Integrating Technology Across Content Areas- The GAME Plan

The GAME plan helped to keep me focus on what my goals were for the class. Including NETS for Students also made me vigilante of the types of technology I planned to use in my lesson plans. Over the course of this class, I have become more aware of how to use technology to enhance my lessons. Furthermore, through this practice I have been able to teach my students how to use the same technology for our lessons which will add to their own technological skills set as well.
I have had to plan differently for my GAME plans. The intent is to meet and exceed standards while engaging students in the lesson for retention of knowledge. Reflecting on these lessons that I have prepared, there is evidence that students were more engaged in the lesson, were more thorough in their approach to research, and became more proficient and confident in their use of technology. I have to say the same things rang true for me as their teacher. I have a different outlook when I prepare to teach students. The goal is more than a having students pass the class or do well on a project. My desire is to have students add to their skill set through their own planning process and use of technology by having an authentic, hands on experience.
I have introduced two of my classes to the idea of the GAME plan. I will teach these steps to all classes within the next few weeks. The purpose is to have students consider the way they learn and how they plan to complete assignments and what outcome do they hope to have based on their actions. So far I have observed that students are receptive to the method. I can tell that their perspective toward reaching their goal for themselves is starting to come in line with the goals I have for them.
As I design future GAME plans, there are some issues that I believe will have to be adjusted. The fact that not everyone has access to computers and the internet can cause a problem. Also, several students have told me that they become frustrated with technology and would prefer not to use it if possible. I can offer more time for students who are struggling but I do not want to offer an alternative assignment where technology would not be used. One solution would be to have students work in partners. Additionally, having sites such as Edmodo, would allow students and their parents to see the assignment together. Parents can take the opportunity to help guide their student to a successful outcome. Another plus would be that this technology builds a bridge between school, the student, and the parent. This is an important component to a student’s success no matter what subject they are studying.
Integrating technology into my lessons is turning out to be easier than I once thought. I have several tools that I feel comfortable using and I tweak the way I use those tools for the various classes I have. Recently, I used Spiderscribe to teach students how to create a concept map. Students were able to compare child care programs, provide websites, and include pictures using this tool. I had easy access to their work and they were able to present their maps to the classroom. The visuals were excellent and the students were less reluctant to speak in front of their peers since their classmates were looking at the map instead of staring at them. Another tool I am learning to use is Edmodo. A few other teachers are using this social networking tool a.k.a. educational networking tool in their own classrooms. I have set up a free account, added resources to the library, and prepared a calendar for my students to explore even when we are not in school. After distributing the group code to access our class, students have joined and are learning how to navigate the site and use the resources therein to complete their assignment. Lastly, digital storytelling is going to open up a new world to my students. One resource, Voice Thread, has proven to be user friendly and accessible at school. Students research images and information that they add to their thread in the form of slides. Once they publish their thread, their classmates and peers can make comments and suggestions. I have found that students like to “show off” their work especially if they think their friends will see it. We are going to use this in my Early Childhood Education class to see how students teach a lesson and the response they receive from their peers. Each step will be recorded, audio and video, to show their plan, implementation, and feedback received. Very exciting! I will also use this as a teaching tool for demonstrating food preparation skills for my Foods, Nutrition and Wellness class. My mini-documentary can be uploaded to my teacher website or even Edmodo for students to view prior to their own food lab experiment to become more familiar with the procedure. Likewise, if a student is not present for the actual demonstration in class or they will not be present for the food lab itself, they can use this digital story as a means to get up to date in class.
I have shared my experiences with other colleagues and they are interested in hearing more. I think that through my enthusiasm, my students and colleagues will feel more confident in exploring technology and its uses. Another plus is that integrating technology into the classroom will become the norm and not the exception to teaching and learning.