This week I am attending a Google Education Summit along with several other educators from my school district. It has been exhilarating at times, but also exhausting. Being a student for most of the day is always a good reality check. It reminds you how hard it is to sit quietly in a chair for long periods of time, and it especially reminds you how hard it is to pay attention!! Teachers can be such a bad audience at times (I am no exception). Since most of us received a brand new Google ChromeBook with our registration to this summit, we are all using them; sometimes we’re even using them for the purpose the presenter wants us to! Right now I am listening to a presentation on wikis, so of course I’m typing on my blog. Someone else is checking Twitter, another is reading e-mail, looks like someone else is working on some prep work for the Fall. This is probably the fear of teachers everywhere…..if you allow students to be hooked up to technology (cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc.) during class, will they be tuned in to the instructor? Honest answer: probably not all of the time. This reinforces the notion that classrooms need to change. The lecture model has some merit, but is way overused at all ages. Most software is very self-explanatory after some exploration, so demos should be minimal. “Sandbox” time should be part of any class that is teaching technology. Let the students play with the software and they’ll figure things out and help each other. Give them a purpose, such as creation of something, and let them go. I know this wouldn’t work for every grade level and/or discipline, but it’s worth a try! I’ll have to ponder what worked really well at this summit and try to incorporate some of that into our district’s tech boot camp that we’re hosting in August for some of our staff.
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