Last week was the first week of school for us – lots of tired folks on Friday afternoon – but what a great tired. I have to say I believe this was the BEST first week I can remember! It’s wonderful when everything falls in place, and if it doesn’t, no one knows and it works out anyway. I tried several new things with my students – a new folder system, my YouTube channel, a flipped classroom lesson (that will be tested on Monday), and Interactive Student Notebooks. Whew.
My goal this year (part of our new Teacher Evaluation Instrument for this year) is to be intentional in my use of technology for my students. They LOVE their phones – but I’m setting and maintaining some important guidelines for them in my classes this year. Following our district BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy was a challenge last year – it’s so easy to just let them have them out when their work is finished. I’ve had conversations with teachers who decided to “not fight that battle,” and I get that. But…it’s not the phones themselves – I figured out what bothered me is the lack of acknowledging there were other HUMANS around them who deserved their attention.
So – as I explained my classroom policies/expectations I let them know that their phones were not to be out unless I specifically decided they were useful for that lesson. I shared the problem I have with their phones – and that I consider it rude when they have them out when I am teaching and ignoring the people who were physically THERE in the room was rude as well. So, on the basis of human interaction and “presence,” phones are not welcome.
Of course – there was a freshman (anyone surprised??? I have all 4 levels in my Foods 1 classes) had his out – and he sits 5 feet from my desk – I reminded him about the consequences and asked him to put it away. My plan to increase student interaction by reducing phones worked. For the next 10 minutes or so he was engaged in a conversation – with 4 upper class girls! Tell me, isn’t that better than an inanimate text with someone, especially for a freshman boy?
On the other hand – I DID promise to provide them with opportunities to use them as an extension of what I was teaching. So….drumroll please.. enter my YouTube Channel! Anyone can create a YouTube Channel – where you create or save videos you find on YouTube to share with others. Educators can create one for their students to access and watch video clips at home or as a part of a lesson in the classroom. Our district blocks YouTube via the building wireless – but if a teacher creates a channel and it goes through the YouTube education filter, it is accessible. So – my proud Techno-Teacher moment (I graduated back in the chalk/blackboard/lucky-to-have-an-overheadprojector-days) happened on Tuesday – here are my kids watching a kitchen safety video on my channel. It’s the little things…