Friday, June 15, 2012

Tool 9: Devices as Learning Tools

Almost everyone would agree that technology is pretty awesome. And, using technology in the classroom makes content more relavent to today's learners. However, using "techno-toys" without a clear direction both wastes valuable class time and lessens the episodic nature of using technology as a learning tool.

I am a huge fan of using technology resources as stations. Many of my lessons include the ACTIVboard as a small group activity. This has been especially effective when devices were available in limited supply. Technology stations allow students to take charge of their own learning in familiar territory. In small group settings, students are given more freedom to take care of themselves. Through accountability, students not only see the value of the lesson, but take on the responsibility of contributing to the team's knowledge base.

I am most excited about using the iPads in small group/station activities. The possibilities are nearly endless. Apps such as GoogleEarth, Discovery Ed and BrainPOP! can be used to present or reinforce specific science concepts. With productivity apps such as DoodleIt and Animoto student groups can collaborate on a quick little product to illustrate their depth of learning.

Probably one of the simplest but most effective ways to use the portable devices in the classroom is as a resource tool. With the vast amount of information literally at our fingertips, students can answer their own questions or those of their peers on their own. Being able to contribute to academic conversation will definitely build confidence and further learning.

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