I am considered a School Based Technology Specialist in one of the nation’s largest school districts. I am much more that a Technology Specialist. I am a Testing Coordinator, who assigns and monitors district, state and national assessments to students. I interpret data and then consult with staff on the best way to reteach. I am an Information Technology Specialist who images computers, fixes printers, and problem solves software along with managing a large network in an elementary building. I am a Technology Coach who supports staff with integrating technology into their curriculum. I also teach 3rd-6th graders 10 hours a week while their teachers are in planning. I enhance what’s going on in their classroom by incorporating technology. I also coach high school cheer where I successfully implemented Google Apps into high school cheer by organizing paperwork electronically and implementing an electronic form in with to rank cheerleaders in order to place them on a team.
I had two goals in taking this class. First and foremost, to get graduate credits in order renew my license in 2022. I choose to take Quality Blended Learn because I have a co-worker who had such a narrow idea of what blended learning was that this co-worker made me self doubt myself and what I knew about blended learning. Therefore, I wanted to get a better grasp on what Blended Learning was all about.
Honestly, it was very hard to login the first two weeks. The class was not interesting to me and by the end of the first class most of my questions about Blended Learning were answered. I was right, Blended Learning was not this small narrow path of learning. As stated in one of our first readings from the ISTE article, Infographic: Ready, set, blend! “There are many degrees of blended learning. You can stick to one model or miss and match.” (Brichacek 2014) For me, I have always believed you mix and match until you find what the right fit for all students. What may be right for one may not be right for another student. The first session helped bring back my confidence and put out of my mind the employee who was so narrow minded.
While taking this class I reflected back to 15 years ago when I was getting my Master’s in Instructional Technology. I had all but 1 class that were face to face classes. During my graduate program I found that I really was a face to face learner as the one class I took online was my only B+, my only non A class in my Master’s program. I can now proudly say I am a much better online learner! In part because of my Master’s degree, I became a technology specialist and was introduced how to make online work. I now incorporate online learning into my own teaching so I feel I now have the skills and dedication it takes to be an online learner as you have to be dedicated to your own learning and diligent with your time. The only challenges I still face are getting online and responding to others post. This was my issue back in my Master’s program and it still persist. I am a get it done person, I usually have my assignment posted for week by Wednesday. The problem is, I then relax and forget about the class and in turn for get I have to respond to others. I will get into the next week’s worth of work and remember I was supposed to do a response. For me getting things done early, it is a pet peeve when others wait till the last moment. This can be an issue with online learning and responding to others. Some people are procrastinators and that doesn’t help those of us who like to work ahead.
I guess I need to set a reminder on Saturday’s to check and post, and maybe that is something I can incorporate into my blended learning class especially since I am using Google Classroom as a big part of my teaching. I could be using Google calendar to remind myself and students about responding.
My biggest take away from this class was the learning about synchronous and asynchronous learning. I had a big “A HA” moment watching Susan Cain’s TED talk The Power of the Introvert. I realized from watching the TED Talk that I am really an Introvert posing as an extravert. As a child, I was always very quiet. I did my work and didn’t make waves. I was known as a “Good Girl/The Teachers Pet”. Everyone knew me as those things. I didn’t speak out, I agreed with the teachers and did as I was asked. When I went to college I was away from my environment;. I pushed myself, I was the social chair of my building. I was the one who was in charge of all birthday celebrations in the dorm. On Friday and Saturday night it was my room people came to ask which bar was we were going to for the night.
After college I excelled at teaching: being asked to be the only multi-age teacher in my building; being the only teacher to go out and be trained on computers, so I could have my own set of computers in my classroom in 1998. After obtaining my Master’s I learned everything about being a technology specialist. I went out of my way to go above and beyond my job to learn things outside my position. I taught for SMART Technology, I was asked to train the immersion department on the new report cards, I was a voice in my school I received an adrenaline rush presenting. But, what do I really prefer? I really prefer to hide. I prefer to go home at the end of the day curl up in bed with a movie and my kids. I prefer low drama!
One topic that sparked my interest was learning about Introverts and Extroverts. I am really became interested in learning more about engaging Introverts and how they learn best. To do this, let’s look at the characteristics of Introverts and Extroverts.
- Appear reserved
- Slow to respond or take action
- Prefer to get to know a small group of people
- Feel most comfortable doing things alone
- Like the idea of things rather than actually doing the thing
- Spending time in large crowds or groups can be exhausting (Learning Styles of Introverts and Extroverts, 2019)
- Outgoing, people Persons
- Comfortable in large crowds
- Have a lot of friends
- Jump feet first into project often without thinking
- Are uncomfortable with quiet time (Learning Styles of Introverts and Extroverts, 2019)
In Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Cain explains, “At least one-third of the people we know are Introverts. They are the ones, who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams.” (Cain, 2013) If one-third of you class are Introvert do you not think it’s time schools start looking at this group and gearing education at least ⅓ of the way to the way they like to learn. For an Introvert, a Classroom with lots of moving pieces, color, and stimuli may be overwhelming.
My son who I consider an extreme Introvert recently took place in socratic seminar. If you don’t know what this is, in a Socratic Seminar activity, students help one another understand the ideas, issues, and values reflected in a text through a group discussion format. Students are responsible for facilitating their group discussion around the ideas in the text; they shouldn’t use the discussion to assert their opinions or prove an argument. Through this type of discussion, students practice how to listen to one another, make meaning, and find common ground while participating in a conversation. (Socratic Seminar, n.d.)
This type of activity for an Introvert can be like a fish in a fish bowl. My son who has had straight A’s in English for two semesters dropped to a D+ because the class structure changed and he now had to participate in a way that made him extremely uncomfortable. On a positive note, his teacher has done everything to work with him. During his study hall he spends most of time with his English teacher one on one. She has recently taken to Youtube to help find different way to help my son learn and communicate.
After understanding Introvert, let’s look at ways that they learn best. What I learned from my research is there are many steps to help Introverts learn to the best of their ability. Here are some helpful suggestion.
- Be positive: Being an Introvert can often come with a stigma or stereotypes attached to it. It is important to be encouraging students and not stereotype a student.
- Give them Time: Calling on Introverted students at random or making them go first in a group discussion or project can be stressful, feeling stressed will limit their full potential in participating. Introverts have lots to offer, they just do not want to be the e center of attention. This doesn’t mean they should not participating or doing less work. They need to be given time and space to answer questions on their own. Introverts need more time to process and think. Traditional schools do not always allow for extra time, so offering more free time during your lessons can help to engage Introverts. Introverts and Extroverts can both benefit from the space and time to work independently and explore.
- Give the Space: Introverts may need quiet spaces in a traditional classroom where they can get away to think and sort through their ideas. Providing seating in corners of the room offer a place to get away and think independently. Desk pulled away from group settings or providing a desk on the edge of a group instead of in the middle of the group. Also, over stimulating rooms provide distractions to students. Limit the visual stimulates in quiet spaces.
- Provide Digital Learning: Using online forums and discussion posts to get feedback from your students can take the pressure of them. This can also be a way to incorporate Extroverts while engaging Introverts. Providing a Flipped classroom approach where lessons my be taught online can also be a plus to Introverts.
- Provide Choice: When collaborating, Introverted students struggle most when they’re not comfortable with the peers in their groups, so letting them choose their groups enables them to thrive. Provide choice of presentation. For introverts a multimedia project may make it easier to get their points across. Also allowing choice of projects allows all student to take ownership.
- Empower: Createreate an environment where all students feel safe to speak out and make mistakes. When students are empowered, they feel more comfortable to share ideas and to get involved cooperatively. Celebrate Introverts’ strengths through verbal encouragement and consistent feedback will encourage even the most soft-spoken students to collaborate
Looking further into Digital Tools to support Introverts, as I am an Technology Specialist, I believe a blended learning or flipped classroom approach in which learners can first access content online and then participate in instructor-led training can be especially helpful for introverts. Having the option to access content online gives an Introvert time to prepare. By providing readings and reflection questions ahead of time, introverted learners have time to explore new content and think about their reaction to it before they have to share their thoughts with others.
In researching I found many digital tools that allow kids to have a voice without having to speak up in class. Google Apps, Google Classroom, Voxer, Flipgrid, Recap, Seesaw, Voicethread and Today’s Meet are just a few of the tools that can be used to accommodate Introverts. Currently I use Google Classrooms in my flipped classroom approach. I layout a whole quarter of Instruction, Research and Creation. Students participate in online learning off-site in place of traditional homework and then attend class for face-to-face, teacher-guided practice or projects.
At Home Students:
- Watch Instructional Videos
- Presentation Creation
- At School School:
- Knowledge check from at home work (Whole Class Teacher lead instruction)
- Question Answer Student/Teacher (Can be whole group or small group)
- Individual project
- Group Collaboration
- One to One with teacher
This approach allows students to work at their own pace. I think this approach leads itself to Introverts as it really is an equal part of at home and school face to face interaction. I only hope to increase this type of learning taking into account what I have now learned about Introverts.
- 5 Classroom Strategies That Help Introverts and Extroverts Do Their Best Work. (2019, February 04). Retrieved from https://www.commonsense.org/education/articles/5-classroom-strategies-that-help-introverts-and-extroverts-do-their-best-work
- Cain, S. (n.d.). The power of Introverts. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts
- Cain, S. (2013). Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. New York: Broadway Paperbacks
- Granneman, J. (2018, October 08). If You Relate to These 10 Signs, You’re Probably an ‘Extroverted’ Introvert. Retrieved from https://introvertdear.com/news/extroverted-introvert-signs/
- Infographic: Ready, set, blend! (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/In-the-classroom/Infographic:-Ready,-set,-blend!
- Kiedaisch, J. (2018, June 06). 10 Ways to Support Introverts in the Classroom. Retrieved from https://www.weareteachers.com/support-introverts-in-the-classroom/
- Landfair, B. (2018, March 19). Introvert-Friendly Cooperative Learning. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/article/introvert-friendly-cooperative-learning
- Learning Styles of Introverts and Extroverts. (2019, January 17). Retrieved from https://onlineprograms.ollusa.edu/ma-in-counseling/resources/learning-styles-of-introverts-and-extroverts
- Planning for Engagement: 6 Strategies for the Year. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/planning-for-engagement-6-strategies-joshua-block
- Shulman, R. D. (2018, October 24). Why We Need To Pay Attention To Young Introverts. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/robynshulman/2018/10/22/why-we-need-to-pay-attention-to-young-introverts/#48c44ab4630e
- Socratic Seminar. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/teaching-strategies/socratic-seminar
- (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nacarchitecture.com/naclab/introverts-oasis-classrooms.html?option=2#