An infographic created from an earlier post.
Posts in category Course 3
This project was part of a much broader, Insects and Plants science unit. As a side, I wanted the students to appreciate that the important role plants play in their lives. The easiest way to do this was to have the students think about the foods they eat and how many of those are plants we recognize. Intentionally, we focused on plants that can be recognized and ‘whole’ foods, and not the chocolate in their chocolate bar even though it is derived from cocoa beans, fats and some type of sugar. We decided to stick to fruits and vegetables.
The lessons and discussions were not difficult, because it was something that everyone could relate to, food. We collected photos through a safe search of Flickr Creative Commons. It was at this point that we pointed out the ‘owners’ of the photos we were going to use need to be ‘thanked’ for letting us use their work.
Once the photos were collected we put them on our blog. Since we are studying the elements of non-fiction writing as well, the students were required to add a caption to each photo along with a basic photo credit. The photo credit was the first step in teaching the kids that when you borrow someone’s work you need to say thank you. As second graders, they can understand a thank you much more than any legal and moral consequences of intellectual property theft.
In the end, most of the students inserted five photos of plants they eat and added captions and gave credit to the owner of the photo. The lesson tied in two important goals: 1) students will identify at least five different plants they eat and 2) they will learn about giving credit to people for using their work.
As we started talking about laptops and computers the conversation turned toward the Internet and the type of access each child has. It was nearly a given that each one had an Internet connection at home.
100% of the homes were connected, but that wasn’t what was surprising. What caught my attention was the number to students that had unfettered access to the Internet. Just over half of the class said they do not need to check with an adult first before going online. That was surprising to me. With the amount of education available about the dangers of the Internet, it was surprising that so many 7 and 8 year olds had unsupervised access.
Taking that conversation a little further they were asked what they would do if they saw something “bad” online. Half of the students said they would tell mom or dad while the others said they would simply close their eyes or close the window. Again I was surprised that more students wouldn’t seek the advice or intervention of an adult.
Worried that too many students sit in front of computers all day long, a lot like myself, I had to ask one last question. The question, “How many of you own a jump rope?” Surprise! Nearly 75% of the students said they owned a jump rope. Just because they have a jump rope doesn’t mean they are physically active or playing outside, but it’s nice to know that they also have at least one ‘unplugged’ entertainment choices.
I was curious to see how saturated with technology my second grade students are and started going through an informal survey with them. Being that they are in second grade this kind of a procedure takes some patience and needs to be conducted very methodically.
As we sat in our ‘meeting circle’ I started asking them about technonlogy and what they personally owned. Of course by ownership I understand that it belongs to their mom and dad. I clarified and asked what is theirs, and is not shared with mom and dad. For exammple if they said they had an iPad I told them if they borrowed the iPad from mom and dad that didn’t count. I wanted to know what was dedicated for their sole use. The results from the 18 students in attendance were as follows.
How many of you have your own:
- Phone – 7 (surprisingly, only one student had their phone at school today)
- Nintendo Wii – 11 (not surprising as is seem Nintendo has the corner on children’s video games)
- XBOX360 – 1 (also not surprising as many of these game are geared toward older audiences)
- Playstation 3 – 0 (They are missing out on the best gaming console out there…joking)
- Nintendo DS – 9 (most-likely the same kids that have the Wii)
- iPad – 3 (this percentage is sure to grow)
- Laptop – 3
- Desktop – 9
- Camera – 8 (I did not clarify if they are considering the camera their phone as a ‘camera’ for this category)
- iPod – 4 (surely these will start being replaced by the iPad)
Being the ipad fan that I am, all of the results were tabulated on the iPad. What other classroom tool is there that’s more versatile?
My favorite part of this whole exercise was when I was talking about cameras. I asked them how many had ‘digital cameras‘ and a student next to me scrunched up her nose, wrinkled her brow and asked, “What’s a digital camera?!” I could only smile as I realized that I was an old man that had watched the transition from film to digital in the last 15 years.
What was I thinking? There are no other types of camera out there, by default they are all digital.
I admit that teachers are sometimes a very tough crowd to teach. As teachers we expect our classrooms to have a certain amount of discipline so that we can cover material, ask questions, clarify information and share knowledge. What happens when you get a group of teachers together for a professional development session?
So how is this all tech related? First I want to ask you a question. Q) What’s worse than teaching a room full of teachers? A) Teaching a room full of teachers with iPads in front of them. This was the task ahead of me a few weeks ago when I attempted to lead a group of teachers through a brief iPad tutorial.
The intention was to share a database-tracking program called Bento, by FileMaker Pro. I have found it tremendously helpful in my classroom and shared it with a few colleagues that thought it should be shared further. After some coordination with administration and nailing down a date I hosted an iPad sharing session in my room. I invited teachers with or without iPads to come down and take a look at some classroom applications.
The point of this post is not to get into the pros and cons of Bento, but to vent, a little, and seek advice. How does one successfully conduct a teacher directed workshop when technology is in front of each attendee? It seems especially hard when the piece of tech is something as fun as an iPad.
In the end, it’s hard to say if the session was successful. Motivation for using iPads in the classroom as a teacher tool seemed high, but I don’t feel like I was able to communicate my ideas with the iPad infatuated audience. I definitely need to refine my technique for teaching teachers; especially those with pieces of technology in front of them.
To all you IT teachers – I congratulate you, that is a tough position.