Wednesday, October 5, 2011

'Tech' here, 'tech' there, 'tech' everywhere

It is pretty much clear to all of us educators that everyday we walk into our classrooms we stand before a group of digital learners.  These kids, who do not know a world without internet and communication as we know it, are not going to learn what we tell them the way it was attempted to be taught to us back in the last century.  Well, learning is not the product of our teaching, it is the product of the learner`s activities anyways.  So, what activities are we providing our students to engage them and learn what we intend for them to learn through these activities?

In this 21st century the answer to this question seems to be in technology.  I have visited thousands (ok, not thousands, but a lot.) of sites and blogs, all of them giving ideas on how to integrate technological and innovative software into our classrooms.  Wow, and I truly believe that is great!  I introduced Prezi to my students and now they use it for their presentations in other classes.  Most of them love to create their Glogs to present a Science lab report.  You have to see how excited they get when they use their mobile phones in the classroom!   You can check my older posts for class lessons in which I integrated technology succesfully in my classroom.  So, students have discovered there is more to the Internet for doing homework than Wikipedia and Google.  That`s what 21st century learners are about.

I recently delivered a workshop in my country's capital city (Tegucigalpa, MDC) about ICT.  A fellow teacher expressed a worry she had about it all.  She argued that one concern she had was that kids would isolate themselves while using technology.  She cited her own daughter: "We`re at the dining table and she would not even lift her head up when I'm speaking to her (tapping on her smart phone)!"   Any of that sounds familiar?  I recently heard a physicist make a brief comment about him believing we should remove computers out of school.  He probably had a good point at it.      

So, here we are with all this technological software available for us, free (Free is good!) and all, waiting for us to put it up in our classrooms, and outside of it.  However, I believe we should not forget the basics.  Even when our students are digital learners, let`s not forget that most of them learn by doing.  And when I mean "doing", I do not refer necessarily to an app, a digital story, or an online presentation.  I am talking about kinesthetic learning.   We should not have an elementary schooler, for instance, create a glog instead of making an actual one with scissors and glue.  These kids still need to develop their motor skills.  This type of learning (kinesthetic) can be integrated into our already tech-integrated classrooms.  Let me present to you a Biology class in which I tried to integrate both: (Gosh, the post is already long as it is....)

I made a Prezi out of this topic.  While thinking of ways to make my presentation more engaging and have the students perform some physical activities, I remembered a class I received in an intensive school (1 week) for a Teacher Certification at ACSI Latinoamerica.  Basically, during the presentation I included some special icons.  These icons represented a kinesthetic or social activity students would do during the presentation.  So, every time one of the icons popped up during the presentation I would stop and allow a couple of minutes for students to perform that little activity.  Here`s my Prezi with the details.  It is one of my first Prezis, so it probably is a bit raw.  I trust I will get more proficient at it as I do more.  

Hope you enjoy and get ideas for your own classroom.  As usual, if you have any questions, let me know.  Be blessed.

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