BlogPost: Observing Classroom Technology Use

Observing my students:

What software applications and hardware are students using in the classroom?

In my PST classroom, students have access to their individual school issued ipad. Students do not take their school ipad home, but leave them at school overnight in the ipad cart. This ensures all students will have access to technology in the classroom, and school provided technology can always be allotted for and kept track of as it stays in the classroom cart. The teacher does not assign homework or activities that require technology, so all students are able to complete homework assignments whether or not they have access to their own technology device or a shared device at home. In this classroom, students use several software applications to enhance their learning: Epic, Seesaw, Lexia, and Wren. These electronic websites and softwares are mostly used during student centers and individualized student work time.

Describe what the students are doing with the technology that you identified.

During centers and individualized work times, students work on Epic, Seesaw, and Lexia to further their learning. On Epic, students have access to a wide range of texts that serve as guided readers, where there is an ability for the text to be read to them. This is a great resource for my students who need support and assistance reading texts, as each student can be helped on their own individual level through the software purpose and website. On Seesaw, students can engage with teacher assigned activities that allow them to use various resources to further their learning of topics and concepts already taught and covered during whole class and small group instruction. Lexia provides direct phonics instruction and helps build foundational skills and practice in reading to students and allows for differentiated instruction through various levels and achievement opportunities. 

What software applications and hardware are facilitating/impeding the conditions that make student learning possible? How so?

Epic facilitates learning and differentiated instruction because of the resources it provides to students of all abilities. For example, the teacher can assign one text for all students but Epic allows each student to interact with the text differently. For a student who is at level with that text, the student can read on their own and move on to the activities. The student may not need any assistance during the activities and be able to complete them individually. Another student may use the “read to me” or “buddy reading” tool where the student can have the entire sentence read to them, or can just click on unknown words and have those read to them. This allows the student to have their needs met at their level. For the following activities, the software offers prompting and “look-backs” to answer the questions for the students who need it, those that answered incorrectly the first two times. I would identify as Seesaw being between both facilitating and impeding. There are so many great opportunities for students on Seesaw, and there are great tools that foster learning. Students have the ability to record themselves reading a text or narrating a picture. This is crucial as the teacher cannot always get to each student during a class period, and can look later in the day at their work and achievement on a specific task. The way that this software has impeded some learning is that when my teacher links youtube videos for supplemental instruction opportunities, the seesaw app shows the suggested youtube watch ads. Sometimes my students end up off task due to the fact that they are distracted by other youtube videos. Although the students know the rules and expectations for these activities, it can be hard to monitor all 18 ipads at the same time to ensure students are following directions.

Observing my cooperating teacher:

What software applications and hardware is your cooperating teacher(s) using in the classroom? Document both hardware and software.

In my classroom, my cooperating teacher uses her desktop computer, keyboard, hover camera, and smartboard in her daily instruction routine. Additionally, my teacher uses Seesaw to communicate with parents and students, and does routine check-ins on Lexia and Epic as an Administrator. My teacher uses their software applications daily, being able to send out notifications and daily “mail” to parents, as well as assigning activities and checking progress on Seesaw, Lexia, and Epic.

Describe how your cooperating teacher(s) uses the software applications and hardware.

My teacher uses Seesaw to communicate with parents throughout the day. The chat feature allows her to send out messages and pictures to the whole class, as well as individual students. For example, on a student’s birthday, she will send a picture of the child with the birthday crown on to the parents to build that communication and strong connection. On the whole-class field trip, my teacher was able to take a picture of all the students on the bus and send it out to all the parents as a fun memory and image to share about their adventures of that day. My teacher also uses Seesaw to assign activities and learning instruction to students, so that students can work independently. My teacher uses Lexia and their curriculum to chart their phonics and literacy progress and development throughout the year. My teacher uses Epic to assign level appropriate texts for students to engage with as well as texts that are relevant to the other teachings, activities, and events happening in the classroom, school, and community.

What software applications and hardware are facilitating/impeding the conditions that make teaching possible? How so?

My teacher’s use of her desktop, hover camera, and smartboard facilitate learning in the classroom each day. For example, the teacher uses her desktop computer to pull up slides and videos and then projects these on the smartboard so all students can see and interact with the materials. Every morning meeting, there are specific slides that walk the students through the morning routine. Additionally, my teacher uses her hover camera frequently, for direction instruction and allows all students to watch her work as the camera projects the images on the smartboard. Students are able to use the teacher’s work as a model for an assignment, facilitating learning and teaching to 18 students at one time.

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