In module 2, my journey of developing as a digitally aware teacher was expedited through research work.
According to the viewpoint of Wiggins and McTighe (2004), initially investing time, research and planning help increase the productivity of teaching and learning in long term. I designed my programme plan keeping it aligned with Primary Grade 1 English Curriculum attainment targets to achieve expected learning outcomes. I explored “Backward design” (Wiggins and McTighe, 2004), which is also called backward planning to develop my programme plan. I have focused on achieving specific learning goals of English Curriculum for Grade 1 by keeping the learners’ needs and mental capabilities in mind;, I started with the objectives of unit plan that my learners were expected to learn and be able to do—and then proceeded “backward” to create lessons that achieve those desired goal. I prioritised providing an adjustable level of challenge in the lessons to develop learners as digitally competent; hence it was important for me to keep learners’ capabilities and interests also in mind while selecting the digital tools for my lessons. I am now aware of that digital technology should be used to increase access to learning opportunities for all learners. Therefore, I have designed the programme plan providing options of working with different apps and online tools matched to learners’ abilities; hence also catering to opportunities for collaboration and creativity. My lessons were supported by digital and non-digital formative assessment tools like checklists, Google forms, podcasted feedback, Kahoot and Plickers to gather data and identify areas where learners are excelling and struggling to alter lesson planning to meet the needs of all learners.
I also ensured that learning activities in my lessons actively involve learners in the learning process. Henceforth, lessons were incorporated with evaluation tools like Padlet wall, Google forms, Exit tickets, Edmodo quizzes, Notebooks reflections and post it notes, Kahoot, Quizizz and Survey Monkey to get an idea of what my learners think in order to modify lessons if required.Edmodo platform was used to strengthen relationships among parents, learners and myself. I realized technology is more effective for learning when adults and peers interact with each other.
In this regard, data of learners’ profiles helped me to plan lessons that are inclusive and catering to their learning styles. Henceforth, as a teacher it was important to understand that planning begins with the learning outcome and the tools selected should consider the learning process. (CIE Resource: Planning and Designing Learning, 2014).
Keeping the essentials of teaching and learning in mind; the programme plan was structured with different teaching methods to ensure learners’ conceptual development in order to achieve the learning objectives. Inclusion held a vital role in the programme plan, hence; I tried to focus on inclusive classroom teaching to meet the individual needs of my learners, and to help them overcome any barriers that may prevent them from reaching their potential (Walker and Logan, 2009).My learners worked well in groups in Module 1, therefore I ensured to plan activities where students were able to work with their peers to complete a given task. In module 2, I have considered certain factors while designing a learning activity to facilitate my learners achieve the learning objectives; such as evaluating digital tools, revising layout of classroom and by creating different working stations for learners, arranging reading corner etc. In this module, I explored TPACK model which helped me focus on effective blending of technology with content and teaching strategy to shape up my programme plan. The cycle of Technological-Pedagogical-and Content Knowledge work together and build on one another to create excellent teaching practice and in turn, learners’ learning improvises (Koehler and Mishra, 2009) like in one of the lessons learners were introduced to effects of pollution on the environment, they did shared reading of the article on the same topic uploaded on Edmodo as pre-lesson task, on Edmodo- learners then prepared a Google Slide presentation on defining the effects of pollution and ways to control it.
They were given choices to insert images, charts, videos, tables etc to present an interactive presentation. I selected the used technologies applying SAMR model which enabled me to consider the learning outcome to be transformational with the appropriate and seamless integration of digital tools. The SAMR model made me focus on integrating the digital tools effectively and use them purposefully. In order to achieve the planned learning objectives, engagement of learners in meaningful digital tasks was considered; I believe if learners stay more active in the lesson structure and purposeful digital activities then teacher does not need to waste time in monitoring disruption from learners during the lessons. I ensured to follow an effective criteria to obtain learners’ productivity in my lessons; to achieve this, I facilitated my learners to keep all required resources and available in the classroom and easily approachable for their convenience. It is essential to plan effective use of digital tools by appropriate selection in order to redefine the role of digital tools to foster collaboration and creativity and cater higher order thinking skills of learners. I have also provided reasonable variety of online web tools with digital autonomy.
As per my research, compatibility of digital technologies is also important for smooth functioning and to avoid technology failures during the lessons; keeping this in mind I made sure to update my classroom environment with all the requirements such as internet speed, durability of wiring and all connections (Teacher Solutions, 2017). In one of my lessons I substituted a story writing task by replacing the pencil and paper to an online digital story creation tool “abcya.com/animate”, the activity was augmented further and learners supported their text to convey the message of “importance of their role in saving the environmentby using the tools to draw inside the frame, with the ability to arrange parts, change size, create backgrounds and inserted shapes , they saved the finished document as .gif file to be re-opened at any time. To modify their creative works, their digital stories were uploaded on Edmodo to be reviewed and feedback was received by parents, teachers and students. Lastly, to redefine, learners presented their digital animated stories on Multimedia Projector.
I have prioritised to select appropriate digital tools to achieve the learning outcomes of my lessons. It helped me to streamline the lesson plans and plan challenging tasks for learners using same technologies innovatively in my classroom such as different online digital storytelling tools, Plickers and Vocaroo as digital assessment tools. I discovered and used a variety of digital online tools, websites and apps to provide a rich exposure to myself and learners to get maximum benefit out of it. Over a period of time, I have become a frequent Google search user since it is a challenge to stay updated about the latest technologies for classroom teachings. I used Symbaloo to start my lessons, it is a customizable bookmarking tool I used to keep all required websites on one tiled page that saved my time and lessons went smoothly. One of my focuses was being innovative in choosing the digital technology to ensure that it will enhance the planned learning.
My learners experienced a variety of online tools for creating digital stories such as storyjumper.com, abcya.com/animation and mystorybook.com which helped them enhance their writing skills supported with images, narrative podcast, selecting animations to portray the theme of pollution. The digital assessment tools like Plickers, Quizizz, Vocaroo (podcasting tool), Kahoot, Popplet and Padlet wall enhanced the reflective skills of my learners since they used different digital tools to share their reflections.
To keep my lessons inclusive; I made sure to plan activities with pairs, trios and small groups, in this regard the availability and accessibility of Netbooks and tablets facilitated learners to help their partners and to attempt tasks collaboratively on online web tools like digital story making, Google slides, podcasting feedback, and animated slideshow presentations on storyjumper, ABCYa.com, Buncee EDU and mystorybook.com, annotating through iAnnotation, scanning QR codes and watching videos. Multimedia projector was a powerful digital resource which I frequently used to give lesson demonstrations, videos and energisers and for sharing learners’ finished works. Edmodo online platform helped in bridging the gap between parents, as sharing the pre-lesson tasks kept the learners as well as parents engaged in keeping their children updated about theme, my learners were benefited with this online platform since I used it for posting quizzes, feedback forms, worksheets and online reading material about effects of pollution, types of pollution, posters of 3Rs.
As a reflective practitioner learners’ feedback played a vital role in evaluating lessons, I have taken feedback from my learners using several non-digital and digital tools like post it notes, Plickers, Quizizz, Vocaroo, Kahoot, Popplet and Padlet wall and survey forms. These assessment tools supported in reviewing my teaching strategies after each lesson; In few lessons I have modified to specify the questions, since the language and formation of questions needed to be reshaped. I tried to prioritise my learners’ choices, in most of the lessons they opted the learning activities according to their choice for instance conducting energisers when they requested during the lesson. Learners were taking more time due to slow internet speed during few lessons, yet I managed to provide 4G Wi-Fi device for better speed, I reviewed the selected websites and removed advertisements since the ads during the digital activity on netbooks distracted learners as they shared in feedback. In the first few lessons mostly learners were consuming more time and were not able to accomplish tasks on time, hence I decided to allot specific time for activities to improve learners’ speed of work. It is more important to gather data of quality feedback , after each lesson I reviewed my learners’ feedback (digital and non-digital) which enabled me to rethink about tweaking lessons such as; I allotted appropriate time to activities, increased question time during recap sessions, encouraging to share their responses turn wise to involve all learners.