Technology in the Classroom

I’m currently living my dream job. The American School of Bombay embraces innovation and preparing our students for the future: “The future is now at ASB – Technology is an integral part of ASB to support creativity and innovation, so that students actively participate in shaping the future.”  

ASB is a mission driven school, We inspire all of our students to continuous inquiry, empowering them with the skills, courage, optimism, and integrity to pursue their dreams and enhance the lives of others.”, and technology plays an important role in actualising this mission.  We are surrounded by human resources to help make this happen.  Our tech team support us by being a part of our planning and teaching and providing professional development through various avenues: blogs, online learning platforms (ASB Academy), and, on-site conferences (ASBUnplugged). We have tech support on each floor that support us minute by minute to ensure a smooth flow throughout the day. There is also an onsite research and development team who are constantly innovating and exploring new technologies. I’m literally surrounded with technology and it’s so much a part of our everyday lives that I hadn’t realised how infused it is – it’s in my DNA.  Technology is an important part of who we are and supports us in our endeavors to live the school mission.

This is the big picture.  So what does it look like in my classroom?

Students use their laptop throughout the day for a variety of purposes.  Read more about my thoughts on technology integration.  I would say that technology is used at various points of the SAMR model. It is used to substitute many school related activities/tasks which often makes us more efficient at what we do.  For example, students might use an online dictionary to find word meanings rather than traditional dictionaries.  The print dictionaries are still there, but not often utilized as they find it faster on their laptop. Laptops are used for skill practice (e.g. IXL), research (online databases), reading (a suite of online reading resources are available).  But for all these uses, we still do them in other ways too.  For example, we do math skill practice through simple games, we do research using informational books, we read self-selected literature from our school libraries.  Technology is used to do not only enhance learning in these ways, but to transform learning and create new tasks – previously inconceivable.  For example, students have opportunities to create their own media (images, videos, digital stories), contribute to global projects (e.g. If You Lived Here, Hour of Code), and have an authentic and global audience for their work (blogs). 

Photo by ASB
Photo by ASB

I like the categories that @amandashaw used to describe tech usage:  Research, Collaboration, Publishing, Communication. Technology is used for all of these purposes in my classroom.  See where they fit when I describe a typical day using technology:

Students arrive to school and follow some routines including taking their laptop from their bag and putting in the laptop storage shelves. They’ve learned to manage their laptop by bringing it to school charged, and know how to take care of their device. Later that morning, a group of students are investigating words with particular latin/greek derivatives and use online dictionaries to search word meanings. During math workshop, an independent math group may use IXL to review content while another group is using iPads to explore tessellation using an application like Amaziograph.  While involved in a provocation exploring the central idea connected to the unit of inquiry students use a backchannel such as TodaysMeet to record questions, observations, wonderings. Later in self directed independent work on their projects students are using our online research hub to find suitable resources for their research topic while others are finding images to support their digital photostory using VoiceThread.  During the reading workshop, some students may blog about their reading on the class blog. There may be some students publishing their written work during writing workshop using google apps.  Later on, students reflect on a recent field trip to see a musical event and do so by relistening to parts of the performance on their computers and write a response on their e-Portfolio (google site). And just like that, our busy day is done. Students go home and may continue working on some of their projects at home.

Photo by ASB
Photo by ASB

My goals is to support and facilitate students’ learning and help kids acquire tools and attitudes to be successful in an ever increasing complex and technology-rich world. The best place to do this is school as they can experiment, build confidence, and take risks with a safety net.

A technology rich classroom is like cooking.  There are many ingredients, you need to balance all the ingredients, the quality of the ingredients matter, and they all impact the end result.  Also, like cooking you have to keep testing and modifying to keep the perfect balance.

flickr photo shared by NicoleAbalde under a Creative Commons ( BY-ND ) license

May your classroom be blended perfectly for optimal student learning and engagement.

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