Saturday, September 13, 2014

Meaningful Interactions

The article "The Balance of Screen Time" by Beth Holland pitches the importance of finding the balance between screen time and human interaction to ensure that kids are having meaningful interactions in the classroom.  The third question on her "checklist" for ensuring that technology is purposeful resonated the most with me.  She asks 1) Is it appropriate? 2) Is it meaningful? 3) Is it empowering?

Our #1 goal as teachers is to empower our students... to be independent, to take risks, to critically analyze information in front of them, and to use the tools we've taught them to do all of the above.  In my classroom, the question of empowerment is my guiding purpose.  I don't ever want my students on their "screens" for the sake of a 21st century tool just being used, but rather using it with the end goal of being empowered to guide their learning in a new direction.

Shawn McCusker's comment of "Today, if I were to lose the devices (iPads) that that my students have, I would mourn the loss not of the technology but of the voices that my students have gained through having them." made me think of Penny's perspective on Cover It Live letting all students' voices be heard.  In 5th grade, students want to be heard and valued, and technology is an avenue for them to voice their opinions or knowledge!

August 8th and 9th

Our first two meetings of the cohort were filled with new ideas and excitement to try them all!! The opportunity to hear what others are doing in their classrooms and to try the links presented and available created an excitement for the upcoming school year.  The most impactful idea I heard during our first two days was the idea to use Jing with student conferences.  I have 32 students in my class this year and am already overwhelmed by the task of conferencing with each individual student about their writing.  I love the idea of using Jing to record my comments on their Google Docs writing from home and emailing them the video during class.  I think this will be especially great for my high writers who are often left without constructive criticism on their already strong work... it will give me the time from home to think of creative challenges for them to try in their writing.  I can't wait to use Jing for conferences!

It was also incredibly helpful to have a refresher on Blogger and to see how that can be used with and by students.  It inspired me to have my students each create a blog to keep track of books read this year in our "40 Book Challenge."