How often do you use technology?
Do you use your GPS for directions? Do you use the Starbucks app to order and pay for your drink through your phone? When someone doesn’t know the answer to a question, have you ever given them the advice “Google it”? Or maybe you are using technology now, as you’re reading this post. As adults, we use technology every single day. We have the world at our fingertips – everything is just one click away. With that being said, technology makes knowledge accessible. I recently listened to Valerie Truesdale, Chief Technology, Personalized Learning, and Engagement Officer for our school district (@ValerieTruesdal), speak about the use of technology in schools. It was truly eye opening and amazing to hear her thoughts on how children need to explore their natural curiosities, and that technology makes knowledge accessible. If we teach students how and where to find answers to their questions, imagine how many more opportunities for learning could be realized if every student had access to technology?
How often do your students use technology?
Whether it’s snapchat, twitter, video games, searching for the best price for new Jordan’s, Skyping your abuela in El Salvador, or even typing a fan letter to a famous artist, students are always engaged and online. Since this is a very real everyday occurrence in our generation, why do we send kids to school and immediately say “ Put your phone away when you enter my class”? This is the very technology they use to research, take notes, pictures, videos, and yes, occasionally text on and goof off. (which…we all do… me included)
If students have access to technology at school, if it is used to enhance classroom instruction, imagine what new connections and learning can occur! Thomas and Brown say that “learning environments must embraced and engender change” (Thomas & Brown, 2011). This same concept applies in our schools, all across the country. We need to keep up with the times. Technology can be viewed as a tool instead of a distraction. It all depends on how you use it.
How do you use technology in your classroom?
Renee Hobbs states that there are 5 core competencies as fundamental literacy practices. Those include accessing, analyzing, creating, reflecting, and acting on what you have learned or are studying (Hobbs, 2011).
As a teacher, if these components are included in your lessons, the use of technology will have a purpose. Additionally, your lessons will have deeper meaning and will encourage higher levels of thinking from your students.
This week I wrote a lesson that I can use next school year with my second graders in math. It is a lesson about data collection and analysis. In short, students become owners of a company and have to make important business decisions in order to make a difference in their community. This lesson involves several 21st century skills and Hobbs’ core competencies such as creating, collaborating, analytical thinking and communicating.
In the lesson, students are required to:
- Create a survey using Google Forms to poll their clients.
- Analyze the data using Google Sheets.
- Create a visual representation of the data using Google Docs.
- Present conclusions and discoveries to their peers.
Feel free to view the lesson plan here. Also, take a look at the Project Details and Google Slides for Students which students can access through Google Classroom.
As always, I welcome feedback, questions and comments. Feel free to share your thoughts below!