I am a class teacher for Year Four and five students and a team leader for the middle school. My class and I are a part of the Manaiakalani Google ClassOnAir.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Digital environment and Student engagement

These days there is a big buzz about digital classrooms and it’s benefits. I teach in a year 3-4 class and belong to the Manaikalani Cluster of schools. I do not have a full net book class but we do have
5 i-pads and 5 netbooks along with a couple of computers. My class is a base for students where they learn their basic skills to be able to work in a complete digital environment when they become year 5 students.

As I have challenging students in my class my total focus was to engage every students in deep learning to be successful. Having the digital tools and learning how to use these tools was new for me. I set off by making a class website. This is where I do all my planning. Each day we start our day by visiting the class website that I project on the classroom T.V. screen. All groups look at what they have done and what they need to do to complete all the tasks assigned to them for the week. Slowly I noticed that my students started to visit the class website themselves to guide their learning. It was very encouraging to hear some of my students say to each other “ Don’t go to Miss if you have finished your writing, go to the site to see what you have to do next”.  Now this I think,  is the first step to be a self- driven, self- motivated learner.

Experiencing the change with net books and blogs was immense. Though we do not have one on one net books for everyone in class, I have been able to make learning possible at home and in weekends by making my class website accessible to everyone, anywhere. Some students who do not have computers, visit the local library to keep up to date with their learning.

I feel engaged and self motivated in my search for innovative ways to teach my students through a presentation or a screen recording. And I can do this in the comforts of my home. It has also cut hugely on continuous delivery of lesson by the real teacher in class. A group of students visit the class site to find what they have to do next. While this group is engaged in their learning, I have the time to do group conference with other students who need more of my attention. I also feel that to some extent, I have been able to engage families as they can now see what their children are learning at school.

A few more netbooks for Year 3 and 4 class would be my wish come true.
Working in a digital environment class has proved to be truly thriving, innovative and productive for my students.

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