How do you get a classroom full of 9th graders to start collaborating and creating?
You put a computer screen in front of them . . . right?
While I firmly believe that technology can be a transformational tool in the classroom I recognize that is not always the case. But when technology is used to allow ALL students to access content, differentiates to meet the diverse needs of students and allows for student voice to be heard, the results are remarkable.
This morning I had the opportunity to work with a Freshman Requirements class at Central High School West Campus. A couple of weeks ago I was introduced the to Applied Digital Skills curriculum created by Google to help middle school through college-age students become better prepared for the technology skills required in the 21st century. The curriculum is designed to work students through real-world applications of digital skills through the use of video tutorials and targeted activities.
What I witnessed this morning was remarkable. The first class of the morning, starting at 7:25, is usually a pretty quiet place. After the first few minutes of helping students log in to their Google Classroom and navigate to the Applied Digital Skills website the excitement began. Students worked their way through a series of introductory video tutorials demonstrating how to copy, share, collaborate and comment in a Google Doc. What shocked me was ALL students were on task, ALL students were motivated, students were talking to their peers (even those students who told me that they "don't work in groups"), students were making APPROPRIATE comments to each other on their shared Google Docs, and the new student, who walked into class for the first time today, was already talking to his peers and part of this digital community.
Thank you to Ms. Hope and her second block students for being my guinea pigs this morning. I loved learning with you!