“Old wine can still be good wine, whether the bottle is new or not. What matters is whether classroom design meets the changing needs of a digital age. However, just adding technology to the mix, or delivering the same design online, does not automatically result in meeting changing needs.”
Automatically this metaphor grabbed my attention because who doesn’t love reading about wine in a class text? Then when I started to reflect more upon it, it really made me think of my past experiences with blended learning and technology integration. It made me wonder, “Have I been serving old wine just in a new bottle?”
I started my teaching career at a time that technology was already prevalent in the classroom. I used SeeSaw to communicate with parents and post pictures of daily activities. My students used it to post pictures or videos of their work to show their families. I no longer can use SeeSaw (which you may read about several times in my blog because I am still in mourning) but I do a similar thing now with Edsby.
For Daily 5 in ELA, the kids use the iPads to go on RazKids or epic books for their listen to reading center. In Math Daily 3, I usually have a math technology center for Math by Myself where the kids either go on the Zorbits app or I have a QR code they can scan that brings them to a game. I find that using these programs in my class helps to provide students with meaningful work while I work with small groups. I use Kahoot with my students, mainly in Math. It is a fun way to see where students are in their learning and to have them answer multiple questions while feeling like they aren’t working too hard. I use QR codes a lot basically to avoid having kids type in websites because it takes them forever (ha ha). When I taught split grades, I used QR codes often. When I was teaching one class, I had the other kids work on an assignment. The assignment would have QR codes that brought them to different things to read or videos to watch which had questions or activities that corresponded to them. This was an instance where I had to use a new bottle to meet the needs of my classroom. Teaching a split grade science and social studies is very hard when the outcomes do not overlap at all. This helped me to teach two classes simultaneously.
When we went to online teaching in March of 2020, I was definitely serving old wine in a new bottle. I sent work home over SeeSaw and also videoed myself doing lessons. I was so new to any kind of teaching fully online that I did not know where to begin and I kept it very similar to what I did in person, but uploaded it to the app. If I had known at the time that when went online, it would be for the rest of the school year, I think I would have tried to find better ways to evolve my teaching to match the changing needs of my students.
When it comes to technology use and blended learning in my classroom, I am still learning and trying new things. This reading really made me think about the technology I use and why I use it. Is it helping to better meet the needs of learners? Or is it doing the same thing as without technology but in a different format? I think it is important to reflect on my practice to ensure that what I am doing really does enhance my instruction and my students’ learning.
Hi Stacey, great blog post! I too had lots of the same thoughts as I read through the article as lots of the apps I use in the classroom were just worksheets but in a different format! As I continue to think about the article more, I think about how I could change it but find myself a little stumped with creating more meaningful opportunities to use tech and blended learning while teaching such young students!
Hi Stacey! I would also mourn the loss of Seesaw if I didn’t have it anymore. I too had a similar experience with teaching online. I think the fact that we kept online learning as similar as we could to what we would have been doing in the classroom was completely okay because we were emergency teaching and our lives were completely turned upside down. However, when actually given time and knowledge for planning an online r blended course, there are so many unique ways that we can do so while keeping students engaged.
Seesaw had to be the most used app of the Covid years. Our division is also using Edsby and I’m finding it to have many good qualities about it too. My students love Kahoot and honestly I do too. I enjoy the competitive aspect it allows for review but find students quickly clicking answers for time, rather than truly answering the questions with their learnings. I agree that blended learning makes it easier to teach in a split class. Enjoyed your post!
I really enjoyed reading your post. I am a huge fan of the Kahoot app. I think, through this app, I found my students more interactive, cooperative, and competitive because obviously, it’s a fun way to educate and evaluate the students and I enjoy looking at my students during those quizzes. and I also agree to put the QR code for certain tasks and readings. It’s quite easier and saves a lot of time. Blended learning actually provides a flexible learning environment for both teachers and students. A teacher can understand his/her student’s needs and a student can bring changes in their grades through continuous feedback from the teacher.