How did twenty years go by, and I somehow land at Charles Elementary School, and in a course about something called Canvas? I won’t bore you with my entire career story, but I would like to focus on my certainties as an educator. One thing I know for sure is that technology has enhanced my teaching from the moment my career began. The other is that embracing change isn’t that difficult if you don’t overthink it. Just jump!
In my first experience in 1997 as a fourth grade teacher, I plunged into a low socio-economic classroom that provided computers to students from a grant. Each student was given a PC to take home to complete assignments and involve their families in using technology. Little did I know, I would add computer technician to my job duties, visiting the homes of my students and trouble-shooting their PC issues. Wow! What a hands on learning adventure. I built relationships with the families, and grew my problem solving skills. Where would I be today without this beginning experience with technology? Would I have been a teacher that feared change and let it cripple my growth as an educator? Thankfully, I’ll never know. I kept jumping!
After a few years, the grant ended. But if monies were allocated to technology, I took advantage of my opportunities. Whenever I was approached to pilot anything digital, overthinking was not an option. My answer was always YES! Smart boards, document cameras, clickers, extra PCs, netbooks, and iPads found their way into my 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade classrooms to engage and empower my students. Somehow I didn’t have the fear that my colleagues felt when they heard the “T” word. I leapt!
Perhaps some teachers at my school groaned because with new technologies comes new programs to learn. New programs can mean new problems. Who has time for that? Learning and creating takes time, but blending technology can save time too. Knowing this, I became part of the corporation technology team and learned about GAFE, Adobe Spark, Book Creator, HyperDocs, Padlet, Kahoot It, Quizizz... The list goes on. This team experience helped build my resume and helped land my position at Charles today. My journey has brought me to using Canvas with first graders.
I never thought I could handle teaching students below the third grade, and I admit I thought that my days of using technology would decline with young learners. After all, they are learning to read, write, add, and subtract! I didn’t have much time to overthink it, and I jumped! My preconceived notions were all wrong. I CAN manage first graders, and they CAN use technology in ways I didn’t expect. My Canvas course has helped me create digital learning experiences geared for their needs. They CAN log in with complicated passwords, access websites, record videos, take pictures, submit assignments, and reply to messages. Who knows what else they are capable of? I know for certain I’m going to keep embracing change to find out!
This post was written by Kim Weber. She teaches 1st grade at Charles Elementary School in Richmond, Indiana. She taught at Fayette County School Corporation for 20 years in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Indiana University East and her master’s degree at Indiana Wesleyan University. She lives in Connersville with her husband, Art, and 2 teenage daughters. Boating on Brookville Lake is her favorite way to pass the time during the summer months.