Blog #5 –Module 6
Developing ICT Skills and Pedagogy: Hands-On Learning & Networking
This week's post is centred around developing and maintaining Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills. Specifically, it highlights opportunities, resources and networks that I have experienced and established in my role as a teacher librarian.
ICT is constantly changing and improving, which can both be exciting and challenging for educators as they balance the curricular needs with new technology integration. The following is a quote from UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning:“Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can impact student learning when teachers are digitally literate and understand how to integrate it into curriculum. When teachers are digitally literate and trained to use ICT, these approaches can lead to higher order thinking skills, provide creative and individualized options for students to express their understandings, and leave students better prepared to deal with ongoing technological change in society and the workplace.”
This emphasizes the importance of ICT skills, but how do we as professionals best learn and teach these skills? There are so many possibilities, and not an abundance of time. How does one figure out where to start? Which ICT tools and strategies are best to try and potentially implement? Who do you turn to with questions, queries, or technical issues?
Networking and ProD...
Networking with other teachers to share ideas and learn from each other is a great start.
An article discussing the importance of teachers networking with each other in education states “Establishing a professional learning network for teachers is especially important, as it helps educators expand their influence beyond the classroom, share curricula, and acquire new teaching strategies. Educators network in person at annual teaching conferences, or build digital partnerships online using both networking sites and education-specific social media tools.” As we recognize the importance of ICT skills, and the rapid evolution of tools, networking through ProD opportunities and on social media becomes an increasingly useful for us. (Writers, 2019)
Luckily for me, I am surrounded by many colleagues in my district who are proponents of ICT, and who are willing to share their skills. My school district is very keen to offer a variety of learning opportunities in this area, including weekend learning sessions, with expert teachers that offer hands-on learning experiences. There are also many in-service days, with release time offered, and some funding available. What's even more valuable in this experience is that many of the same teachers attend these sessions so we really get to know each other and are better able to connect school-school.
In recent years, we have had numerous learning sessions with a coding and design thinking focus. I've been offered hands-on learning experiences for: scratch, swift playground, and the design thinking model. From one session I was able to share my learning with an intermediate teacher and co-plan a project using the design thinking model from Taking Making Into Classrooms.
Just a few weeks ago we had a two-day in-service sponsored by our School District, Open Source Lab, Merge Virtual Reality, actua, and ita/youth discover.
"Enjoy, present, share and Learn"- OpenSourceLab. This resource was shared with all us who attended.
The learning from this session was extensive. I'm going to share more in depth some of the ICT skills that were presented to us during this time, as they were excellent and show some of the amazing ICT skills and ProD our district is working on together:
Ø Tinkercad and 3D printing: It's a design tool that connects to 3D printing, where students aged Kindergarten and up can manipulate and reshape 3D shapes. It becomes more complex with imagination and increased ability level.
Check out the video below
Ø Micro:bit: This allows students to code, customize and control a micro:bit for many creative purposes. Our session focused on using Makercode to access micro:bit for beginning learning.
Ø An overview of Minecraft Edu: Here students are able to collaborate with creative ideas in virtual space. In our session, we were able to see the construction of a Coast Salish First Nations village, which not only thoroughly engaged students but also provided many cross-curricular options.
Ø CoSpaces and Merge: Using CoSpaces students can make 3D creations, then code to animate them into augmented or virtual reality. Below is a picture of one of our presenters using CoSpaces and a Merge cube. I was lucky enough to be able to take a Merge Cube and goggles back to my school for students and staff to explore.
This is was created during our learning session. (Pic credit @CowichanSchool)
The official Cospaces website
Using the Merge Cube
Ø AR Makr: Is a virtual reality creation tool where students can sketch, scan and snap anything around them, which can then be transformed from into 3D objects. We used this with keynote.
Here is an additional resource from Kurt Kynen, which outlines AR Makr with Keynote.
This is a video created by a colleague during our session with AR Makr and Keynote: (click link to twitter feed) @ZibinDarcie
Image and Video from @ZibinDarcie
In addition to district offered Pro D, our local teacher library association, which is supported by our DRC (district resource centre) meets monthly. We participate in collaborative learning grants and work together to share ideas and teach each other technology that we are using.
This is an example of a pamphlet we put together as a group to share with our staff:
(Created by SD#79 Librarian Association)
Social media has become a go-to resource for me, especially after connecting more with teachers through ProD. I currently use facebook, pinterest and twitter to seek and exchange ideas and experiences. I'm networking through facebook with a teacher librarian group based out of the USA, which is giving me many good ideas and is a good sharing platform. Twitter has proven extremely useful for me to strengthen and develop skills and ideas around ICT.
Finally, I want to include Science World as both a resource for ICT skills and ProD opportunities.
It is my goal to attend a program for educators that Science World hosts over the summer. I was registered last year but was unfortunately unable to attend. Colleagues in the district speak very highly of this conference, which provides hands-on learning experiences as well as tangible and virtual resources for school use. There are many ideas and resources to explore on the science world website.