Sunday, September 20, 2009

Live - from the skatepark! Using technology and "homework" to engage the brain.

cell nature skate

One of my goals this year is to support learning tools and technology that fire up our students' brains (and hearts) after school. For argument's sake I'll call this "homework" -(boo!).

I wonder what would happen if students were asked to use their cell phones to explain relationships in an ecosystem by taking pictures of examples from hockey practice, the skate park, or the mall. They could submit the photos to a shared photo site online, and the next day the teacher could project these images for a discussion. Finding examples of geometric shapes, literary devices, or genetic traits might also work. And while they are shooting photos that night we might also send a text message quiz question to reinforce a specific concept. The same assignment could be completed with a digital camera and a web posted quiz question (no cell phone), or with hand drawn examples and a sealed envelope quiz question for students with minimal technology (ok, I'm reaching here). But perhaps the incentive of using a cell phone or having your photos used the next day for discussion would entice our "homework loving" students to learn while they live.

I think learning what we teach while engaged in their personal activities might help to cement the connections and concepts we are trying to teach. And if that doesn't work, I'd try playing the didgeridoo while stiltwalking.

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