This week’s theme of innovation for Issues and Advances in Education Technology provides a great opportunity to focus on the creativity of teachers. While teachers can use technology in the classroom, it will only be effective when coupled with reflection and creativity. At the same time, a creative teacher can take a seemingly not useful piece of technology and turn it into a classroom tool. This week really pushed the limits of my understanding of how to use technology in the classroom.
The Innovative Educator blog details just how creative a teacher can be in the classroom. A post from May 12, 2008, highlights the ways in which teachers can use cell phones as tools for classroom use. While cell phones are banned during the school day at Seattle Prep, Lisa Nielson describes the purpose of using them on that blog. She states, “So, even though cell phones are banned (and I don’t endorse not following a mandate), I promote teaching how technology tools can be used to enhance teaching and learning because we must prepare our students and teachers for the world of today, not the classrooms of yesterday. Even if our teaching is guided by certain mandates that cause the world inside school walls to be very different from the world students encounter after dismissal, part of our job as educators is to help prepare students to succeed outside the classroom” (Innovative, 2008).
Nielson is correct that teachers must prepare students for life outside of school and part of that life will inevitably involve technology. Yet we cannot simply get students on a message board or only using blogs. Students must be allowed to create using innovative technology. This fits very well with Bloom’s Taxonomy in that creation is part of the higher level of thinking for students. There are a number of sites on the internet that provide resources for teachers in aiding students in creating. One of my favorites can be found at this link:
There are a number of different podcast, blogs, and storytelling links at this website, hosted by Sue Summerford. After visiting a few from this site and through the course links, I really enjoy VoiceThread as a way for students to engage in innovation and creativity. Students can use images and video along with a script to present their viewpoint or story. This can be a great way for students to create. As Helen Barrett describes on her site for using Digital Stories, “I am especially excited about the use of digital storytelling as a strategy to facilitate reflection in electronic portfolios. According to the Digital Storytelling Association, digital storytelling is the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. Digital stories derive their power by weaving images, music, narrative and voice together, thereby giving deep dimension and vivid color to characters, situations, experiences, and insights” (Barrett, 2009). Thus students can create their own stories or reflections depending on the subject matter.
I look forward to using VoiceThread in my classroom. While many students experience history as a collection of facts and names, the best manner in which to teach the material is as a story. I plan on having students tell the story of a person or event in history through VoiceThread by adding images. Students will be able to better understand the material by telling the story in their own words.
Barrett, Helen. (2009). Guided Tour of Digital Storytelling. Retrieved from: http://www.cic.edu/teach21/T21_website/ds/index.html
The Innovative Educator Blog. (2008). Retrieved from: http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2008/05/value-of-using-cell-phones-to-enhance.html