I am thrilled to be linking up today with Ruth Ayres to discover other bloggers and to celebrate the courage I’ve had to submit a special application this week. Please join me in linking to Ruth’s website where you will be blessed to find amazing celebrations!
It has certainly been an incredible week for me. In Charlotte we received eight inches of snow from Tuesday through Thursday. Needless to say, I only spent a day and a half in school this week. I have been preparing my presentation for the upcoming NCTIES (North Carolina Technology In Education Society) Conference in a couple of weeks and preparing K-5 lesson plans that integrate technology, of course. I also have played in the snow with my children and rejoiced over some uncharacteristic weather which gave us some needed downtime. It also gave me the chance to reflect on my teaching practice and create a two minute digital iMovie which I submitted on Valentine’s Day to become a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator. I love to be surrounded by passionate educators who are looking for innovative strategies to reach our students. The content at http://unctv.pbslearningmedia.org/ is amazing and provides me with many choices on teaching students. I like the idea of flipping the classroom by having students view videos for homework. The digital content at the PBS Learning Media website is phenomenal. I think that they’ve made it user friendly by updating not only the front page of the website, but also by allowing teachers to search by Standard for appropriate content.
I hope to be considered for their program which would allow me to have professional development throughout the year through webinars and support through an expansive Professional Learning Network. Having a network of teachers with like-minded goals of being digital innovators would be a unique opportunity for me. I realize that there will be hundreds of entries, and only 100 teachers will be chosen, but at least I can say, I’ve given it my best shot. I am always looking to get better as a teacher. I thought I’d share my response to the essay questions that were a part of the application process:
1. How do you currently share your digital curriculum ideas with other teachers?
I started blogging last year at techencounter.wordpress.com where I document what I am doing as a K-5 Technology Teacher at my school. I tell other teachers about my site at Twitter chats (My Twitter Handle is @edu_maples, in talks with teachers at my school and by linking online to RuthAyresWrites.com who has a Saturday Link Up. I read other teachers’ blogs and get new ideas while also commenting on their blog posts. I have trained my school’s teachers to use the new Dreambox Math Adaptive program for K-5. I created and use my website, bit.ly/elonpark, which allows teachers and students to use the tabs for each grade and locate a variety of resources. I send emails to staff and share resources at staff meetings to help teachers discover digital tools to engage students. I will present K-5 Technology Projects at the NCTIES (North Carolina Technology in Education Society) Conference in Raleigh, NC on March 6, 2014. I will share a presentation created in Haiku Deck to share powerful images with limited text to engage educators in the topic of teaching digital literacy through the use of apps such as Tellagami,Skitch,Doodle Buddy,Thinglink,30 Hands,Screenchomp,Show Me,Write About This,ReadWriteThink’s Timeline, World Wildlife Federation,Science 360,instaGrok,Collins Big Cat books,Trading Cards, and Comic Maker. I will share Digital Boards from Discovery Education’s Board Builder where my students have researched topics at http://www.ncwiseowl.com or http://www.wonderopolis.org then created the Digital Boards. I also enjoy participating in Twitter Chats such as #21stedchat on Sunday nights or the #tlap chat where I contribute and absorb from the ideas presented by my PLN.
2. What do you hope to gain from your experience as a PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator?
I would like to have training on increasing my knowledge on the gold mine of resources found at PBS. I have learned the power of a PLN that reaches beyond the walls of my school with my Twitter PLN of 568 as of today. After participating in webinars and Google Chats while also being an online college facilitator where I taught education courses, I have effectively communicated with others around the globe. I would hope to gain a new PLN and have tremendous support as I try new instructional strategies learned from this experience. As a life long learner, I welcome opportunities that will further student achievement and allow students to deeply explore content while engaging in digital literacy. I expect that I would gain not only resources, but also a community of passionate educators who will be trying out innovative strategies to help students analyze information, communicate, collaborate and create. As a National Board Certified Teacher as a Middle Childhood Generalist, I am always reflecting on my teaching practice and making adjustments. As a teacher, I am responsible for teaching literacy to students so that they can function and thrive in the 21st Century. By becoming a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, I would build on my burgeoning understanding of how to implement Balanced Literacy and locate content to draw in not only reluctant readers, but also to enrich and extend the other students. I earned a Master’s Degree in Reading as a K-12 Reading Specialist in 1996. Since then, I have consistently sought opportunities to surround myself with teachers who want to make a difference in the lives of children. The PBS Innovator program fits my philosophy.
Video: Describe how you are leading innovation in digital teaching in your classroom to promote student engagement and achievement?
I embedded the iMovie video that I made into the top of this post. Teaching is such a phenomenal profession. My favorite teaching plaque near my desk at school says: “Teaching: The Profession That Creates All Others.” Wow. Whether I am selected or not, I am pleased with my willingness to enter. I will find out if I have been selected by March 14.
“I make a difference,” as Christa McAuliffe would say. “I teach.”