When I was in elementary school we had Storybook Weaver, Math Blaster and MS Paint. When I got to middle school, there were video announcements and a computer class where we learned to word process and create PowerPoint-type presentations. In high school there were classes for video news, website design, and our assignments frequently required internet research. I graduated before the social media boom when bloggers were mostly conspiracy theorists and tabloid reporters.
|Kids are learning technology earlier and earlier!|
I have used most of the technology the students featured in their portraits at one time or another. I have never used it to the extent these students are, though. They are really going above and beyond because they love creating! I love seeing the passion these kids display when they talk about their projects, and they are really doing some impressive things.
I had visions of using technology in my lessons to keep the students focused and interested, but I hadn't really considered letting them be the ones creating with technology. There are a lot of educational apps out there for computers and mobile devices, but why not let them design apps and websites? Why not let them record a song inspired by a book in Garage Band rather than write a book report? There are so many ways to let the students express themselves through creative technology that I hadn't thought of.
I am excited to see that the widespread use of these technologies has led to cross-platform compatibility that we didn't have before. When I was in high school, I used a computer program to compose/record a song for a project. I had a floppy disk with the recording and printed out the sheet music to turn in. When my teacher went to listen to the song, she couldn't open the file because the school didn't have the same software that I used at home. Now there is a lot more standardization of file types so that media players can read all types of files, and media creating programs can save in multiple formats. Now when a student decides to use technology, they can just bring their flash drive to school and use the smart board to present their project to the whole class!
References (in order of appearance):
Edutopia.org Dive into the Future of Learning
Baby photo courtesy of John Robertson
Edutopia.org Youth Portraits
School supplies photo from NBCPhiladelphia.com