Technology in the classroom

Friday May 17, 2013

Earlier this week I watched a few TEDtalks featuring Will Richardson. I really agree with what he said about schools needing to change their approach and encourage students to utilize the technology they have to enrich their learning. So yesterday, during a grade 8 and 9 health class, I took advantage of an issue which the students raised during a discussion. They wanted access to the high diving board during phys. ed. However, as I understand it, the school division has made it a policy not to allow access tho this diving board. So remembering what Will Richardson said, I asked them what they could do about it. After a few minutes they decided to make a protest poster. But I also saw an opportunity to teach them how to protest in a different way, to write a letter to the school principal and the superintendent of the school division. In this school each student is fortunate to have his or her own computer with a gmail account. So I quickly created a doc in drive and emailed each student a link. None of them had ever used this feature, but it wasn’t long before they were clicking on each button, discovering the chat, etc. As the teacher I was going to offer them a tutorial! Boy was I off on this idea. They didn’t need me to teach them, and as they talked amongst themselves, I felt as though I had opened Pandora’s box. As a teacher and a parent I know they will benefit from this knowledge, but there is also a fear attached to this process of letting go. It reminds me of the day that my son got his driver’s licence and he went off on his own. I had similar feelings in the class. We talked about responsibility and the importance of making responsible choices. I have to admit that through the process of accompanying students in this type of learning it requires that I let go of the absolute control that I sometimes want and rather I should remember that these students are capable. So we are collaborating on a letter in google docs. Teachable moments!

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4 Responses to Technology in the classroom

  1. reneeclemens says:

    What a fantastic story! Way to jump right in! I’m glad you got to immediately apply what you learned from Will Richardson. This is what teaching is all about!

  2. Kayla Fontaine says:

    Hey Mariette, I think it is great that you are taking what you are learning in this class and putting it to practice. I can’t wait to get into my internship and hopefully have a chance to try Google docs and other cool tools with my students. I am happy to hear that your students enjoyed Google docs and that they were engaged. What you said about the “letting go process” resonated with me. I think it is strange to see how well kids can not simply learn on their own. We have to let go of this old idea of teacher where the teacher simply teaches and the student learns. Now with all the great tools available to us students can learn from each other and we can learn from the students. As Will said in the session both the teacher and the students are learners and I think it is important to embrace that.

  3. Wow! It doesn’t take you long to embed your learning into practical terms. What a great story and model for those students.

    I think the issue of guidance vs control is a very delicate balance. It’s one I’m constantly playing with as a educator and a parent. Reflecting openly as you have is really important in understanding when it’s essential to let go of the reigns but your guidance with thoughtful conversation and helping them understand consequences is truly empowering.

  4. Pingback: Tech Task #3–Why School? Musings after Will Richardson | Musings

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