So Friday just gone marked my last day on professional experience. It was a very sad but welcomed day for me. Staying up until all hours of the night and waking up 5 hours later to plan definitely took its toll on me! But there were a few reasons why…
1) Being in a BYOD classroom, the students are already so knowledgeble about the capabilities of their devices, so it was imparative that I knew how to use mine too! I had never used my iPad for anything other than browsing the net, reading and taking photos so you can imagine how much catching up I had to do when I saw 20 kids tapping, dragging and multiscreening away in front of me!
2) Students did not just have iPads. Of the 20 students in the class, about 50% had iPads, while the rest had either Windows 8 tablets or laptops. Every time I planned a lesson that required the use of an app, I had to make sure that all students would be able to access a similar app. This meant many late nights of exploring the app store for compatible apps.
3) Technology is a huge distraction when you are trying to talk!!! Students used their device multiple times every lesson, so it was impractical to instruct students to put them away every time we moved onto a new activity or concept, as we needed the device again in 5 minute’s time. With the exception of about 3 students, most students would just turn off the screen.
4) They learned how to use iMessage!!!! In the last week of my prac, one student realised that she was able to send herself a message using her own email when connected to the school wifi. For the next four days I became a very cranky Miss Dickson whilst trying to police the issue of instant messaging in class.
Despite these challenges, it was a very enjoyable and rewarding three weeks. I feel like these kids crafted me into a tech whiz – however I understand that it should also be the other way around. Before commencing prac, I thought I was pretty tech savvy, but these kids have really highlighted how desperately current and future Australian students need teachers who are competent and creative uses of ICTs. DETE lists a few ways pre service/teachers can learn about ICT PD opportunities at http://education.qld.gov.au/smartclassrooms/users/school-leaders/professional-development.html