Recently, I began taking a course titled â€œTechnology for the Educatorâ€ which is the first in a series of technology courses required to earn a California teaching credential. Most of the other students in the class are already classroom teachers and can directly apply what they are learning to their everyday practice. Although I already consider myself a teacher, Iâ€™m still in the precarious position of student teacher. I donâ€™t directly control the curriculum in my placement classroom; my personal classroom management strategies are not necessarily evident in my placement classroom; and Iâ€™m not viewed as the â€œreal teacherâ€ in my placement classroom. So, how can I effectively integrate technology into my cooperating teacherâ€™s classroom? Again, this is a precarious position. Nevertheless, I have found many ways to integrate technology into a classroom that really isnâ€™t mine.
At the beginning of my student teaching semester I took over the daily teaching of math. I found initial ways to integrate technology as extension activities for many of my lessons. For example, I taught a unit on factoring, and one of my lessons was adapted from a National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) lesson titled â€œThe Factor Gameâ€. The lesson was successful, and that motivated me to suggest that the students investigate NCTMâ€™s interactive Factor Game. I told them to check it out during their independent class time. Some students did take advantage of this extension and some chose not to. Regardless, this was a simple way to begin integrating technology in the classroom as a student teacher.
As I progressed through my student teaching experience (and my Technology for the Educator course) I began to teach more subjects in the classroom and, also, integrate technology in more ways. A unit on California immigration included the study of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 and its effect on immigrants. I created a PowerPoint presentation that served as a virtual field trip of past and present San Francisco. It included pictures of the 1906 Earthquake damage and the present day locations of this damage. It was simply a slide show of images pulled from the Internet and some I took with a digital camera. It was a great way to contextualize the Earthquake and the experience for students who had no prior knowledge of earthquakes and San Francisco. In the same unit, I created a Web Quest lesson using TrackStar, and I directed the lesson during the studentsâ€™ weekly computer lab time.
As I gear up for my two-week solo teaching experience, Iâ€™m planning to integrate technology into my placement classroom even further. Through School Notes Iâ€™ve created a class web page where Iâ€™ll post weekly assignments, spelling lists, links, and more. Iâ€™ll introduce the students to the Web page and also send a note home to the parents informing them of my two-week takeover and the new class Web page. Since the page will provide an essential link between school and home, it will be a good way for parents to check out what the crazy student teacher is doing in the classroom. Iâ€™ll encourage student and parent interaction with the Web site by placing extra credit activities online. Iâ€™m in the process of planning more ways to integrate technology in my solo, and Iâ€™m finding that there are almost endless possibilities: student creating PowerPoint presentations to accompany their autobiographies, creating more Web Quests, working with a digital camera. It is truly an exciting opportunity.
Luckily, my cooperating teacher embraced the technology I was incorporating into his classroom. Here I was indeed fortunate, as many student teachers feel stymied by their cooperating teacherâ€™s established practices, and, thus may feel limited in expanding their own repertoire while student teaching. Nevertheless, I encourage all student teachers to try to integrate technology into their lessons. It is such a refreshing practice, and the students (and university supervisors) just eat it up.