APPortunity Knocks: No Need to be Showy with Technology

APPortunity Knocks: No Need to be Showy with Technology
Photo credit: / Foter / CC BY
By Katharine Hale (@KatharinehHale)

15 days until our Virtual Think Tanks begin! 
In this post Katharine Hale, who is leading an Advanced Level Teacher Think Tank called, “Bringing Digital Literacy to our Learners, Grades K-5” and an Advanced Level Coaching Think Tank called, “Moving Our Staff (And Ourselves) Forward with Digital Literacy: Apps, Mindsets, and Today’s New World, Grades K-5,” shares a video introduction as well as some tips for  1-device classrooms.
Technology can be quite intimidating to invite into our low-tech classrooms because we see students using technology for phenomenal projects such as animated music videos or even 3D printed sculptures. These projects are engaging, have a wow factor, and for lack of a better word, are “showy.”
Photo credit: / Foter / CC BY
Photo credit: / Foter / CC BY

There is most definitely a time and place for “showy” tech integration to exist in classrooms, but at the end of the day, does this transfer to independence for our students? Will students continue with projects on their own or will technology be seen yet again as a toy and social gateway? More importantly, what are students doing between projects? I have found that some of the most powerful, long-lasting effects of tech integration result from less of this showiness and more of a natural beauty. It is what we do day to day with technology that we as teachers need to bring into our classrooms.

Here are a few examples of how technology can be used in the classroom that is not only doable for any novice “techie” but reflects day-to-day practices students can take with them into their own independent lives.
  • Socialize! Create a class Twitter or Instagram account and take 5-8 minutes a couple times a week to craft book recommendations or math problems to other classes around the world. Use the hashtag, #readergrams or #mathisreal and tag some classes. Most importantly, take advantage of this authentic way to include how readers talk about character, theme, and all those great reading and writing skills!
  • Take Notes! Use technology not to read text, but to understand text. Teach students to create visual notes with digital sticky note apps, sketchpad apps, or book creating apps. These visual notes are flexible, customizable, and valuable in providing authentic information of student understanding or comprehension.
  • Collect and Collaborate! One of the most simple ways for students to share and learn from one another is using a free web and app tool called, Padlet. Students can use it as a place to publicly curate and share the books they have read. Or, use it as a place for students to post how they solve a problem or how they wrote the ending to their writing piece. It becomes a powerful place for students to learn and assess each other’s work!

I encourage you to not be afraid of technology for its ability to look fancy. Join in on our year-long The Educator Collaborative Virtual Think Tank to discover a whole new game-changing yet accessible way of using technology in your literacy classrooms!

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