at Biddeford Primary School in Biddeford, Maine. During the times that I spend in his classroom, the students would be working on reading, writing, and grammar. With the assistance from myself and two other teacher aides, Mr. Young was able to get the best possible resources for his classroom. Mr. Young’s classroom was an inclusion classroom, meaning students who have difficulty with learning can still be placed in a general classroom setting. Mr. Young had students with ADHD, behavioral problems, and high-functioning Autism. With being in such a diverse classroom, differentiation is extremely important, and technology is essential to have an effective classroom.

Mr. Young relies heavily on technology, especially when he has a large number of students in his classroom. Students can work independently which Mr. Young is working one on one with his students. Mr. Young’s students are very “tech savvy,” and enjoy working independently, although sometimes it can be a distracting. Students are very involved in technology and are very familiar with the routine of using technology.

What I like about Mr. Young’s classroom is that he uses technology and solid material. Mr. Young not only uses technology, but he also incorporates different teaching styles in the classroom. This is important because sometimes teachers forget to do this. Technology is a lesson booster, students should still be reading hardcover books and be able to use a pen and paper to complete assignments.

Mr. Young is very on point when communicating with his students’ parents. Mr. Young encourages parent involvement and Dojo makes that possible. It is essential for parents and teachers to communicate to ensure the best possible success for the student. Mr. Young is one of the best teachers that I have completed Fieldwork with. I became very close with his students, making it extremely difficult to say goodbye!

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