My Professional Learning Community
Though there are many valuable resources through apps and online, the resource I use primarily to support my teaching is to follow educators on Instagram. Not only does the Instagram community have an enormous following, which means an almost unlimited amount of resources, it also is valuable in many other ways. One of the best aspects of instagram is the way you can filter what you want to find. You can search for specific things by using hashtags, locations or usernames and then tag and save them into collections on your page based on content. This organizes your ideas so you can go back and find them quickly. Not only does Instagram allow you to search and save pictures that have valuable information to you, but users can also link out to websites and other instagram pages to let you know where you need to go for more information or to purchase different items. This app has been very helpful in creating a place for my teaching ideas in an efficient way.
On Instagram I follow two different Elementary School Teachers; Joanne Miller’s page called headoverheelsforteaching and Shaunda Wasik’s page called upperelementaryadventures. Along with instagram, both teachers have other forms of sharing information. Mrs. Miller has a blog with extensions to the ideas she posts on Instagram. Her blog is filled with different activities and lesson ideas that she outlines and provides pictures of her and her classroom doing. The topics cover everything from classroom management, core subjects, organization, building community and technology.
Mrs. Wasik has a Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) site where she sells and gives out free downloads of different materials she creates. These materials include classroom posters, lessons, templates and mini units of activities. Her creations include voice level charts, fraction passports, editable parent teacher conference forms, reading response templates and many more. All of her ideas are aesthetically pleasing and have a clear format for both students learning and teacher instruction.
Along with her TPT site, she also has a Linkedin profile that organizes and links her classroom ideas to other teachers and websites where she got them. Some of the websites she has linked out include Amazon for classroom products and a site called Create.Wonder.Movie. for students to create their own face as a poster with a quote on it after or before watching the movie “Wonder.”
Both of these educators have creative and fun ways to include technology and engaging activities into the classroom. Without this social media platform (Instagram) I would have been able to see their ideas. Instagram is a great way to find resources and promotes my professional development as an educator by continually filing my feed with exciting new content that I will be able to use in my own classroom one day.
Topic of Technology
The use of technology has always been an interesting conversation to have when paired with education. There are many people who have different opinions about if or how technology should be used within the classroom setting. After browsing the internet for what teachers are saying about the role of technology, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the majority of responses positively viewed some form of technology integration. On the CogniFit Health, Brain & Neuroscience website, an article was produced titled “Technology in the Classroom:What Do Teachers Think?” written by Rupinder Bajwa. This article asked two different teachers about their thoughts on the advantages of technology in the classroom. One teacher stated, “I think the use of technology is beneficial as we live in a technological age, it is important to incorporate technology into education. It can speed up tasks that without technology may take longer, e.g. when giving out sheets to students to read from this can easily be accessed via an iPad.” Another teacher agreed and expressed, “I believe that technology can be a great asset in the classroom when planned thoroughly and with appropriate programs. Technology is such a large part of our culture today that I feel we would be serving the children an injustice to not give them opportunities to explore technology. However, as children access so much technology at home it’s also important that teachers keep their skills updated to ensure that we can extend children’s current knowledge. Another aspect to be mindful of within technology in the classroom is that children should be learning from it; it should not be a tool to keep them busy.”
Though I personally see many positive uses for technology integration in the classroom throughout all subjects, I do agree with this teacher that technology should not be used to keep children busy, but as a learning tool. It makes me wonder if some teachers are depending too heavily on technology to teach students the information they should be teaching. Incorporating technology can be an amazing asset to a classroom but within guidance and structure, it may become more of a distraction.