As part of my coursework in the DLL program, I had to create an innovation project. This was extremely difficult because I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what I wanted to implement in my first-grade classroom and across my campus. At the time I was working with 1:1 iPads, and that was going pretty well. After reading the book, Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, I was intrigued by how I could make this work in a first-grade classroom. After much discussion with my professor, I was determined to find a way. I created my plan and hit the ground running.
The most important thing I have learned during my eighteen months in the DLL program is to always ask myself these questions what do I want my students to learn, and how can I improve the lesson. Do not focus on the technology but the learning should be the focus first! We also asked what was our why? I had never really thought about what my “why” was before. If you have not watched Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk on finding you’re why you should!
I continued to learn through reading a ton of research and creating a literature review. I focused on different lesson designs such as the understanding by design template. I began implementing a blended learning environment in my classroom immediately and even got two other teachers on my grade level to implement it as well. We were all loving it. We learned a ton along the way as well. I learned that there is not one program that will do it all for a first-grade classroom. Finding what works best in the technology station and the data you want to glean from it was the most difficult part of implementing blended learning in my classroom. I was constantly tweaking it, and trying to improve it. I’ve learned it will always be a mixture of tools when it comes to that station in my classroom.
The plan was to implement blended learning campus-wide this year with teachers that volunteered to try it. My district decided to switch our district to a Google district and had their own innovation plan in mind. They were buying multiple chrome carts and had teachers team up to apply for the chrome carts. Each team had to complete several modules and become Google one certified to receive a cart. The goal is for each team of teachers to implement some form of blended learning in their classroom. Thankfully, I had done all of this research and was able to share what I had learned. My innovation plan is kind of dead in the water due to my district creating and implementing their own plan. I do believe that my plan has helped me get where I want to go, and it has shown that I am a leader in my district.
I have learned a lot along this journey, and I still feel very passionate about how to implement new technology with teachers. I am hoping to help my district with this new plan and how we can better serve our teachers. I received a Chromebook cart along with two other teachers on my grade level. We were given it without a lot of instruction. Thankfully my crew came together and began brainstorming ways to use the Chromebooks in our classrooms. My concern is we will see many collecting dust because teachers will need more assistance. The first time I tried to use Chromebooks with my first-graders was a challenge. They didn’t understand the mouse at all. I became frustrated as well. Most teachers give up if this continues. In the professional development course, we learned that teachers need modeling, pushing into the classroom, and even planning time with a coach to really make a change in their classrooms.
I believe that change starts with me! I feel this way due to the education I received during the DLL program at Lamar University!