Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Engage Me!!!

I found this gem while scrolling through one of my favourite websites, YouTube. I was so excited that I instantly tweeted about it and discussed my findings to my technology class. This video is of primary students who attend Robin Hood elementary school in Birmingham. The header alone entitled, "Engage Me" says it all as students are desperate to be enthralled while they attend school and sit in a desk for countless hours. As promised in my last post, I  said that I would try and provide authentic accounts of children and youth and this next video delivers just that. While you watch the video, you understand that the children are using posters instead of their voices to get their message across. Personally, I think this is a very intriguing way of filming as it portrays a much more powerful message. I think it speaks to the level of frustration that children feel when they can not access technology at school while growing up in the 21st century. This is made clear at the very beginning of the video as one students poster says, "I am a 21st century learner". This two minute video speaks volumes as countless children express their need to use technology in the classroom as a learning device.

Through the use of computers, iPods, iPads, Facebook, Twitter, podcasts and blogging students voices are becoming very public but more importantly they are becoming stronger. Students want their voice heard and technology can give them that power. Throughout the video, you will read excellent questions that the students are asking their audience. But the critical point of this video is when students are asking to be involved and to actively participate in their own learning. I think this is incredibly important to highlight as we want students to be excited about their learning thus, why not engage them in a learning task that involves some form of technology? As future educators, we need to understand that if we want the respect of our students then we have to provide them with respect in terms of how they want to be engaged within the classroom and with the world.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Technology and school has come alonnnnggg way baby" - Primary School Student

Besides being extremely cute the quote above is also valid and relevant. I could not agree more with this young student as more and more schools today are implementing and emphasizing the iPad initiative to increase student learning especially among boys. Below is an excellent link that will show just how FAR technology has come but more importantly, just how vital technology is to this generation and many more to come.
In this video which was recorded in the classroom, students are using the iPad to help build stronger fluency skills. Students are using the literacy strategy "The 3 R's" which means to reread, record and reflect. This genius strategy is used on the iPad where students are recording their very own voices when reading the book on the iPad. Once their finished reading, students stop and listen to the recording and reflect on how they sound. After, they self-assess and score themselves based on their fluency skills. The self-assessment is a rubric appropriately created for this grade level as you can see in the video. If the students scores are high, the teacher posts the recording as a podcast so other children and educators can listen. Let's just stop for a minute and praise whoever invented this literacy strategy!
While watching and hearing the accounts of these students, it is obvious that they are enjoying themselves, they are engaged and they are excited. This strategy is brilliant because students at this age adore to hear themselves perform. Thus, the ability to record their own voices only encourages the student to want to read and read some more. As a result, students are eager to fill out their self-assessment and see where they scored based on their fluency skills. Lastly, students are encouraged to succeed as the teacher allows their voices to be broadcasted across the world on a podcast. If this isn't motivation I don't know what is.

What I love about this video is that it is driven by the student voice and incorporates students experiences. I hope to deliver more videos like these.
The 3 R's