Tuesday, June 7, 2016

An Interview With Nick Reilly

New Feature: Div1 Edtech in EPSB Interviews

This month we are starting a new monthly feature: educational technology interviews with classroom teachers. Our first interview is with EPSB teacher and occasional Div1 Edtech blogger, Nick Reilly. Nick currently teaches grade four and “junior high stuff, too”. You can find Nick as @NotebookNick on Twitter and on Google+.


The Interview


What technology skills should students have before coming into the grade(s) you teach?

Students should be able to log into their accounts, create Google Docs and have familiarity with the internet. (Nick blogged about this previously, check out Preparing For Division 2 for a more detailed answer).


Where do you get your educational technology ideas?

I definitely get ideas from more than one spot: Twitter, Google+, Professional Development Days, professional reading, colleagues and blogs.


What type of technology do you use in your school?

We have laptops, desktop computers, Chromebooks, 3D Printers, and Smartboards.


Imagine you only could keep one technology at your school. From the ones you listed about what would be the one you would keep? 

Chromebooks

How has technology changed the way you teach?

It defines the way I teach. It opens so many doors.

How do you decide what is worthwhile for students to learn through technology, given the literacy and skill challenges in your class?

With assistive technology playing a significant role for some of my kids, sometimes technology helps to overcome basic skill deficiencies and allows them to complete a task they normally would not be able to unassisted. Students choose to work with technology when given the choice, and often it is to help them in some capacity. Whether it is listening to something instead of reading it, or finding a different medium for information when researching, the end goal is still the same for most of my tasks. Completion of the task to the best of their abilities is the main goal. How students get there is up to them.


What apps or technology tools do you use? Are there any that you use for specific projects?

I use a number of apps from the Google suite (Classroom, Docs, etc.) and some that tie in nicely. We've recently been writing with Storybird, and using Prodigy and Mathletics for math.


What are your hopes for educational technology in the future in your classroom? Alberta? Canada? Globally?

I think Expeditions is a huge step in the right direction. Being able to give kids experiences they normally wouldn't be able to have is the right way to go about things. Technology as a bridge to bigger and better things for learners is where it should be going.


If you could add a question to this interview, what would it be?

What is one piece of technology would you like to try in your classroom that you haven't had an opportunity to yet?
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A huge thank you to Nick Reilly for being the first interviewee. His question has been added to the list of interview questions! If you would like to suggest someone we should interview, leave a comment! Check back in July for the next interview.