Friday, March 21, 2008

Hovercraft, Anyone?

My head is still spinning! I just came from the NJECC conference over the past three days. I have been in EdTech for more than 15 years and I still learn more every day. This conference gave me ideas for new podcasts with my students, a working knowledge of how to use Google Apps in the classroom, offering my students a place to do real "higher order" thinking at, setting up an online class in Moodle and of course there is nothing like sharing ideas with colleagues and learning how they do things.

This always leaves me thinking about how I can incorporate this into my curriculum and what, if anything more can I do to stimulate my students and advance their learning beyond the traditional, played out paper and pen.

I was listening to reports of the Auto Show and was smiling as I heard them say, the age of the Jetsons has arrived - a car that flies for about 1,000 miles! As more hovercraft are built do you imagine that people will say, you must drive the old fashioned car - even if it is bulkier, slower, more demaning? Educators insist on forcing kids to do things the "way we have always" done things. Why? Nothing innovative ever came from redundancy.

Letting our students learn and grow in the manner that suits them is scary for some teachers. There is nothing to fear from learning. Kids walk around our schools with mini computers attached to their hips, let's have them use them! You could have a contest in your classroom - ask your students to compete - who can get this information fastest - send a text message to someone in your phone that lives out of this state. Ask them: what time is it? what is your favorite color? what is the weather like where you are? Have them graph their answers including the time it took to get them. Then create a chart...then...well the list goes on.

It is time for us to start thinking outside the box and really noticing where our students are and what they are doing everyday that is building information in their think tanks. 1:1 initiative was handled mostly through Verizon, Cingular and ATT. Let's take advantage of this in our classrooms.