Thursday, January 31, 2008

why we integrate technology

Susan has asked me to contribute ideas for a column for a school publication. As a 1:1 laptop school the answer to this question should be evident by now to the entire school population. It's quite frustrating that it is not.
She has specifically asked me to talk about why I chose to use certain programs and what it did for the students. Here are my examples:
  • an online collaborative wiki application on which students worked with a partner to gather research and present their findings to the class. Originally intended for an oral presentation with visual aides but also became a vehicle for students to access each other's work outside of class time. They used the discussion boards to ask for further information and comment on each other's work. The students were motivated by the opportunity to use Internet sources in their research and the activity afforded authentic discussions on the validity of using Wikipedia, cross checking sources, and citing sources (with links).
  • an online subscription service which serves a variety of purposes in preparing papers and conducting alternative class discussions. I primarily use this source for students to upload their papers, peer edit, and check for plaigiarism. The originality reports give students an objective way to see their words and judge whether they have cited or paraphrased correctly. Again, leads to authentic discussions on plaigiarism. The discussion boards give students who do not participate in oral discussions as easily an opportunity to "get a word in edgewise."
  • Inspiration: a brainstorming and outlining program. I have used this as a visual aid during class discussions and a tool to help students learn to outline their ideas effectively. Being able to manipulate their ideas in a more symbolic way is a great aid for some students who are more visual learners.

There are a lot more that I could talk about, but I'd probably say that I have used those 3 tools most effectively in helping a variety of students to learn.

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