Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Worksheets Don't Build Dendrites {Chapter 16}

Chapter 16 is being hosted by Sarah at A Rocky Top Teacher.  This chapter is about technology.  Do your kiddos love technology as much as mine?  They pick up on technology skills SO quickly; many of them have been exposed to a wild variety of technology for all of their short little lives.  We didn't have a computer in my house until I was in high school (late 90s), and learning to type was a struggle for me.  Thanks to AOL Instant Messenger and wanting to communicate with my friends, I learned more quickly than I might have otherwise.

"Technology is not the lesson itself, but a tool for teaching the lesson."  (Hiraoka, 2006)  I think sometimes we focusing teaching the technology and the lesson gets lost.  I try to make my students' uses of technology valuable and not just an accumulation of 'screen time'.  I would guess that this would be a goal for many teachers as we know that some students get plenty of less-structured screen time at home.

Students researched farm animals using both PebbleGo and books.  They worked in groups of three to write little books about their animals to share with the class.

One of my favorite websites (with a hefty price) is PebbleGo.  It is a wonderful place for early readers to do research.  The text can be read aloud, highlighting the words as it is read.  Information is well-organized and presented in small chunks.  This year it is able to be used on the iPad, which is a perk for me.  Our building had a subscription that just recently expired last week.  Only a few teachers were using it so it was decided not to keep it.

We have been using a variety of apps like ChatterPix, WordFoto, Doodle Buddy, and Book Creator to share our learning.  When we use Book Creator, we submit our books to one person in our district who then submits them to Apple.  He keeps track of the number of downloads on each book and occasionally updates students on how many downloads we have and where in the world the books have been downloaded.

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