Camp was an incredible learning experience for me. It pushed me to really break out of my shell and step out of my comfort zone like nothing before it has. It definitely pushed me to the brink of my sanity but in the end it was one thousand percent worth it. I feel I was able to really break through to several campers over the course of only five days. I felt as though I really got to know them, like I would have if I were their teacher for a month, or even more! This relationship building, that my team wasn’t particularly focused on while writing our goals and objectives, seemed to be the missing link for our team’s success. By knowing what got a particular camper excited to work or what activities they thrived in I felt more well prepared in lesson planning to include those situations in advance, while also having their biggest dislikes in mind to stay away from while working.
Our team didn’t utilize the technology on the iPad to its fullest extent. While in small groups there was some camera use we unfortunately didn’t get to use the iPad much beyond that. However, we did use SmartBoards with our computers on several days while at the University of Rochester to make maps, graphs, and list ideas. This really got some of our campers excited because it was a step above just writing on the whiteboards, which was also one of their favorite activities. I, personally, felt I got to use some unique technology, specifically on day five when i got to fully explore the technology in the GRS classroom by using the televisions and stereoscopes combined to project some images of a crushed, dead spider we had collected in one of our team’s collected water samples. I think this got some of the campers, in our group and others, excited about the water again and allowed me to make a good tie back to the fact that everything that we were examining came from a beach that many of us have spent time at. Changing settings did make it a little difficult to keep our investigation grounded in the “where” but the stereoscopes helped to strengthen that tie, especially given that the next day we all were involved in planning for our presentations.
All in all, I think I did a good job having my “teacher voice” develop into a friendly, yet leading voice. I also think I did well using all available spaces and technology in my lesson planning. I do think I could have worked on being more involved in the days that I was not leading, I struggled knowing the whole plan and agenda because of differences in work styles within my group. While this sounds like strictly a complaint I realize that this scenario is probably going to happen in the future and it was a great test of my patience and perseverance during such a stressful time; between classes, camp, lesson planning, eating, sleeping, and basic hygiene my schedule was definitely over-packed. Camp definitely shed light on some new aspects of my identity which has made me much more confident in a teaching setting.
This class had absolutely broadened my horizons with regards to technology. This is particularly surprising to me because I like to think of myself as relatively tech-savy. Between the variety of data collection tools, microscopes that hook up to TVs for easier viewing, how to use a SmartBoard to its full abilities, and a plethora of new iPad apps I feel like my head is going to explode with new information. While we did spend so much time learning new technologies and discussing them I still find myself relatively hesitant with some areas of the technology. For one thing, technology is moving SO fast these days and, while we did have a critical commentary discussion on this, I do fear the day where I can no longer keep up for one reason or another. Next, with technology comes many more opportunities for this going not according to plan. Although we did get in the habit of planning for plan a, b, c, and d if necessary it’s intimidating to have to always have so many backup plans and be able to trouble shoot something on the spot, during a lesson even. Anyone who has done any sort of adventure or party with me knows I’m a huge planner, but planning for x, y, AND z to go wrong is hard … and stressful. Ignorance really is bliss for some things. My last main concern with technology is where the line exists between “Let’s try to build this technology into a lesson to help with X” and “I’m using this technology just because it’s cool.” I find that while I try to be innovative in my lesson planning sometime I find myself going overboard with the technology which actually takes away from the main goals of a lesson.
I guess what I’m trying to say is with regards to technology is:
- It’s hard work to stay on top
- If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters. Just breathe.
- Less isn’t necessarily more, but more also isn’t more
Until next time…. (and next Usher reference #classicthrowbackz)