Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Technology, Turkeys and Touchscreens

Turkeys ... the only smarter animals than man.

The Leading our Way Forward conference in Edmonton has left me with some great ideas to help plan for technology usage in the future in our district. The main point of the conference was to have time as a district team to evaluate and plan for possible revisions to our 3 year technology plan.

Topics included developing a shared vision of technology for the 21st century, understanding visual literacy, instructional uses of technology as well as how we can support technology implementation.

It was interesting to note just how important images are for students these days. It basically boils down to this: Increasing our students' visual literacy skills helps benefit them academically. One interesting point our speaker made was to "Show. Then tell." According to her research, images are most effective when accompanied by a voice over by the teacher instead of text on screen. This has implications for the classroom as we commonly include text with pictures or text before pictures. Try beginning with the pictures and see what kind of results you get with your students. Here is a great picture website and visual search engine.

The second day's session had a heavy focus on implementing technology and what effective technology use in the classroom looked like. Rather than simply using technology as an alternate tool, we need to take its use further, making our students knowledge producers instead of consumers. Students should be working collaboratively and developing their own direction and self-monitoring of their learning. Scenarios should mimic real-life problems and technologies should be learned as needed during the process of this scenario to accelerate learning, thinking and communication. More to follow on this topic. For now, please enjoy this meaningful use of interactive whiteboards.

To help with practical use of whiteboards, here is a quick video on utilizing the Link feature in Notebook:

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