Keep calm and use technology

Technology helps you problem solve

Technology helps you problem solve

This is a follow up to the last post so you can see how we finished. I didn’t quite finish how I said I would in the post, but we ended up on a learning high. I added a slide to my presentation with 5 different ways to ask for something in a shop. We practised those at the beginning of the lesson and they could say them really well. I went through my slide presentation of one sentence of the conversation at a time in big writing on a colourful background and they could say the sentences and they knew what they meant. I played the recorded version of the conversation and moved the slides forward one at a time as we heard each line. I put up a screen shot of just the conversation from the book which I had shown them last Thursday and which they had found too hard to understand and too hard to tackle. We had a little chat about how that had been hard and how we now could do it. We had 15 minutes on our language learning site on our iPads learning the vocabulary list I had made them from this conversation. 100% focus. I can check the participation rates and scores on the language learning site. They all got themselves into the 80% accuracy or more in that 15 minutes. They loved seeing that on the board. We had evidence they could learn. They then had 30 minutes to do their own version of the conversation. It is quite complex for year 9s. After 30 minutes they were ready to do the partner presentations and they did well. They did not falter over saying it and they did not hesitate. Technology had allowed them to master something difficult and we are now ready to branch out into another conversation which they can record. When I get stuck like that in class I do move on until I have replanned the delivery of my lesson. I can fast forward and skip that bit but I don’t think it helps if you ignore a learning block. My job then is to look at what apps, tools, sounds and images I have to master the content. How can I break it down? How can I reinforce it? How can I get students to take on the content in a way they feel in charge? They know from game playing they sometimes have to go back and start again. They know from game playing they need talismans, energy, cheats, repetition to get to the next level. They could not master the level as I presented it to them. It made no sense, so what I did was a game walk-through using a slide presentation to hold a narrow focus, oral activity to increase engagement, learning site vocabulary which trained them in pronunciation and meaning and then a complete run through of the level from start to finish so they had evidence they knew it all. We have so many resource choices these days. We need to make good use of the options to scaffold learning and inspire confidence.

Get zen with technology

Get zen with technology No two snowflakes are the same. Teachers do not use technology in the same way and neither do students. It part of the joy and dynamic nature of a classroom these days but it can also be a source of frustration. The approach has to be clear and well thought out. When you use technology in a classroom you need to :
1. Think clearly – use story boarding a mind maps to help.
2. See clearly – how can apps, software, hardware, technology options improve and enhance content delivery?
3. Speak clearly – explain tools properly . Use the tools to deliver clear content in a direct way.
4. Love what you are doing– be enthusiastic about what you are doing with your students and let them show their enthusiasm. Wow factor works every time.
5. Be creative – share what you are doing and invite feedback because it reinforces a dynamic learning loop for everyone.
6. Stay balanced – keep a perspective on how much anything to do with technology can be a help or a hindrance to learning. Don’t be so committed to doing something you are not prepared to change to a more effective option and say no to something which is half-baked.

A decade makes a difference

I found this video on the iPad Insight site. The link takes you to the video on the site with the background to the video. I agree with the writer. That is not a 2020 teacher. That is a teacher here and now and it is so much better. When a student doesn’t know what a chrysanthemum is – I can look it up and show them a picture straight away. There are so many things where you can fast track the thinking and ideas just by accessing the technology available to us in a classroom. gone are the long , verbose explanations which might be as clear as mud to a student. For the most part you can get you facts and information correct, you can check the detail, you can add clarity to thinking and ideas and then the time you save can be spent on creating content with all those newly learned ideas. This video makes the point well that classroom time can be so much more effective when we access technology.

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