Name: Kathleen Morris (@kathleen_morris | Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom | class blog)
School: Leopold Primary School, Victoria, Australia
Current title: Grade Two classroom teacher | ICT Teaching and Learning co-ordinator
What is your role at your school?
I teach a grade two class full time. I team teach with Kelly Jordan and together we teach 43 students in a large open classroom.
What is the best part of your job?
Team teaching with such a like-minded teacher, working with my creative and inquisitive students and being part of an inspiring global educational community. It is incredibly rewarding to help my students develop into connected, transliterate life-long learners. I love that every day presents new challenges and opportunities and technology allows us to flatten our classroom walls and collaborate globally!
From where do you draw professional inspiration? How do you stay connected and grow as an educator?
Effective teaching and learning doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Most of my professional learning occurs outside school hours with people outside my immediate school community. A day doesn’t go by where I am not using Twitter, blogs, podcasts or webinars etc to connect with other educators, learn, reflect and improve.
For a teacher looking to use technology to connect with students, enhance learning or embrace 21st century skills, where do you suggest one begin?
Blogging is my favourite tool to use in the classroom. There are so many benefits of educational blogging and can be integrated into so many learning areas.
To summarise, blogging provides an avenue for:
- Authentic learning
- Home-school connections
- Learning about internet safety and ICT skills
- Literacy development
- Boosting students confidence and sense of community
- Global collaboration
- Teaching about social skills
Anyone looking for advice on how to get started with blogging should check out this post I wrote: Five Steps to Starting a Class Blog.
Together with Simon Collier and Matt Limb, I also write a free e-newsletter for teachers called Tech Tools for Teachers. We review online tools and demonstrate how they can be integrated into the classroom. Past newsletters and subscription are available at http://www.teachgennow.com.au/.
What skill(s) do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?
Transliteracy is a term I didn’t come across until early this year but I think is sums up what I’m trying to achieve in my grade two classroom nicely. Students need to become literate across multiple media, both traditional and emerging. We integrate blogging, iPods and a wide range of web 2.0 tools into our classroom program while putting a strong emphasis on fundamental reading, writing and oral language skills.
It is crucial for students to have the skills to communicate and collaborate effectively, productively and safely both face to face and online.