by Anna Clifford
Napkins and individual packages of cheese and crackers were handed out to the group of preservice teachers. The professor asked them to couple with a partner and make a Cheesy-Crackette! One partner watched and took notes, while the other made the masterpiece, as instructed. However, there seemed to be some congestion with one group that gained the attention of the entire class.
Aynne explained, “I have never seen one of those things, and I don’t know what to do with it! I am lost!”
The calming partner chuckled in dismay and stated, “You have never seen a package of cheese and crackers and you have never experienced the red stick?” Girl, just grab the red stick and smear it on! It is all good! ”
Bewildered eyes cut across the class of preservice teachers in the instructional technology class. “What is a teacher suppose to do? “ asked the professor. There responses included: show her how, draw her a picture, let her figure it out, and give her some directions. “ Look at you! Let’s give her some step-by-step directions,” concluded the professor.
Discussion continued, as they compared and contrasted their directions and edited and finalized a class JobAid for making a Cheesy-Crackette.
Will it work? Who should try it? Aynne was selected to follow the JobAid. Her peers watched as she made her very first Chessy-Crackette. “It is delicious!” she sounded.
The conversation continued, as the preservice teachers began to close the teaching-learning gap. They agreed the concise JobAid http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~smflanag/edtech/basic.htmworked for Aynee and a job aid could be posted on a computer, as needed to close the computer skill’s gap, as well. In addition, teacher selected videos from YouTube (e.g., How to Insert Pictures in Word 2007) or TeacherTube, (e.g., School House Rock: A noun is a person, place or thing), and using the Help aids (e.g., Microsoft Office Word Help) within the software, were suggested.
“It just depends on the student and the student’s needs. So is this like … learner adaptations or differentiated instruction?” questioned another.
Guest blogger: Anna Clifford is an associate professor in the School of Education at Union University. She works extensively with preservice teachers in early childhood education, as well as, instructional technology. Her background in Montessori education has shaped her philosophy. Her research and interest focus on technology integration in the PreK-8 teaching-learning environment, particularly, its impact on the professional growth of teachers and preservice teachers. She works along the side of colleagues and preservice teachers, planning and implementing effective technology integration into the current content curriculum. She completed her EdD in Instructional Design and Technology from The University of Memphis, where she is an adjunct professor.