Thursday, March 10, 2016

Guest Blog Post by LaRue Frederick

Recently, while having an impromptu conversations, I found myself listening as a teacher described her growth and transformation through the use of technology. I asked her to write a blog describing her journey. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

By: LaRue Frederick, 3rd grade teacher, Riverchase Elementary

 It was about this time ten years ago, when an email arrived in my Inbox that would become the starting point of an adventure guided by my students with endless possibilities.  I couldn't wait to receive my first round of technology.  It felt like Christmas when the five laptops, projector, digital camera, and video camera were delivered.  I was so excited and could not wait to use all of it. Then came the fear of what do I do with all of this.  I attended countless professional development opportunities where I listened to all of my amazing coworkers share how they were implementing technology into the classroom.  Every time I would leave with amazing ideas but felt overwhelmed attempting to follow through with my plans to implement technology.  Don't get me wrong I was doing the basics and my students were researching and producing various projects using Microsoft Office applications.
     Then one day all of that changed.  It was the day we had all anxiously awaited for.  The one to one initiative was just getting started and the Nooks were being delivered.  If felt like Christmas again as we all took our Nooks out of the box.  I had planned what I would do and say and then I stood there and nerves took over and I could not remember how to turn the Nook on.  One of my students said "Ms. Frederick just press the button with the line and circle."  I looked and still didn't know what they were talking about.  Then the student said "you know it is the one with the picture that all power buttons have on it like on a remote."  In that moment, my perspective about my job as a teacher changed drastically.  I realized that I was no longer the holder of all the knowledge which was a huge relief but was a facilitator in my classroom.   As time went on I still left pd opportunities and my brain felt like it was going to explode.  
   As frustrated as I would get at times managing a classroom of 19 kids each with a device and the wifi not working correctly, I knew I had to continue to work through the frustration to prepare my students for the world they were born into and to start helping them to obtain the skills they would need one day when they had a job.  Little by little and bit by bit things began to get easier and I began to think outside of the box.  All of this led me to where I am today and today I am in that place where I have climbed the mountain and I am starting to cross over the peak to the other side.  In January, I left the National Board Conference ecstatic because for the first time I left a technology pd session and I was able to keep up with the presenter and my head did NOT feel like it was going to explode.  
     Currently in my classroom, we use Google Classroom daily.  My students fluently use Google Drawing, Google Slides, and Google Docs.  We started using Google Sheets this week.  We are at the point, only three days later, where my students can effectively use Google Sheets in the form of their reading journals successfully with only a few questions.  The difference in five years ago and now is that instead of being the only teacher in the room there are 19-20 teachers in the room collaborating to help each other meet our needs.  

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