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.