WHY TEACHERS NEED TO GET PROACTIVE WITH TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM

By Chad de Kretser.

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

This phrase is attributed to arguably the greatest Canadian ice hockey player in history: Wayne Gretzky. He went to where the puck was going to be!

In this digital age, students engage in downloading, publishing and networking; they rent or buy texts; they find, read, print and download tons of quality documents, exam and textbook solutions and cheat-sheets for anything they study; they download movies, videos, music; they stay connected. Students are going to where the puck is going to be. They are using the technologies for collaboration, communication and creation.

I believe that as educators in the digital age, we too should “go to where the puck is going to be”. We need to be proactive in the use of technology and this means we need to be engaging and integrating Web 2.0 technologies into the classroom for teaching, for learning and for assessment.

Proactive For Teaching, Learning And Assessment

Immerse yourself in the technology of today. Surf the net and find out what are best practices. Search the net for some of the most popular education sites and integrate the technology suggested into the classroom. Join a network of fellow educators, share resources, and engage in online development courses that allow for collaboration, communication and creation. Implement those technologies for teaching, learning and for assessment. Be role models of learning for the students by being proactive in the use of technology in the classroom.

Proactive In The English Classroom: Teaching

I use technology that helps me turn words – famous speeches, news articles, slogans and themes – into a visually stunning word cloud. This is used as an engaging plenary activity where students view the word cloud (text taken from a chapter of a novel under study) and choose the word or words that get their attention. They then share why they think their chosen word or words would be important to the chapter or the book. They then go on to study the novel and create their own word cloud using text, speeches, and themes that they have discovered about the novel. (Worlde/Tagxedo)

Proactive In The English Classroom: Learning And Assessment

Being proactive means using the technology for peer-to-peer assessment. This can occur by way of a more competent student testing less competent students on their spelling. The competent student says the word in a sentence, in the correct context, to help the other student understand the word. The spelling of the word can then be recorded on an iPad so both students can hear the spelling and have it corrected, if need be. It develops great collaboration, communication and partnerships in learning.

Being proactive means allowing students to interact with technology using traditional teaching methods. For example, take the 25 spelling words that they have learnt throughout the week and get them to write a short story using all the words. However, let the student  choose which note-taking tool they wish to use. There are a variety of tools that support handwriting, typing and audio recording, all of which allow students with different learning needs to complete the assigned task with confidence and competence. (NOTES PLUS) This can be easily and quickly assessed, and used as formative or summative assessments.

Proactive In The History Classroom: Teaching

I use an interactive website where students are encouraged to explore the site and learn about a day in the life of two ancient Egyptian families: http://www.ancientegypt.co.uk/menu.html. They experience the world of an ancient Egyptian nobleman and play Senet, a popular ancient Egyptian game. The students learn about the different scripts used in ancient Egypt; they find out where writing was used and participate in a challenge where they are the head scribe at a workshop in a large village. Their job is to check the work of the other scribes for errors. This engages students and motivates them to inquire more about the topic under study.

Proactive In The History Classroom: Learning And Assessment

Being proactive in the use of technology in the classroom I use an interactive site about the Olympic Games, Athens and Sparta and the arts and theatre of the ancient Greek world: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory/ancient_greeks/. The site gives students a background into the life and times of the ancient Greeks. use the information about the life and times of ancient Greeks that they learn from the site to create a technology product of their choice. This can range from a movie to a recorded presentation projected on a screen for all to watch. Group assessment of the final product validates the work that students have created.

Proactive In The Geography Classroom

Being proactive means using a mind map tool. Simple Mind, for example, turns a mobile device into a brainstorming, idea collection and thought structuring device. It is helpful in delivering content to the class and can be used as an outline for essay writing. Students are taught the five key themes of geography and see them on the whiteboard. These themes can then be used as a worksheet to be completed. Students need to identify and answer each of the themes for their chosen country.

Proactive In The Geography Classroom: Learning and Assessment

Prezi (prezi.com) is a storytelling tool that enables students to share their ideas on a virtual canvas. Students can use the cloud-based software to create collaborative presentations incorporating audio, video, still images and narration. Prezi allows users to share their presentations with a public audience via the cloud. Catering to an audience beyond the classroom can stimulate creativity and improve the quality of the presentation.

Proactive In The Filmmaking Classroom

Being proactive means using an interactive unit plan for a filmmaking class that allows me to teach the complete filmmaking cycle. FIS Training is an iPad app that provides a unique learning experience, similar to watching a film, and the film is about learning to film. It saves me a lot of time searching for resources and provides engaging and meaningful lesson plans. I can show a video, made by Grade 5/6 students and present it as a challenge for my Year 9 students. I can also use the app to teach the students about different shots and camera angles.

Proactive In The Filmmaking Classroom: Learning And Assessment

Being proactive means having students create films using handheld devices, record music and edit the movie with applications that produce an end product of high quality. Students can then upload their finished product to gain immediate feedback from a wide audience to aid further learning and make adjustments as required.

Proactive In The Literacy And Numeracy Classroom

Being proactive with my Year 9 Literacy and Numeracy class means I need to supplement their core learning with additional resources that enable the students to develop and understand their own learning and studying styles. I use http://www.studygs.net, a site that helps students identify and implement time management and self-motivation principles, learn about different types of writing and discover and apply different memorising techniques all at their own pace.

Proactive In The Sports Classroom

A downloaded application of coaching software, totalcoach.net, helps me in developing, managing and communicating the essential tasks to my basketball team. The students are able to watch the play, pause it, query their roles, and even see the ball movement and go through the play step-by-step. It helps paint the picture so students get a better understanding of my instructions, the drills to complete and the skills to learn.

Proactive In The Sports Classroom: Learning And Assessment

Being proactive means video recording students as they practise their basketball skills, from dribbling and passing to shooting and applying defensive patterns. This is effective for visual and kinaesthetic learners who can ‘see and hear’ what they are doing and learn from the video.

Educators who are proactive in their use of technology in the classroom can provide an environment where students can collaborate, communicate and create technology products that have engaged them and provided a variety of learning styles for them. Educators can be the next Gretsky: going to where the puck is going to be!

A list of references are available upon request

Ipad Applications:

FIS Training

Reel Director

Simplemind+

Chad de Kretser teaches English, History, Geography, Filmmaking, Multimedia, IT/Business,VCE IT and Sport at Maranatha Christian School, Cardinia Campus in Officer, Victoria. He is currently implementing an iPad trial at Year 7 level. Chad can be contacted at cdekretser@maranatha.vic.edu.au

Comments

  1. Thanks for this wonderful article, Chad! Teachers nowadays have to be familiar with the latest technological developments in order to provide a better learning experience to their students. Engaging in online tools and integrating it in classroom activities can be a good start. By doing that, you don’t just make things easier for everyone but you’re also preparing the students for the corporate world.

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