Remember – Describe what you did.
I discovered a new-to-me app during my review and enthusiastically considered possibility it would bring to my alternative classroom. I considered what I’m currently using in my curriculum and decided that the book talk would be the most efficient and logical choice for this project.I ask my students to write out a “book talk” since many have social anxiety and some stressors in the audience. I understand that my students listen to each other more than they listen to me, so I’ve compiled their written book talks in hopes of creating a binder for students to sift through when looking for a new book. The Videolicious app I’d found during my app reviews seemed like an opportunity to “present” book talks without a live presentation.
I toyed with the app myself, made a few silly narrations, and demoed my plan to students hoping to get a buy-in.
Choosing a candidate to try out my lesson plan was a struggle at first. Due to the dynamics of our school, lessons are prepped prior to the start of the year and students begin a course with a general idea of exactly what all they need to do and in how many assignments. "Adding" a new idea sometimes makes students think we're actually giving them more work. But, luckily, I had a student just finishing up her novel and, she also happens to be pretty flexible, creative, and willing to avoid writing a formal paper if she can create a video instead.
Identify the Important Part – What was important to you about this learning experience?
This learning experience has taught me, overall, that I am not nearly as lost in this digital world as I once thought. Even the long time digital citizens can feel like immigrants. Some of my more experienced classmates still found something new and exciting to share regarding teaching and learning in digital environments. This made me realize a very important point:it’s okay to just jump in and give it a go. Always have a back plan, but give it a go.
Researching all the apps available for education overwhelmed me, but the gallery walk we did in class really helped narrow things down to a select few and showcase the details.This was another important aspect of the experience because it became the model of how I approach technology in my classroom- pick a few tools at a time, focus in on the details and try it out, keep some, file some away for later, and some disregard immediately.
Put it Together – What does this remind you of? What kind of connection can you make between this learning experience and something else you know?
When I first came to UNO in 1999, I dropped out after meeting my husband and having our first child sophomore year. Twelve years and six kids later, I decided to return to college at College of Saint Mary and finish my degree. I graduated three years later, taught for a year, and returned to UNO as a grad student. All of this- wife, mom, student, teacher, UNO, CSM- it was all awkward and uncomfortable, something I sort of jumped in to with little preparation and a lot of faith. This experience (and technology in general) is also very uncomfortable and awkward for me. But, like my family, my education, and my students, it's also a very necessary aspect of life. Great and amazing things come when the awkward fades and the awkward almost always fades.
In 1999, we still used electronic word processors to fill out scholarship applications. The classroom was quite different in 1999. Then, in 2012, I took Technology in the Classroom at CSM, an introductory course that blew my mind. I learned about so many websites and tools and that was the first time I’d ever touched an iPad or used Twitter. Now, in 2016, I’ve taken this similar course and am again mind blown at all the possibility.
When choosing to use Videolicious as my final project, I really felt more accomplished as an educator in a digital world. I chose the app. I chose how we’d use it. I followed through with that and, although we somewhat crashed and burned, I saw it through to the end and can share that experience with others. I was in control! I was using technology!
When we travelled the gallery of undergrads showcasing their tools, I again felt accomplished as my mind was able to shift from station to station and think how I could apply those tools, or not, and immediately I wanted to try some things out in my room (Newsela, Write About It, Ixl, Edueto, Nearpod). The fact that I have the confidence to even consider these things takes me back to my original point- sometimes we have to leave our comfort zones to grow and improve.
Pick it Apart –What are the things you have learned from this experience?
I’ve learned that something that looks exciting and super useful in the beginning may fail to live up to its potential in the end. I’ve learned that sometimes, when an app is “free”, you get what you paid for. Most importantly, I’ve learned that technology, like many aspects of life, requires a bit of discomfort in order for growth.
For the sake of this project, Videolicious probably wasn’t the most versatile or useful tool available. I might have found my presentation to be more resourceful if I’d chosen a more educational app.I’ve also learned that this is how it goes with technology- it’s not always better than the original the plan. I’ve also learned that technology is always changing and I’d be doing a huge disservice to my students if I failed to continue to research and experiment with new applications and tools. This is terrifying, but also exciting.
I also think this experience calmed me doiwn a bit and forced me to get over my perfectionism. There were blog comments that, for reasons beyond my knowledge, never got published, Tweets that failed to tweet, blog pages that were off formatting, and a final project that could have been more resourceful. There were glitches. Glitches aren't the end of the world. I'm still working on accepting that.
Plan to Use – How will you use what you learned from this experience in the future?
I’m conflicted with what to write in response to this. On one hand, I want to say that I will take more time to play with the different aspects of a new application. That is, make sure I’ve worked out some of the kinks that aren’t obvious with initial reviews. On the other hand, I think that the “kinks” are a part of the learning process and is one of the reason I love working in a field that, not only does it allow for, but also requires flexibility. Videolicious is still a tool I can use in my classroom, although maybe not the way I initially imagined. It’s still useful for my students with social anxiety, it still allows me to use my Book Talk lesson, it allows more creativity and “professionalism” than simply a video recorded with the iPad. My student enjoyed using it and was able to show me her learning and met the objectives.
Professionally, I will use this experience to grow as an educator and a digital citizen. I plan to research at least one new technology each quarter for the rest of this year, and continue into the summer months. I am also more likely now to tech-talk with my colleagues, sharing what I’ve learned and seeking their insights. I will use this experience to enhance my classroom, my PLCs and my overall ability to teach and learn in a digital environment.