Monday, October 3, 2016

An Interview With Alicia Kuzio Part One

Perspective From A Beginning Teacher

I have had the privilege of knowing Alicia Kuzio from almost the start of her teaching career. She was a nine-week student teacher in a grade one class I taught health to for thirty minutes once a week. We have kept in touch via Google+ and email since. What struck me about Alicia from the start was her positive attitude, her interest in developing a PLN and her desire to be a life-long learner. I was thrilled to have a chance for a face-to-face chat this summer.

About Alicia

Teaching is Alicia’s second career. Her first career was publishing and marketing but it did not fill her heart the way teaching does. She wants to make an impact on the world. I think after reading this interview, you will realize that she does.

Alicia is currently teaching grade three in the English program in a German Bilingual School. This is her third year teaching. In her short teaching career she has taught everything from grades one to six, including French as a second language (FSL). She has started an environmental club that created a school garden at her school which was supported by grants through Evergreen Canada and Canadian Wildlife Federation. They actually provided Alicia with plants that attract pollinators! Check out the Canadian Wildlife Federation documentary at the Muttart Conservatory which her class was a part of last year.

You can find her on Google+. To quote Alicia, “in the early years of teaching, it is so vital to be connected to other educators with varying backgrounds and levels of experience to share ideas, resources, advice. We are better together.” So please add her to your PLN!

The Interview

What technology skills should students have before coming into grade three?
I would like students to begin to develop their problem solving/troubleshooting skills. For example, turning a device on/off when they encounter problems and interacting with their peers prior to asking for my assistance. I have found exchanging information and sharing ideas helps create an encouraging and collaborative learning community.

Other key skills:
  • independence with logging into a device
  • an awareness of password confidentiality
  • a growing understanding of digital citizenship

Where do you get your educational technology ideas?
I am grateful for the diversity in the learning communities online that allow me to connect with other educators and share ideas and resources. I like the immediacy and reach of Google+ and the ability to be a part of specific learning communities and connected educators and other inspiring individuals.

Teaching can be isolating so I think having a combination of an online and a physical community of people makes all the difference.

My colleagues at Rideau Park have been incredibly supportive and collaborative. Our leadership culture fostered this community of sharing ideas and resources. We are very fortunate to have an  Edmonton Public Library (EPL) right across the street from our school. They have fostered a collaborative and supportive relationship with our school.  Everyone in my class received their own library card. EPL facilitated a makerspace in our classroom last year with Makey Makey and LittleBits Technology. By having the EPL programs come into your school, you are having them promote literacy (and digital literacy) as well as their educational programs that at the heart create a place for people to connect and have access to tools they may otherwise not have access to.

What type of technology do you use in your school?
Chromebooks, iPads, Smartboards and desktop computers.

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

Based on your response to the question above. Why would you keep that technology?
I am interested in the usability of Chromebooks and how they support the diverse needs of my students to create, innovate, communicate and explore. They are great for working with Google - Gmail, Docs, Drive, and everything is easily stored in the cloud.

What is one piece of technology would you like to try in your classroom that you haven't had an opportunity to yet?
It would be fascinating to try a 3D printer to connect with our grade three Testing Materials and Designs Science unit.

What is something new or different you are planning to try this year?  
I really enjoyed learning about the Global Read Aloud last year on your blog. I am interested in the opportunity to connect and collaborate with a global community of educators. I love that the simple goal is: “one book to connect the world”. It is a beautiful way to weave global citizenship, literacy and technology together.

Check back next week for part two of my interview with Alicia.