EdTech that gets kids excited about learning

There are so many things I love about having a truely (not just talking about it) Classroom2.0 enabled school.

One of the most enjoyable things I do is to take a group of students for their first workshop with me, and start to show them how creating hyper-media digital stories says much more about their learning than “I was here today”.

In this situation, kids are very much in ‘teacher talking’ – defense mode, so you are not going to get every kid to start displaying visible signs of excitement or re-engagement. But the Classroom2.0 teacher knows that this is perfectly fine.

Some kids simply prefer to communicate with you via the internet, as it is a neutral physical territory. Its when you start to support those kids, and see them re-engage with learning and start to show you what they really are capable of that is a huge reward. And this is an activity that Teacher1.0 misses out on. Classroom2.0 gives you a multi-dimensional conversation.

So here’s my list of activities that I find work with students.

Exciting#1 – Working as an individual inside a supportive online social network to develop creative and critical literacies. (Blogs, Wikis, Social Bookmarking).

Exciting#2 – Getting feedback from people outside the school and reflecting on what they are saying. Putting ‘dots’ on your map shows them that they have an audience – and people are listening to them. They love AUDIO feedback especially.

Exciting#3 – Making – making anything with technology in a group – Animoto, iMovie, Podcast, Digitial Camera, Cartoon Strip – kids love to be hands on with technology and to SANDBOX their ideas – let them – just because you thought of the theme (like how many kids are doing ‘Olympic’ projects right now as they are still 2 days from closing) – then let them justify and explore their own – its all CRITICAL thinking.

Exciting#4 – VoiceThread – using VoiceThread as a visual flipbook in which they record their work. This is blogging out loud or writing out loud. Makes it so much easier for kids FINE MOTOR development issues

Exciting#5ReadingEggs – Early reading online. Kids love the back story! Hatch your egg and learn to read. The are rewarded with toys, allowed to dress their avatar and the animation and audio is first class. The follow up well designed and presented ‘printed’ material is perfectly balanced for young readers.

Exciting#6 – Interactive Wipe Boards – Every primary classroom should have one and every kids should be able to use one. Gives an interactive context that kids love and builds collaboration – they all love to get involved and love to help each other.

Exciting#7 – Games and MUVES – Myst III, Warcraft, Runescape, Tribal Wars, Mathletics, Quest Atlantis, Teen Second Life, The Sims – there are a gazillion ways to build all sorts of excting classroom activities around these things. It really is okay for kids to sandbox and have fun – playing is how they learned what they learned before teachers game them worksheets. Play was more rewarding as it has a greater sense of personal achievement.

Exciting#8 – Authentic Writing – Reading a traditional book and blogging about it. Reading FanFiction and blogging about it. Writing your own, and blogging about it. Talking about books and blogging about it. – Blogging when the topic is intrinsically interesting as opposed to a ‘task or chore’.

Exciting#9 – Alice – A great 3D programming environment (free) that appeals to all learners, and teaches the foundations to programming languages.

Exciting#10 – OpenSim/CreativeSuite/SecondLife/FinalCut/StudioMax/Mayer – all the applications that require Mastery skills to achieve a goal – these things are hard but the rewards are also high. Gifted and talented LOVE these things, as they allow them to explore various tangents and new skills.

Please feel to add more …

2 thoughts on “EdTech that gets kids excited about learning

  1. 1) The sheer look of joy when content is created by students and shared across the globe.
    2)The change in classrooms when student mentors take the “how to” edtech into control
    3) The use of music in classrooms. Student are adept at matching sound to vision through tv as a major medium. Nothing better than working with EY students on their representations of music. Amazing stuff
    4) Movement from internet being a tool to being an environment. Students get much more out of web use as a natural environment. We have lots of tools but internet usage for students has moved forward and that is soo exciting.

  2. This is a great post and a great blog. Welcome to my reader!! You might want to have some Nintendo DS machines in your room with a variety of games to play. I just finished having a day with Ewan Macintosh and he has pointed out the benifits of gaming for youth today. I have purchased games and will get some DS units for the students to use in my room this year. Yes it is not that publishable, playing games like blogging or using sims but the kids all play and game. There has to be ways to tap that energy for learning.

    Once again Great post!!

Comments are closed.