After spending “at least one hour” (turned into many more) searching for resources that would hopefully support and very possibly debunk my inquiry topic, I ended my session feeling very much like I had fallen down Alice in Wonderlands rabbit hole.
I came out the other end feeling as dazed and confused as poor Alice. I think my keywords were well selected. However I wanted to try something new. Maybe I should have taken a hint from Alice and not bite off more than I could handle. My search shot up and down, this way, and that. My keywords and phrase were both too small and too big. I found that some keywords limited the search too much and some not enough. In addition to taking risks, go Alice go, I tried to find some good leads on TED Talks, and Twitter, and YouTube. Boy was that helpful. Not!
I must clarify that I did come across some fantastic thinking along the way, however I was taken so far off track it was ridiculous.
In Twitter I came across the lovely hashtag #makewriting. From here my search in twitter went like this: make writing —> maker space —> digital portfolio —> sharing writing —> engagement. All of these searches provided a hint of a direction, but none of them really showed me the way. Yet I persisted and found a few resources that may just help me along the way.
One resource I stumbled upon was a short post on the use of iPad in a grade one classroom. You can find the post by clicking the link below.
I found this post, helpful because it made catching the the “white rabbit” (my inquiry topic) a possibility. In this post, it mentioned how iPads can be used “to develop digital literacy skills and learning outcomes that were previously unattainable.” Though the site does not offer a lot of information, it was the first bit of information I came across that reassured me I hadn’t fallen down this crazy rabbit hole for nothing.
Another resource I find useful is the website http://teachthought.com I will definitely use this site again and again.The posts are well categorized and the site is easy to navigate. In addition, all of the posts are quick to read and packed with information that I see myself being able to implement in my learning/ teaching environments.
While on this site I came across a bunch of different articles. One post that caught my eye was written by Terry Heick titled 13 Very Different Tools To Help Students Find Their Voice (May 2, 2014). I was drawn to this post as a result of this particular quote: “This (correctly) implies that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for students to express themselves and interact with the world. You can indeed insist that all students blog because, from your perspective, it sounds justifiable and beneficial, but if the goal is to help students find their own voice, they will need choices.” As I take my tumble down the rabbit hole, I am coming to realize just how much teaching really does need to change. I guess you could say I have finally bumped into my Queen of Hearts, with her “Off with their head!” remark when things are not done her way. The old way.
My inquiry topic is to explore how I can incorporate meaningful, intentional uses of technology to improve student learning in the area of writing. If I am going to achieve this inquiry project, I am going to have to face the “Queen of Hearts”engrained in my teaching practices and collapse her commanding reign. I need to help my students find their own voice, and do so by introducing a variety of platforms they can choose from.
I recommend this website to others, as there are a variety of topics on this site.
Another resource I found helpful was the good old trusty English Journal. I did have to dust this one off a bit. In Vol. 102 No. 6 of the July 2013 English Journal I read an article titled No Longer a Luxury: Digital Literacy Can’t Wait written by Troy Hicks and Kirsten Hawley Turner. In their article they stressed the importance of understanding that “digital literacy is about more that just adding technology into the teaching we already do (pg.60).” It strongly states that we as teachers must embrace the way technology is interwoven throughout our lives. We need to become familiar with the various programs ourselves. The classroom applications referenced in this article are directed more towards a high school audience. However, I found that I am able to apply the big ideas to my primary setting. The hiccup I have with this article, is when it come to selecting age appropriate programs for primary learners, and knowing/ understanding how to go about implementing their use. Where to start?! I need to learn and refine my understanding of which skills and sub skills are required to successfully implement writing/ story telling technology for primary students. I think I just stumbled upon a new key search query.
The last resource I’m going to mention is the twitter feed @BookCreatorApp. While browsing this feed, I found a variety of posts outlining how the app opened up writing avenues for students. It spoke of engagement, motivation, and connectivity, all of which I am looking to bring to my learners and our learning environment. It also outlined how to introduce the app to your class. Thus making the “where to start” less daunting. I will continue to seek out other twitter feeds for similar platforms and apps. Especially since I have found that I no longer wish to be The Queen of Hearts.
I guess this rabbit hole wasn’t so bad after all.
Sincerely, Alice (Aka Ashlee)
One of my random but very exciting finds was BLOXELS! Have you ever heard of BLOXELS? My guess is yes, as you probably don’t live under a rock like I have been. If you haven’t I suggest you check it out.