Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Using Technology Is Cool, But Also A Learning Tool!

Turn on the TV on Saturday mornings and watch a kids channel for an hour. I'm sure there are countless commercials for interactive toys for toddlers and young children. Even babies have "learning centers," with flashing colored lights and music. With that, the students walking into our classrooms each year belong to an entirely different culture of learning. Many of them have had high exposure to technology from birth and onward. A growing percentage of the population has a computer at home or access to a computer when needed.
With all of this in mind, it is critical to understand ways in which we can bring technology into the learning environment in a way that enhances learning. Instead of conventionally assessing our students at the end of our memoir unit, we decided to allow the students to show what they know in their own way. You guessed it: using technology.

Throughout our unit we had many meaningful conversations about what it means to write a memoir and how we can get our reader to understand our message. This lead to many well-developed pieces which encompassed everything that we had learned about memoir writing. The challenge however, did not end there. After the students drafted and redrafted many times over, we asked the students to compile the entire meaning of their memoir into just 6 words. Many of our students struggled through this as they had so much they wanted to express to their audience.  

The next step of this process is where the students really began to shine. Each 5th grader used their previously developed 6 word memoir to create a movie trailer using the app iMovie on our school iPads. You can imagine the excitement in the room when the students learned of this project. Each student was required to use pictures that reflected the meaning of their memoirs in order to convey the message beyond just the 6 words.

While we are still in the process of finishing up these projects, we are amazed at what has come of it thus far. The students are excited about the challenge of seeking out images and strategically placing them into their movie trailers. If you were to walk into a Goodrich 5th grade classroom today, you would see students buzzing with meaningful conversations about the learning process and showing off their work to one another. It is this type of learning experience that we were after when we first began this project. Yes, we did have the privilege of being able to involve technology; however, we were able to use it to enhance the learning process and to get our students talking about learning! We are very much looking forward to completing these movie trailers and sharing them with a variety of audiences.  As we like to say in 5th grade, technology is cool, but also a learning tool!

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