Over the past ten years I have engaged with and learned how to use various forms of technology to support my personal life. Ten years ago, the extent of my use of digital technology was primarily using email to communicate with friends and family. Over time, I have learned how to use Facebook to communicate with long, lost friends, share lessons and documents with my colleagues using Dropbox and Google Docs, use a map on my phone to navigate the streets of New York City, and buy and read books on my iPad. While the evolution of technology has its positives and negatives, many of the tools I have learned to use have added to my professional and personal life.
Prior to this year, the technology I tried out in the classroom was limited to word processing to publish already written assignments and doing limited research on the Internet. After teaching for more than ten years, I realized it was time to bite the bullet and explore and use technology in my classroom.
This is the story and process of how I engaged in integrating technology into my teaching. There were many successes and failures throughout this process, but I came away from this inquiry with an excitement about the benefits of using technology and a feeling of urgency about equipping my students with tools to be successful in the ever-changing, digital world.
Student Response Video: What do you like about using technology in the classroom?
My name is Janice Manning and I am a fifth grade special education teacher who works in a New York City School in Brooklyn, New York. I work in an ICT (Integrated Co-Teaching) Classroom. This is an inclusive classroom with one special education teacher (me!) and a general education teacher who collaborate together in all subject areas to teach a class with special education students (up to 12 students) and general education students. All of the ideas and work that went into our exploration of technology in the classroom was done alongside my wonderful co-teacher Susannah Weiss-Ortiz. We have worked together for four years, teaching both fourth and fifth grade. There are 32 students in our classroom, 12 students identified with special needs. Nine of the students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are also considered English Language Learners (ELLs). In addition to the nine students who receive both special education services and English as a Second Language (ESL) services, there are six students who are identified as only ELLs and currently receive ESL services. This overlap of services and needs of our students highlights the need for creative and diverse way to engage and instruct our students.