On the last day of last term, my school held a K-12 Biggest Morning Tea. During this time I saw many older students whom I had once taught. My very first year 5 group of students are currently in year 11. Next term will see them going for year 12 leadership positions and starting the treadmill that is year 12, their final year of formal schooling. It still seems like only yesterday that I taught them, yet when we passed in the playground what I saw were mature, confident young women, not little girls. Last night I was thinking about the changes I have witnessed in those six short years and wondering what I might witness in the next six.
Picture this, six years ago I had five or six laptops in a little work space I shared with the other year five class next door. I mainly remember using them to publish work using the Microsoft suite, creating Power Points and Photo Stories. I can still remember the excitement when I taught my class how to create graphs using Excel. Mind you I also remember that their main Antarctic assessment task was to hand draw and hand write a poster about an Antarctic animal. These posters were then sent home for their parents to enjoy. Many lessons involved worksheets and they used a math text book, which we worked through a page at a time. Homework meant more worksheets and no queries were answered out of school hours, as we had no edmodo or email. Assessment tasks were mainly done as individuals and marked on an A to E scale. And all work ended up in books. My memories are fading but I do know though that my classroom was a happy place with laughter and learning at its core.
Today my classroom is still a happy one filled with laughter and learning. The computer pod has gone as my students have their own laptops. They do still occasionally publish work and create Power Points yet they are just as likely to use Glogster or Prezi or one of the many myriad of presentation programs available to them. Once finished these presentations are usually uploaded to their personal blogs for the world to enjoy. Homework is mostly conducted on-line and they are more likely to use google docs or primary pad than word. Edmodo and email mean the length of their school day is whatever they make of it and queries can be answered by myself or more likely their peers, whenever they need help. Maths lessons are planned to run from my Smartboard and individualised using links and videos. Yes, they do still occasionally use a worksheet but never a text book and more likely a set of playing cards or dice. Most assessment tasks involve choice as well as technology and many are group tasks. No grades are given out, so that they learn to focus on the comment and aim for improvement however good they may already be. Although some work ends up in books the use of student blogs means that increasingly their writing is read by a wider audience that their parents.
So many changes in such a short space of time. Luckily I love change and I thrive with the challenge of keeping up and learning with my students. Increasing technology has meant I have adapted and changed the way I teach and the way I learn in immeasurable ways. I can’t wait for the next six years, can you?
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