Seeing Tech in a Different Light
By Mary Worrell
Jennifer Clark Evans is an English teacher at Fredericksburg Academy in Virginia and a member of the PLP International Schools Cohort. She's been teaching for 12 years. As the year-long PLP experience winded down, Evans had a chance to reflect on her personal experience and what she'd learned along the way.
"PLP has been an interesting process. I felt all along I wasn't sure what I was doing, but I've been using technology in the classroom for a while," Evans said. "It really gave me a chance to get outside support and ideas and make connections outside of my little school. That was the most advantageous part for me."
Even though Evans had been using technology, including wikis and blogs, in her classroom for some time, the way she viewed incorporating it changed over the course of the year.
"Whenever I think about my lesson planning, I'm always thinking about the benefit of doing it with technology versus just paper and pencil," she said. "I'm much more careful to ensure that using the technology is an advantage. Now it's more purpose-driven and more transparent to me and the parents than before."
Evans incorporates blogging into her classroom.
"I had my students involved in the blogging and they showed me the many different advantages they got out of the blog," she said. "Students were discovering it for themselves rather than me just telling them."
Another tool Evans uses in her classroom is wikis to enhance literature circles where students work in small groups together to study a book.
"Traditionally they would prepare homework on paper and bring it to class. With the wiki they can post it online and the group can see their homework," Evans said. "It much more ensures that they do their homework - their team is counting on them. And they can see how other people do their homework and can improve."
While Evans considered herself a veteran to incorporating technology in the classroom, her view of it changed over the course of her involvement with PLP.
"It's to the point where I don't realize I'm using it in my lessons with students," she said. "It's not an add-on, it's just a part of what we do."
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I was a little jealous this year when my husband was featured in a local magazine Virginia Neighbors for his extraordinary teaching and cycling (I can't say "hobby" it's more like a "lifestyle"). This week I got my own notoriety in the PLP (Powerful Learning Practice with Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach) newsletter. I posted the entire article below, which sums up my intensive personal learning this school year.