Blog Post 1

I am Alison Zimmer. I have been a teacher for 10 years. I have moved from being a teacher on call, to multiple part time teaching jobs, onto teaching a range of kindergarten to Grade 4. In teaching from primary up to Grade 4 I have been able to understand what students need to learn to be successful. My move to Grade 4 has raised many questions as the focus moves away from decoding while reading into comprehension. My colleagues have mentioned the goal is to teach students the tools, such as speech to text and text to speech, to move past the struggle of decoding and onto conveying the comprehension. This raises questions such as, is it too early to give up decoding, and should we really be relying on technology for everything for these students? How will this serve them when they move into the work force? I also as a parent am aware of the effects of looking at a screen for longer periods of time and know that many of my students spend hours staring at their screens after school and wonder if we should steer away from this process until later grades.

In my personal classroom I use a number of technologies. We work with Google Classroom, where I post links to different research projects. We use Google Docs in order to create written pieces. The students can use speech to text, and text to speech on any of the Chromebooks. I have worked with SeeSaw, where I often upload math games and projects. We just finished using Cospaces to code a math escape room. We have used Kahoot to test comprehension skills in literature we are covering.

Kirkwood and Price (2013) talk about two types of teaching one having a teaching-focus conceptions meaning the teacher conveys the teachings, and the other being learning-focused, being the students’ develop their understandings. This aligns with my views as we move into a world where the teacher is not the one with all the knowledge; it is my belief that the teacher is the one to guild the learner to and through the knowledge. I have noticed students struggle to find reliable sources and are often lost in the internet.

Education has moved away from the one-size-fits-all model to more personalized learning where disadvantaged learners may have support developed for their benefit (FitzGerald, et al. 2018). Technology has been a great help because it has taken some of the jobs teachers do such as reading to students and helping students with spelling and given that ability to students to be successful. However, at Grade 4 students are just learning these skills and it can be very overwhelming for the teacher and the students to work through this process. While technology is a great help it is important to keep in mind that while people created technology it also has shaped humans (Chen, et.al., 1999). In teaching 9 and 10 year olds, I often question whether it is too early to let technology shape students reading, and writing patterns. I question whether students need another year of being able to use their own minds in order to learn these skills.

My research questions are:

  1. When do you introduce technology to enhance/support personalized learning?
  2. Does the technology take away from the process of learning skills or does it add to it?

References:

FitzGerald, E., Jones, A., Kucirkova, N., & Scanlon, E. (2018). A literature synthesis of    personalised technology-enhanced learning: what works and why. Research in Learning       Technology, 26(2095), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v26.2095

Chen, A. Y., Mashhadi, A., Ang, D., & Harkrider, N. (1999, December 16). Cultural issues in the            design of technology‐enhanced learning systemsBritish Journal of Educational         Technology, 30(3), 217– https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8535.00111

 

Kirkwood, A., & Price, L. (2013, June 4). Examining some assumptions and limitations of            research on the effects of emerging technologies for teaching and learning in higher            educationBritish Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4), 536–543. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12049

One comment

  1. Hi Alison, while I’ve never taught English at that grade level, I can understand your concern about the move from incomplete decoding skills. I suspect that significant personal reading is rarer than a couple of decades ago, and is probably found mostly with students at no risk of falling behind.

    Your research questions are good though you may need to refine them as you make your way through the literature.

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