Stretch Your Digital Dollar
Teachers have been using games like Scrabble and chess for as long as schools have existed. And just like with those board games, video games engage students and can make learning fun. But they can do a lot more. Video games can prepare students for the real world, and game design principles can help teachers become more effective instructors.
What Ramsey does in his class is ingenious. He takes the direct instruction and modeling portions of his class and records them as a screencast. His screencasts are usually about 7 minutes long, and they’re posted online. For homework, students have to watch the screencast — at home, on their smartphones, at the library, or in the computer lab — and answer questions about it via an online form. Then, Ramsey takes the first 15 minutes or so of class and has a Q and A session related to the video. After that, it’s all independent practice time.
You may have noticed a new tab on the top of my blog, called “professional development.” This summer, I realized what a dearth of materials there are for administrators, coaches, and teachers in charge of coordinating tech integration workshops for their staffs. I wound up creating a ton of materials for the PDs I was hosting and decided to create a few additional resources, for those of you working to get other teachers on the tech bandwagon.
I’d like to talk about several education-based documentaries coming out this year. And there are a lot of them. One USAToday article even refers to 2010 as the year of the education documentary. Although it’s a bit off-topic for Stretch Your Digital Dollar, I think the documentaries pose interesting looks at urban public schools in America.
But for the average teacher without extensive technology experience, the ed-tech world can be overwhelming. Even if you’re convinced of the need to integrate technology into your curriculum, where do you start? Below, I present a four-step starter guide for us digital immigrants who are trying to become fluent in 21st century technologies.