Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I Like What I See

I dedicated some time today to "digital boot camp" - essentially allowing my students to become familiar with their logins and passwords. This time was also provided to them so that they could continue to discover and figure out the Chromebooks. Generally speaking, I'm noticing a huge difference between grade 2's and grade 4's with respect to the speed at which they can accomplish things and their trouble shooting ability. Coming to grade 4 from from grade 2, I think I am used to a slower process. My students this year are picking things up fast and quite engaged when given "boot camp" opportunities.

I introduced them to Google Drawings today. Drawings has proved to be a powerful app, allowing students to create things that they couldn't create without the technology. I was not disappointed. After a quick tutorial on the basics the students started experimenting and were off to the races. They even shared their work with me and began asking me to visit their work and comment. They were mesmerized by the fact that I could access their work instantly and display it on the interactive whiteboard. I have seen this amazement before and it always brings a smile to my face. It's like a whole new world has opened up to them!

After a bit of time on their own I started giving them specific tasks to accomplish. Some tasks were easier than others but a commonality that emerged was the fact that students assisted each other in getting the tasks done. I would assign it and then they would work on it - and help each other out as needed. This is a great sign, and something that I have seen before.

As the students become more familiar with the tools I will begin to assign tasks that go beyond the tools. I will move them away from tasks that revolve around the tool to tasks that involve design thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. They need to spend time 'playing' with the tools before they can push the tools to their limit as they create and work towards demonstrating their understanding around the learning they are engaged in.

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