Thursday, May 24, 2012

Technology and inclusive education practices

co authored with Sheila Monger

More often than not, students are asked to read, discuss and write about their studies at school.  I ask, “what about those who do not read, do not use a common language or cannot write?” Demonstration of knowledge in the classic school room is narrow and predictable.  Those who did not participate have traditionally been marginalized. 

Until now.

This year, the two of us, Ms. Monger and Ms. McConnell, joined the teaching staff at Bagby.  Ms. Monger teaches a 3-5 combo and Ms. McConnell teaches 4th grade.  Between the two of us we bring a depth and breadth of experience working with students with unique learning needs.  In the first staff meeting of the year, we both signed up to be on this new committee that no one knew much about, called CreaTV.  We soon found out it would be a wonderful way for us to spotlight the collaborative work that our students were doing.  Since the beginning of the year, our students have been learning together about PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports) as well as all academic areas.  Ms. Monger also co-teaches with teachers in 5th and 3rd grade so that all students have access to their own grade level content and peers. We have created CreaTV segments highlighting some of our kids' projects, such as Squash Day, Stream Tables, Stone Soup with Ms. Montes’ class, literature study with Ms. Makinson's class and Smoothies with Ms. Lauck's class.   All of these segments, and more, have been broadcast on DirectTV channel 28 to communicate with our community about the exciting programs happening Around Bagby.

In April, we were accepted into to the Cambrian iPad Academy, a 1:1 program where each student is assigned an iPad. We are investigating apps and processes helping to set the stage for developing 21st century students and leaders throughout the district.  We were both a little worried that our kids would bury their heads in their iPads and never interact again. We were surprised and excited to learn that this was far from the truth.  It is inspiring to see students from our classes working together to create projects, to teach each other, to learn and to share.  Students are storytelling, teaching, and creating using this innovative tool.
Technology has been a great way for us to engage our students and provide them with differentiated tools to allow them to create, collaborate, problem solve and inspire!

Bagby, along with Cambrian School District, has reinvented what it means to demonstrate knowledge and share experiences within the community.  By using technology such as SMART boards, Podcasts, CreaTV, and the co-teaching model in the iPad academy, Bagby has proven that all students are learners and contributors to success.  These tools help provide a vehicle for learning, collaboration and demonstration of that learning in unique and creative ways.  

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