Sunday, February 26, 2012

Supporting Student Teachers Online

How did I support a student teacher prior to the tremendous technology tools we have available today?  The use of tech tools allows me to coach my student teacher with much greater accuracy and care.  It's incredible.

For example, my student teacher is working carefully on his multidisciplinary teaching unit.  The unit is focused on biomes and includes standards in reading, writing, math and science.  He will lead the students through 8-12 lessons as they research, write and depict the main biomes of the earth.  I'm so happy that he has agreed to teach this unit as it is a wonderful extension of our animal adaptation unit and a terrific precursor to our endangered species work.  By the end of the unit, I imagine that our room will have beautiful paper-cut murals including informational paragraphs, captions and lists on the bulletin boards that border the classroom. Then as students research and learn about their endangered species, they'll add paper sculpture animals to each mural.  This kind of integrated, ongoing research and learning creates a vibrant classroom community of learners.

As my student teacher works, the once lengthy student-teacher meetings, have been replaced by back-and-forth communication online using Google docs and our closed social network, NING.  The list below demonstrates the many ways technology is enriching and enhancing the student-teacher dialogue, collaboration and learning.
  • The weekly teaching schedule is clearly created with a color coded chart on Google docs.
  • Collaboration with regard to lesson planning and unit design is done on Google docs which lends itself to real-time collaboration and exchange at convenient times for both the student teacher and classroom teacher.
  • The student teacher created a Google site for all unit information allowing ready access for students, parents, professors and teachers. (Example of a Unit Website)
  • The student teacher introduced the unit on our closed classroom social network as a way to invite parents and students into the unit study, unit website and conversation related to the unit.
  • Student teacher and classroom teacher communication is aided by the use of emails for procedural, quick-response communication.
  • In a similar way, the student teacher's advisor uses email and Google docs to communicate with us.  He has also joined the NING to stay abreast of classroom conversations and events.
Though the student teacher and I continue to meet regularly during the week to plan and learn, the use of technology has made the experience far richer promoting growth and learning for all.  I can't imagine hosting a student teacher without utilizing the wonderful technology that's available today.

How do you use technology to enhance the student teaching experience?  In what ways does the use of technology aid your work as a student teacher or advisor?  Thanks for joining the conversation.