Week 4: A Mindset for Embedding Tech

Embedding technology into SEN is always a rabbit hole. There are so many different things to try to help students with their executive functioning skills. Finding ones that work for you and your students is important, but also something that changes each year as the needs of your students also change year to year.

In addition to using Reading Plus & Khan Academy on a regular basis to help my students set goals and close skill gaps to achieve grade-level mastery, Trello was another site we found useful in a classroom that is more small group or 1:1 to keep track of what needs to be completed for their general education classes or the APP Ace Your Self-Study to help students with scheduling their time. Whereas for a pull-out English for Academic Purposes class, I found Duolingo for Schools, incredibly helpful, especially when not all students in your small group share a mother tongue language.

When supporting Humanities and Math courses I found Good Reads & Desmos: an online graphing program are another two technology components that really should be added to any classroom lessons; that is both incredibly reliable and easy to use.

What other handy go-to sites would you recommend? These are only a drop in the bucket to what is out there.

I always have my fall back website of Super Teacher Tools that has allowed me to create and save customized review games for any class that students need help in. Other tech-rich lessons I’ve planned for usually happen directly after our Fall and Spring MAP testing. Once my students have completed their Reading, Language, and Math exams, we dissect the scores and set goals with many of the wonderful reports that NWEA offers: Student Growth and Student Profile pages to name a few. We are able to identify the areas where skill gaps exist along with celebrating their strengths. This NWEA Response to Intervention is an easy to use site that helps you target the specific skills and standards students need to focus on to build their confidence in the general education classroom and perform on grade level.

Here is a helpful PDF that explains more about MAP Skills Navigator.

What really stuck out to me this week was the importance of ensuring all lessons include:

Relevant real-world tasks & Authentic Audiences

I find any lessons that have an authentic audience, such as a project with a final parent expo, advice columns for younger grades, or self-advocacy/self-awareness projects for transition years (their next year’s teachers will be reading them) are more meaningful and students tend to put more effort into them. I would love to start incorporating more of a larger audience like things on-line to really engage students in what interests them most.

The example lesson plans from fellow special educators around portfolios incredibly useful and gave me great ideas on how to tweak my own student video reflections. The site Teachers Pay Teachers is yet another example where I would love to be a contributor and not just a lurker (with the occasional interaction).

The ted talk: The Power of belief – mindset and success | Eduardo Briceno | TEDxManhattanBeach does a great job of explaining how hard work, focus, and persistence are all byproducts that are critical for success and that when addressing student’s levels of grit and persistence, we, as educators must address the mindset the underlies the task at hand.

This is all backed by the research of Carol Dweck’s growth mindset. I find her Ted Talk on The Power of Believing that you can Improve even more inspiring.

But whether it’s fixed or growth mindset isn’t what truly matters, but the ability to recognize when you have each one and how to switch it that allows you to be reflective and grow.

What things cause you to have a Fixed Mindset? Change? Technology? How can you overcome this, or better yet, switch it to growth?