Guest Authors: Heather Hill & Stacy Pothier, RVS Alumni & Administrator – Using the Right Technology and Pedagogy to Enhance Thinking, Learning & Teaching: The Impact of A Collaborative Action Research Project – What are the ingredients for our successful project? In this case it was 10 inquisitive learners (teachers in K-4, FI & English) committed to collaborative action research, time for collaborative professional development, technology tools and a guide on the side – in our case, the fabulous facilitator Dr. Martine Pellerin.
- How does technology influence dialogical, inquiry-based learning in the elementary classroom?
- How can tech tools increase accessibility for students – for their learning, to express their learning, to capture their learning, to assess their learning, to enhance their learning, to share their learning?
We had time to go through 3 cycles of collaborative action research & professional development, which is composed of four components:
- collaborative professional development meeting – planning
- implementation of new strategies (6-8 weeks)
- digital documentation of the new strategies (6-8 weeks)
- reflections on actions and inquiry – individually and then with the group
Some of the other questions we considered as we worked through the project were:
- Who is using the tools (teachers, students) and how are the tools being used?
- How are the tools promoting the use of oral language as a tool for learning and thinking/metacognition?
- How are the tools facilitating differentiation and enhancing student learning?
- How are the tools being used to document the students’ learning process?
- How are the tools being used for students’ assessment?
- How is the documentation helping to adopt new teaching practices?
What apps were most appropriate and useful ?
- Speak Easy Voice Recorder, iPod video camera, Google maps, Stop Motion Video, Puppet Pals, Toontastic, Book Creator, Mee Genius, Workbook, Pic Collage, Show Me
How did teachers feel about the work they did, and its impact on their teaching and learning?
- Students are more reflective and aware of their learning. Learning goals are clearly established and students are able to work towards their personal goals. Students are able to communicate their learning in a variety of ways: through written reflections, oral reflections or conversations with peers and their teacher. Students are more aware of their learning and of their personal learning goals.
- Dialogue is essential at this level for metacognitive thinking. Being aware of how others perceive things (concepts, ideas) enables the students to reflect more deeply about their own understandings.
- They make better connections and they can develop their ideas more fully.
- Students see technology as a tool for learning as opposed to a toy. They seamlessly integrate technology into their day by grabbing an
- iPod or an iPad to assist them with their work.
- Teachers are having meaningful conversations about their practice and looking at ways to improve student learning through reflective practice.
Some general conclusions from the project:
- Collaborative Action Research is a non-threatening, welcoming way to engage staff in professional learning.
- Action Research enhances collaboration, communication and reduces isolation for teachers and students.
- iPods are extremely valuable tools for young learners, for ease of use, comfort of use and engaging aspects of appropriate applications.
- Google + was an excellent tool for communication among participants. Feedback was immediate and led to verbal interaction.
- The project enhanced the use of appropriate technology and tools for assessment and evaluation and encouraged reflective practice for teachers and students.