This past week I had the pleasure of being mentored by R’ Gershom Tave of Teq. Teq which is located in Huntington Station, NY provides professional development to teachers in the area of Educational Technology. In addition, Teq is a reseller of many different types of Educational Technology. I have used many of R’ Gershom Tave’s parsha lesson activities for the SMART Board over the past couple of years. They can be downloaded at http://www.teq.com/erc-categories/viewcategory/171-judaic-studies-p.... His lesson activities are of high quality, they are interactive, and incorporate much curriculum integration. In addition, Teq is currently in the process of developing an iPad app for all of Torah which will utilize a multi-sensory approach to teaching. As part of my GAME plan, I decided to participate in a six hour intensive mentoring session which would be tailored to my personal professional needs.
Over the past two years, I have become quite comfortable with the technical skills of my SMART Board. Now I wanted to learn how to best use it as an educational tool in the classroom. Most of the time during my session was spent focused on concepts and content creation rather than technical skills. The following is a list of concepts that we discussed during my mentoring session. Although we discussed these topics and their importance in my utilizing my SMART Board to teach, these topics are applicable to every teacher using any type of Educational Technology in his or her classroom.
1) Have clear objectives of your lesson up on your board. What are you using the technology for? If teaching Chumash, is the objective translation, grammar/word attack, or reading comprehension?
2) Make sure the lesson objectives/skills are clear. Use the technology as a tool to teach those specific objectives/skills otherwise the technology can become a distraction.
3) Keep the technology simple. Do not take away the students’ power of imagination.
4) Use the technology to teach in a way that is multi-sensory using the VAKT (visual, audio, kinesthetic-tactile) pathways. The more pathways to the brain that the technology reaches, the greater the chance that the students retain the material/skills being taught.
5) Use the technology to deliver authentic instruction. Instead of being a teacher who dispenses the knowledge to the students, use the technology to enable the students to learn on their own while the teacher facilitates. For example, use technology to create opportunities in which the students will discover the skills/content that is being taught. Other examples of authentic instruction include: inductive reasoning, role-playing, simulations, and problem-based learning. I have already implemented the discovery method of learning in my lessons and can already realize and appreciate the positive impact when compared to teaching without it in previous lessons. In addition, it is beneficial to provide opportunities that enable the students to construct their own knowledge. The more opportunities that students have to connect with their learning, the greater chance they have make meaning out of it and retain what is being taught. At the same time, this inspires creativity within the students.
The mentoring session that I had was most definitely time (and money) well spent. It really was a change of mindset for me. I am looking forward to designing future lessons while focusing on the concepts that I have listed above.