katherine zagotsis
Highly Accomplished Teacher. AAC Communication Partner & Advocate. Mum of one. Accidental Leader. Reflectionist, Mentor and life-long learner.

Engaging Now! 7.4

Demonstrating 4.5

How I Integrate ICT

October 31, 2017 | Focus Areas: | | | | | | | | | | | | | 0 COMMENTS

How I integrate ICT

I’ve been having a lot of conversations and thoughts lately about ICT.  At times, I’ve definitely been the learner, especially when it comes to things like Microsoft 365 products that my site is not currently using.  I’ve become curious, so have started to ask questions and to play.  I can see a lot of potential, not so much with students, but instead to share resources with and between colleagues at my site.  At the moment the way this is done is to upload documents at work on the end computer, to the J drive.  I just think we could be doing a lot more.  I’ve then become a little frustrated that I’m not yet competent with new/updated programs like Sway and OneNote.

I’m working on this and have signed up to the Microsoft Innovative Educator program.  I’ve completed my profile, but now need to work out which learning I’m going to complete.

I’ve been the expert when someone from our I.T team brought me an iPad with ProloQuo2go on it after a student had changed all the folders to a different colour and I was able to change it back, turning guided access back on afterwards. When another teacher was having trouble with uploading her hours to the Teacher’s Registration Board and emailing herself a photo, I was able to easily help her.  Until recently, I was the only teacher at my site using Twitter professionally.  I’ve since helped a more experienced colleague to sign up after I explained that by doing so she would be able to see the learning I was doing while I was in Melbourne, almost in real time. I need to help her to understand how to use it a little better, but at the moment she’s quite happy following a few users and liking their tweets. I was excited to see she’d figured out how to retweet the other day! I was also the first teacher to explore using SeeSaw as an assessment tool two years ago.  Because of things like this, I am seen as a leader of ICT at my site.  I’m not entirely sure of how true that is outside of my context though. I feel like I need upskilling in several areas. But then someone in my PLN pointed out to me: “Your teaching looks different to mainstream teaching so of course your use of tech. looks different.  Your goals are different so your tools are different.” (This is the problem about having excellent educators in your PLN, they make you re-think your practice…that you’re probably better than you think you are).  Which made me realise that I haven’t written much at all about the ICT I’ve already integrated into my classroom.  I use four main apps: ProloQuo2go, SeeSaw, Clicker 6 and Reading Doctor. I won’t go into too much detail about ProloQuo2go as I feel like I’ve covered it in several other posts, but I will say that it’s the tech. that I use the most. I’m using my iPad so much lately to model communication that I’m having to charge it daily. I don’t use SeeSaw to its full potential, mainly due to not having access to wi-fi. I use it to take photos/videos of student work and to keep parents in the loop. I’d love for my students to have the opportunity to upload their own learning with support, but at the moment this isn’t possible.

I need to keep in mind the Activity function of SeeSaw and explore this further, to see if I can make it functional for my students.

All of the technology that I use in the classroom is integrated into my program.  It’s never a one-off event.  If a child has difficulty holding a pencil and writing, I see what other tools I can use to help them become more independent in their learning.  I’m very much about finding out what the strengths of my students are.  So if I’ve observed them use an iPad to take a photo, have a meltdown when they couldn’t access YouTube or type words on ProloQuo2go about their interests, all independently, that shows me that I can use more I.T in their learning goals.  This can sometimes be initially challenging to explain to parents, especially if their child has the goal of writing their own name for years.  I just think though, that being able to type your own name independently is far more empowering than someone holding your hand to write it for you.  In the same way, I think it’s better if my students are able to select words to create sentences rather than me asking them to trace them.

Clicker 6

The video below shows one of my students using Clicker 6. He has Autism, ADHD, Dyspraxia and Dysgraphia. Dyspraxia can affect gross motor and fine motor skills. While my student is able to swing on ropes and climb ladders, he is unable to tie shoelaces or write legibly. Dysgraphia, which can often co-occur with Dyspraxia can often be misunderstood as a student having poor handwriting.  It’s actually more to do with the information processing and motor planning required to write by hand.  This is certainly true of my student. If I ask him to write his name, his grip on the pencil is very light. His letter formation is correct, however he writes them on top of each other, making the word unrecognisable. He then looks at me as if to say ‘What happened?’

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Name-writing is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

It’s completely different for him when I get him to type sentences on Clicker 6. You can see that he’s using the inbuilt visual and verbal cues, increasing his independence and lowering his frustration dramatically.

I use this app with all of my students with varying levels of support. The student above as you can see is very independent and I have two others who are able to do the same. For some students, I can use gestural prompts to show them the correct word to choose and for others I use hand over hand assistance. (I like to move forward from hand over hand assistance as soon as possible as it’s the least independent prompt, but for some students it’s necessary).

I need to look at downloading more sentence sets that are relevant to student interests. At the moment they are quite generic.

Reading Doctor

This is my third year of including Reading Doctor in my program and I’ll probably continue to do so, at least for the next few years. I’ve asked my SSO to run it 1:1 with students on the Smartboard this year, but it’s also available as an app. What I really like about Reading Doctor is the differentiation that exists within the program itself. That means that some of my students will be practising phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge, while others are working on decoding and word-building.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The photo to the left is one of my students engaging with Reading Doctor. He has Autism, Chromosome 19 deletion and Chron’s disease. I’m working with him to identify letter sounds. He is given a verbal prompt by the program and then needs to touch the relevant letter. He still requires support to do this and was dropping to the ground as he was trying to avoid the task. With encouragement, he was able to complete one session. This is a student who is still working on his postural security and motor planning, so I was really pleased with this.  Like Clicker 6 above, three students are able to use this program independently, some with gestural prompts and a couple with hand over hand assistance.

Like much of what I do in my classroom, my use of technology is differentiated to best meet the needs of my students.  Every student uses Reading Doctor at least once a week, ProloQuo2go is modelled/used daily and Clicker 6 is just another activity in the trays of three students.  That’s not to say that I don’t have difficulties with using tech.  The iPads are accepted as being used for communication and learning only, whereas I do have students who can get quite fixated on the Smartboard.  I think this is due to not being able to use it earlier this year as I used to have a student who was absolutely obsessed over it, exhibiting very challenging behaviour whenever it was someone else’s turn.

I need to start using the timer and turn-taking visuals again.

Reading this post back, I can see that I’m doing well in implementing ICT in English.  What I need to focus on now, is to explore what apps and resources are available for Maths.




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