Monday, July 20, 2009

Ed Tech Sandcastles

While here in the beautiful Okanagan Valley surrounded by dozens of wineries, comes a new type of blog post from me. A reflection on why education technology and it's careful use in the classroom should be like sandcastles. Yes, I said sandcastles. 

I found myself working really hard this past year to hone my skills with technology. One negative of the existence of all of this wonderful technology at our fingertips in the tendency to do too much or use too many tools. Thinking about this and watching my son play with the sandcastles at the beach I have been pondering some points to keep in mind as the new year starts. 

As with all sandcastles, eventually they're going to get knocked down by someone or it will rain and they will melt. Similarly, I encourage all those who are old hats at incorporating technology into their classroom or just starting out, not to get too attached to a certain tool. Be open to others that will improve the experience for you and more importantly, your students. Treat each of your projects as a sandcastle that can be rebuilt very easily because you have access to technology. 

Case and point was this year when I was using Animoto to make poetry movies. Students had to import the mp4's into iMovie, add text and transition, then over to Garageband to add voiceovers and music, and finally to Voicethread for peer review! It's tiring just typing about it. This was one sandcastle that wasn't going to last! The sandcastle for that project was kicked over the next semester when we used images which were added to an enhanced podcast in Garageband where they added all voiceovers and music in one application. Less headaches for me and the focus was more on the students' voice and oral communication of their chosen poems. 

What sandcastle will you kick over this summer in an effort to rebuild it and make it better? Event though your students may knock it over like so many of mine this past year, your willingness to adapt and build a new castle will pay off many times over.

Photo: My son Jack after kicking over a sandcastle! 

1 comment:

  1. Kicking over sandcastle. Very interesting analogy. I like it!!

    When I think of kicking over a sandcastle I think of trying technology tools in my classroom. The first time you try the tool it may not work. DO NOT GIVE UP INSTANTLY!!! Reflect on why you think the tools you used or the processes you tried to implement did not work. Talk to your colleagues on staff and see if they have suggestions for improving your integration of technology. Tweet out to your Personal Learnng Network and see who can help you get over the difficulties you are having.

    Too often teachers try something once and when it does not work they revert back to the lecture and the "drill and kill".

    Did Michael Jordan give up when he did not make his high school basketball team?? Absolutely not. He practiced, got better and became one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

    Teachers. When someone kicks over your sandcastle. Rebuild it!!! Better than you did the first time. You and your students will be better for it.