Over a week ago we launched this year’s SCIT (Skills and Curriculum Integration of Technology), a district program to support teachers on their journey of integrating technologies in their classrooms. All I can say is ‘wow, what an excited, dynamic group of risk-taker learners’! We started off with an introduction to QR (Quick Response) codes to share about ourselves, ending with a discussion of how it might be used in classes or by teachers. Then it was off to explore a variety of software tools – a “dabble in the sandbox” meant to start the juices flowing. This helped to refine what we wanted to go deeper. Naturally all this discovery started a host of great questions (What does this do? How does this connect with my curriculum? How can I organize the learning process so I go deep? How do I evaluate this? What’s beyond the tool?…)
The reflection piece was/is an important part of the journey, which we created online through the use of individual class blogs. Some folks were rather new to blogs while others were ‘old hands at it’. By the end of the year, we’ll have a reflective portfolio, not only of our thinking processes but also practical tips of “how to lessons” for our classes. (*The portfolio concept can also be used with students on their digital literacy journey.)
Friday was our province’s PSA Day – a day where teachers attend conferences, workshops, learning of their choice to further their professional understanding. I was thrilled to work in a room packed with bloggers (beginner-jump starters; intermediate and advanced) all working and sharing their ideas. A little frazzled at one point and recognizing I couldn’t possibly help everyone, I was thrilled when teachers started leaning over to each other or across the way to help one another and share how they were using their blog platforms. Sciences people found themselves and had great conversations about how they taught and in turn were pushed to see their practice in a different way. Primary teachers stood up over their computers to listen to chats and shared their questions – which provided more food for thought. We had folks from our secondary formative assessment team who shared their continued attempts at supporting students’ growth in self assessment. Many times, conversations wove around what strategies/approaches and resources could be used to go to the next level of deep questioning and critical thinking.
These ad hoc conversations are so precious as we never seem to get the time out of our classrooms or offices to have them (so focused are we on our students). Yet it is these days of formal/informal chats that help us to develop new ways of thinking or give us the impetus to challenge ourselves to go deeper and further.
There really are no words that fully describe what we experienced and I wished it for every educator out in the world. What I’m reminded is this: we have an incredible group of teachers dedicated to searching out wise practices and not settling for ‘status quo’. It was indeed a privilege to be a part of the energy – I learned so much – THANK YOU ALL!