About: Shelly Fryer is a teacher, author, speaker, and advocate for children. Fryer currently teaches 3rd and 4th grade students at an elementary school in Oklahoma that is specifically for homeless children called Positive Tomorrows. Fryer has a passion for helping her students love learning and believes that her classroom should be engaging and full of choices. She teaches in a classroom where every student gets access to an iPad and believes that students should believe that their voices matter and can reach others outside of the classroom. Fryer has received lots of recognition, awards, and attention nationally for her integration of digital media into her classroom. She presents this information regionally and nationally at education and educational technology conferences.
Technology 101 Skills for Teachers: With a growing number of schools acquiring technology tools like iPads, Shelly Fryer talks about how important it is to define what is important for teachers working to integrate technology in the classroom. She argues that the importance is using the technology tools to enhance and amplify student creativity. Instead of just having students access an app, teachers should be making and creating, and then share their digital creations both inside and outside the classroom. With this in consideration, Fryer explores multiple important technology apps and what would be important in teaching an hour and a half Technology 101 Skills for Teachers workshop for teachers. Below are some of the most important things that Fryer talked about in her blog post:
Integrating iPads into classroom: Teachers need their own iPads to use and should be supported as well as encouraged to use these iPads to make and create, because this may not come naturally for adults or young students. Fryer has found that even though kids are learning technology skills more readily than some adults, that they are reluctant to download creative iPad apps unless they are encouraged or required to do so by teachers. Fryer has also found that it is very important for teachers to develop “app literacy” so that they know what is possible and what apps are appropriate for their classrooms. On top of this, teachers should create “channels” for saving and sharing student digital projects. Fryer uses a classroom website: classroom.shellyfryer.com which is a Google Site, that she uses as a home base for technology integration every day at her school. App Literacy: Share Square Hamburger Save to Camera Roll Workflow Home Button Screenshot Photo Roll
IPADPALOOZA: Fryer and her husband shared a mini-keynote at the iPadPalooza Conference where they talked about how students should share their work digitally both inside and outside the classroom. This is something that Fryer is very passionate about because she believes that encouraging students to share the things they are making and creating gives them a purpose because they know that other people will see their work. It also gives the students a voice, which is important because students need to know that they matter and that they will be heard outside the classroom. Fryer believes that all students should have complete participation in environment and culture even if there are limitations on ways that their work can be shared. If a student has not given permission for their work or videos/pictures of themselves to be shared publically, the teacher can find other ways to make them feel included. For example, putting a Darth Vader mask on a “red shirt” so they can share outside the classroom. Last, Fryer and her husband talk about some of the things that teachers need to remember when sharing student work publically: parameters and channels. Parameters consist of the permission from the student and parents and channels consist of where it can actually be shared. This can be a community page which uses technology as an amplifier for innovation and student work, classroom website, etc.
My Classroom I hope to bring a lot of these ideas in to my future classroom. In the Social Studies classes I experienced in high school/middle school, most of them were lecture based. Unfortunately, Social Studies is a class that is really hard to avoid lecture because of the amount of information that the students must learned. But with these digital tools, I will be able to spice up my lessons so that students are not always sitting and listening to me rambling off facts. By doing this I will hopefully have a more excited group of students that actually enjoy learning about History.
My Take Away The thing I resonated with the most is the idea of sharing the students’ work outside the classroom. I think it is so important to make students start feeling like they have a voice early because then they work harder, become more involved, and feel apart of their community. Being in the secondary field, I strongly believe in students getting involved in their community and giving students the tools to be active and informed citizens. This would be a great stepping stool for that because it will give the community a look in to what they are working on in school. I also love how Fryer believes that technology tools should be used to enhance and amplify student creativity. I think this is something very important to remember, because using technology in the classroom is as beneficial as teachers make it. A teacher that uses it for creativity, engaging activities, and projects is going to create more meaningful learning than a teacher that just has a student working in an app. One thing I really learned was that even though I feel experienced with technology, there is always more I can learn how to do. She had so many apps and resources to use on the iPad that I had never even heard of, so it is important for me to keep growing alongside the growth of technology in the classroom. Last, I found it truly inspiring that Fryer teaches at a school specifically for homeless children. What an amazing way to get students educated and passionate about something. Fryers’ passion for education is why I chose to become a teacher, because someday I will get to work with some truly amazing colleagues. I hope I can bring the passion, joy, and creativity that Fryer uses in her classroom everyday. I truly enjoyed her blog and encourage everyone to check it out!
Check It Out
Check out Shelly Fryer because she is such an inspiring educator and everyone could benefit from her ideas, examples, and experiences!