Collaborative Teaching Inquiry

Teacher Inquiry and Knowledge Building Cycle 

to Promote Student Outcomes

This past year our school purchased 15 Chromebooks and 10 mini IPads. As a result my teaching partner, Chantelle Davies and I had the fortune or misfortune, depending on one’s point of view, of being the first to use this technology in our school. We were going to have to teach children how to use Chromebooks despite our lack of knowledge of the new tool. Thus we began our journey into collaborative teacher inquiry.  The need for the students to learn about Chromebooks was the catalyst for us to learn about Chomebooks, Google Drive, and to revisit our approach to teaching.
The cycle in the diagram, Teacher Inquiry and Knowledge Building Cycle to Promote Student Outcomes, illustrates the process we went through as a team.  In the end we were able to teach students how to research, collaborate, and create; while engaged in their own inquiry learning process.  As we reflected on our work, we realized that our students needed more exposure to 21st century technologies and that lead Chantelle and I to further explore the use of technology in the classroom.  

To further explore 21st century technology, we as a team, decided to enroll in Integration of Information and Computer Technology in Instruction Part 2.  Our goal for this course was to apply our new knowledge to improve student learning.  We originally thought that we would collaborate together while taking the course or in other words, discuss tasks and support each other.  Once we enrolled and discussed the course with our instructor, we discovered that we would be able to continue with our collaborative teacher inquiry.  What this means is that Chantelle and I were able to use this course as a way of meeting the students needs for the upcoming school year.

In order to meet the needs of our students, we looked at the tasks and requirements for our course and modified them (as best as we could within the confine of the course)  to reflect the learning outcomes we expected for our students.  We have been given control of the direction of our learning, while keeping our students in mind.  This has allowed us to focus on the tasks and to go deeper into content.  We are no longer covering the material, but are considering and reflecting on how this will enhance student learning.  Our reflection has lead to many, MANY hours of discussion of what our students needs are, what learning they need, and what learning or inquiry we will proceed with.  Sometimes our reflective thinking has us so caught up in what is best for our students, that we have gotten side tracked from completing tasks for this course.  The challenge has been how to fit what we want to learn in greater depth in with the modules required by the university  and the OCT.  We are grateful that our instructor, Zoe Branigan-Pipe has been patient as we muddle through this.  We have decided to explore specific tools and resources that will be used and applied in our classrooms in a way to create new tasks that challenge our students to think deeper, create and collaborate more often.

Click to find image source
As we entered this journey of learning, we both realized we entered this process at different points. Our comfort, knowledge, and abilities with technology differ. By applying these entry points to the SMAR model we can see where our focus needs to be and what our next steps are to move to a new level.  To learn more about the SMAR model follow the attached link: SAMR Model.  In the past, I have been primarily using technology to show content through projectors and have students research (substitution).  My partner had begun to use technology to do blogging, record assessment, and create interactive smart board lessons (augmentation). Collaboratively, we used technology that allowed our students to work together in order to share information (augmentation).   Though our entry points differ in regards to our knowledge, our end goal is common to use technology to redefine tasks. 

We are working together to grow our knowledge and learn from and with each other. Prior to the start of this course we were reflecting on what we had done with the Chromebooks and IPad minis and we were brainstorming ways that we could help our students get more out of their use next year. Already, this course has given us time to think about lessons that redesign our original pen and paper tasks of the past; and in some cases, we have started to plan student tasks that will help us transform student learning. Hopefully it will be as successful for us when we put theory into practice.

How has collaboration changed your teaching practice?  Where and when do your best conversations with your teaching partner take place?

Disclaimer: This post was co-written by myself and my teaching partner, Chantelle Davies. It has been adapted for each of our blogs.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. This is a fantastic story and reflection of how you are changing your methods of teaching and learning to meet a 21st Century population. I am both inspired and proud to be working with you and am excited to be part of this journey. I am going to tweet this out using #hwdsb and #ontedu tag so that others can see how open-minded and enthusiastic you are to use new and changing tools.
    I am also happy that you have figured out a way to share this journey in a collaborative nature. To do so, and meet each each others needs is hard and requires sacrifices. You are both so fortunate to have this gift.