Take stop motion video for example. With an iPad and a free App (Stop Motion), we can take something as mundane as a video introduction to a DL coaches blog and turn it into a journey into Lego land where Darth Vader of all people just happens to stop by. Or better yet, Lego Lara can build a monster truck! In the classroom at HD Stafford Middle, Mrs Welsh took a topic like "Road Safety,” which rarely gets taught unless someone gets hit by a car, and turned it into a stop motion project that had kids excited to explain the rules of the road. It was hands on with simple tech to figure out and the results were pretty funny. Better yet, the students will remember they had a fun time learning in Mrs Welsh’s class.
Here’s another example of a rather humdrum topic where the reality of reading a user agreement is augmented by technology and pushed into the digital realm. In Lara's class, students discussed their favourite social media tools and were asked to delve deeper into what those User/Privacy Agreements really say.
Stafford Middle teachers met on the October Pro D for a Learning with Tech session where a group of us shared a variety of resources that are simple and effective. The room was packed which demonstrates how interested teachers are in augmenting their teaching with technology and shows the wealth of resources teachers have to share with each other. From Flipquiz to Weebly websites, there are all kinds of resources teachers, with little to loads of tech knowledge, can use to augment, modify and redesign their lessons. It is important to have variety in the classroom and particularly at the middle school level. Changing things up every 15 minutes or so is essential to keeping students engaged. Again, this does not mean we throw in a gadget just because; it means we use a Kahoot Quiz to reinforce terms from a story we were just reading or use a short TED talk on leadership to broaden our discussion on why Alfred the Great was a great leader in his time. We can do much with little and sometimes the tech will fail us. We can make 10 iPads work with 550 students and we can push through when the new and improved wifi struggles with what the single Apple Express port could - but that’s okay. We will keep pushing on and using what we have to give students the magical portals to walk though and make visible what they know in new and creative ways.
Having said all of this … we could really use some more tech!