Interview with Mr. Spinelli
Mr. Spinelli teaches 1st grade in the Bronx of New York. He has a large class size of 30 students, who mostly come from low-income households. Despite these setbacks, he still effectively incorporates technology into his classroom. This information makes me confident that no matter what, I will be able to incorporate technology into my instruction in the future. He says his students are very excited and knowledgeable about technology, he even said they are so used to touch screens, that they sometimes press the screen of a computer and confused on how to use a mouse. This made me realize that students are growing up in this age of technology and that it is important that educators keep up with it.
In his classroom he uses:
- the smart-board
- a chromebook cart
- a computer
The school offers:
- a computer lab
- a technology course taught by a technology teacher
Students go to the computer lab and have a technology class taught by a different teacher. Mr. Spinelli says he could teach it if he wanted to, but he felt that the technology teacher was more equipped to do so. It is important to know your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher and know what you can and cannot do effectively.
Because of the large class size, he sometimes has students bring in their own iPads from home (iPads are their favorite device to use). He allows some time to play, but the rest of the time they are used for educational tasks. It seems important to let the students get their distractions out at some point because technologies can be so stimulating, they may require a break.
If students do not bring in their iPads from home, he groups students up and names one student the ‘captain’, they are the only one to actually touch the device, while everyone else still participates. This reminded me of students having certain tasks in groups (recorder, reader etc). This is effective because everyone gets a turn to be in charge of pressing the iPad. If students are misusing the device, they are to stop using it immediately. I think it is important to have a no tolerance rule, because technology is so easy to become distracted on and it should be enforced that it is being used for educational purposes.
The school itself is very technology driven. The principle of the school is young and encourages technology use in the school. The upper grades (4-8) only use for their assignments, they also use remind.com to communicate to home. The younger grades (Pre-K-3) use to communicate with families. Parents enjoy using these tools because they are much simpler for them, reminders come in as a text and can be responded to quickly.
Lastly, Mr. Spinelli has many students in his class that have an IEP. Because of this, he is unable to use technology to differentiate instruction from these students because there are not enough tools for all of them. Technology is definitely helpful in differentiating instruction, but he must find a different way to do so because there is not enough available to meet all of the students needs in that way.