Saturday, December 22, 2012

All it Takes is a Willingness to Engage and Learn

Anyone who works in an elementary school will tell you that their days are "full" and that there is always more that can be done. I have to admit that from time to time I get caught in the 'work' wave and go an entire day without having a decent conversation with any of my colleagues. Sad, but true.

As I was getting my students ready for afternoon recess, an occasional Educational Assistant came up to me and had some technology questions. She was told that I was the school's iPad "expert"! This was a nice way for us to break the ice and led to a moment of laughter. She told me that she would be in for a few days working with a student who is part of our project. She had already spent some time observing and supporting the student with the use of his iPad.

As an occasional EA, she is in different schools quite often and because of this fact she carries her RIM Playbook tablet with her to use with students. She wanted to know how she could download some of the iPad apps she saw our student using in order to support other students in numeracy and literacy. After a brief conversation about the iTunes store and the differences between the Playbook and iPad she realized why she couldn't load the apps that she had seen on the iPad. At that point I informed her of some of the benefits of using a Playbook rather than an iPad with students. I asked her if she was aware of the Ontario Educational Resource Bank (OERB)  - an online repository that offers a growing number of free digital learning resources to teachers and students, from K-12. She was vaguely familiar with the OERB, that is to say that she had heard of it.

Recess was underway so I asked if she was free to chat and perhaps we could sit down at a computer with her tablet and explore the OERB together. She had the time, so we proceeded to navigate the Ministry based site and brainstormed/discussed how she could use her mobile device in combination with the learning objects to benefit the students she works with - no matter what school she finds herself in!

Our short collaboration was well spent. She left with enough knowledge to 1) access the OERB,
2) search for learning objects based on the needs of the student(s) she is working with, and 3) ideas to engage her student(s) and have them demonstrate their learning using her tablet.

If it weren't for her willingness to engage me in a discussion around how she could use touch technology with students, the great dialogue we had would not have been. I was more than happy to pass on what I have learned about using the Ministry's digital resource site to support our students and she was 'all ears' during our conversation.

I'm glad that the 'business' of my day didn't interfere with the opportunity to support one of my colleagues, especially one with such passion to assist her students using an interactive and blended approach.

I need to make the effort and time to engage my colleagues in meaningful conversation at least once a day. There is so much that can be gained outside the four walls of my classroom that can benefit myself and my students.

I welcome your feedback! Please feel free to comment here or email me at if you want to engage me in converstion about what I have written.

1 comment:

  1. Well done Rolland! One more teacher is now a bit more excited about leveraging digital learning resources / blended learning to engage students - all because you made/found the time to share your knowledge.