Thursday, September 1, 2016

An Interview With Shannon Pasma Part One

Perspective From The Park

I recently sat down with Shannon Pasma at Cafe Bicyclette for a chat about everything grade two and educational technology. We chatted for almost three hours! So here is part one (of two) of an abridged version of our chat.

A Little Bit About Shannon

Shannon teaches in the Elk Island School Division and is going into her fourth year of teaching grade two (her favourite grade). She has also taught grade one and five. Her school is one-to-one Chromebooks grades two to six. She has five iPads in her class and access to sign out a whole cart of iPads as needed. You can find her on Google+ and on Twitter as @ShannonPasma (and her class account is @misspasmasclass). She is the co-author of an e-book for grade two social studies which she created as a part of her Masters in Educational Technology in Elementary Education. You may have read her blog Elementary Elements or you may have seen her on TV last year.

The Interview

Ideally, what technology skills should students have before coming into grade two?

It would be great if they knew how to log onto a Chromebook already. I would really like if they knew how to use some basic iPad apps such as Explain Everything or how to record something; that would be huge. I use PicCollage a lot, so it would be great if they knew how to insert a picture or be able to do some typing.

Where do you get your educational technology ideas?
Shannon Pasma at ERLC's 2016 
Educational Technology Innovation 
Summit with Christine Quong and 
Karla Holt.

I brainstorm with Karla Holt and Christine Quong; we text each other a lot. I talk with the techie people at school. Online, sometimes I go on Twitter to get ideas but I never really tweet about them. Seeing some of your stuff that you did. Or out of my own brain or from ideas that students have. 

When using my e-book with the students I see how they have become really comfortable with the technologies used in it. We made it so the apps were repeated over and over again so the students get really comfortable with them. So my students have become really comfortable saying “can I do this and do this for it”, so lots of it [edtech ideas] comes from them bringing it up.

What hashtags do you follow on Twitter?

I follow:

What type of technology do you use in your school?

We have iPads, Chromebooks, SMARTBoards and webcams. Like you, I personally got an ozobot. I got a grant for MakerSpace stuff. We are starting a MakerSpace in the fall. My Dot and Dash is coming at some point this summer. I also got the Bits Box. Then there is a tricaster that we are sharing with another school for school announcements. 

So you have iPads and Chromebooks in your class. If you had to keep one and get rid of the other, which of the two would you keep?

Oh. I use both ALL the time. Well, the Chromebook apps are getting a lot better than they used to be, so I’ll say Chromebooks. 

Based on your response to the question above, why would you keep that technology?

Chromebooks are easier for inquiry. I love Read and Write for Google and it’s harder to access on an Apple device. It is easier to access to save and store things on a Chromebook than an iPad.

You might be too young for this question to apply to you but how has technology changed how you teach?

Oh lots! They were installing SMARTBoards the first month of my first teaching contract. It [a SMARTBoard] went from wow to meh. Now I use it as my whiteboard pretty much and to project things off my computer. So I think it [educational technology] has gone from engaging kids up here [on the SMARTBoard] to now you have to actually change your teaching and tailor it so the kids can be successful so it’s not everybody is doing the same thing. Technology has changed teaching so that everyone can do “it”, whatever “it” is. They can choose how to be successful and use technology, or not.

In my classroom, if I partner them up, they are really good at socializing using technology. If I partner them up with a paper activity, not so much because they are not sharing the same thing. There is more conversation when they are on technology whereas they hunker down with a piece of paper and keep to themselves.

I had a student with a learning disability two years ago. She was very tech savvy. She was reading well below grade level. She wouldn’t write anything down because she couldn’t. She would say “can you film me now” and she would talk off the top of her head and it was fabulous. She knew her stuff. If you told her to write it down on a piece of paper she wouldn’t have known her stuff because she wouldn’t have been able to get it out. Technology levels the playing field.

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

I do Daily Five. When students are listening to reading they might use technology like Epic!. Sometimes they would do word work on the iPads. I do not have them do free writing on the Chromebook or that much literacy stuff with technology. They need to sit and talk with each other and they still need to do a print book. So during literacy time, honestly, it was not much technology when we were reading or writing. When we did projects or research then they would use technology.

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

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