Over the years it is truly remarkable to see just how much technology has evolved and changed. It might be the old soul in me, but I often find myself remarking that I wish things just used to be the way that they were, in more simple of times before technology really advanced to the extent that it now has. However, as I take time to really reflect for this blog post and how much I use technology daily, it has brought me to truly realize of just how lucky we are to have the technology we have today and the many benefits that it provides.
Everyday I begin with waking up to an alarm on my iPhone, except on the weekends of course when I try to sleep in a bit! During the week, my days are very busy with teaching, so I do not have the opportunity much to connect on my iPhone throughout the day. However, in the evening I enjoy some down time on my phone where I scroll through my favorite apps which are Instagram, Twitter, Facebook/Messenger, Snapchat and of course as I am in the midst of wedding planning, Pinterest! I also enjoy relaxing evenings at home enjoying Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime and our local cable television. I am a huge music lover, so my Apple Music playlists are a must when I head to the gym or go outside for run. I am lucky enough to now have an Apple Watch and the Apple AirPods that make accessing music while exercising an absolute breeze.
I am very much a people person, so I prefer connecting with people face-to-face rather than over a screen. But, as we all know of how busy life gets, sometimes connecting through technology is your only option. To do this, I use the features on my iPhone of call, text, Facetime and using my iPhone camera and video to share memories with family and friends as well. However, when I am using technology for personal reasons, I am very mindful of being present in the moment and taking everything in. Sometimes you just have to put down the screen and take everything in for what it is worth. Perhaps I will regret this at a later time in my life, as I will not have as many photos or videos of memories that others may have. But, connecting with people in person rather than over a screen if possible, is very important to me.
In my first year of teaching twelve years ago, we were completing attendance on paper to submit to the school office. Now we submit attendance to the school office through a program on our school laptop called Edsby. Just through this one comparison, it really shows how much technology within our schools has grown and evolved in a relatively short time.
Through Edsby, this is also our main source for home/school communication, documenting of grades, completion of report cards and recording student observations. As the classroom teacher, I use the Edsby Capture app to record photos and videos of student learning at school to then share with student families at home. It is such a great way to connect home with school, student families can even like, comment or save the photos or videos. One of the challenges that I do experience with teaching Kindergarten and using the Edsby Capture app, is that it is more teacher directed rather than student directed. It is my professional goal that in the future I become more comfortable with allowing my students the opportunity to take lead in capturing their own learning at school rather than me doing it for them. With the Edsby Capture app, students and their families can also capture learning at home with a photo or video to then share with their teachers back at school!
I have a mounted data projector in my classroom which I use daily for a variety of subject areas. For the students, I will often access and display videos such as Cosmic Kids Yoga for some relaxation, Go Noodle for fun exercise or Art for Kids Hub for awesome guided drawing lessons.
Some other tech sources that I use professionally when at school are:
- Front Row Microphone
- Teachers Pay Teachers
- YouTube for Calming Music
- Classroom iPads for Centers (Starfall)
- Email with Student Families
I feel that one of the greatest benefits of using technology within our schools is that it allows us as educators to connect more purposefully with student families at home. Home and school connection is crucial. However, with that said, it is also important to be mindful of students and their families that perhaps do not have access to technology or the internet. This brings me to my final question for my fellow educators:
Do you rely solely on tech sources to communicate with student families? Or, do you use a varied approach of both tech and traditional paper methods sent home?
Thanks for reading and stopping by!