Today we are joining you from the Jewish Day School in Seattle, Washington. Our workshop focus will be on technology as a tool for curriculum development.
Part 1 – Technology in Curriculum Development
Let’s start with a closer look at the samples shared in this morning’s keynote address. Starting with our 1st grader English Language Learners sharing what they’ve learned about the wind, all the projects are accessible beyond the walls of the classroom. Teachers are tapping into movie making and Web 2.0 tools to connect students and extend learning in ways not possible without the integration of technology into the curriculum.
Blogging, for instance, opened the world to many of our EGUSD students. As English Language Learner students, for instance, create a movie on How to Draw a Really Cool Bird, their teacher, Lesley McKillop, then uploads it to their classroom blog, inviting the world to join the conversation. Pretty cool to have noted naturalist and author John Muir Laws offering professional advice to these future scientists!
This group of 4th graders is making a difference, moving from learning to taking action. This is the group that saved Splash, an environmental education program. Their efforts are being recognized – and rewarded. To date, they’ve helped their teacher raise about $15,000 to fund a school butterfly garden, complete with native plants, and a bird watching bench – perfect for learning and sharing about a frequent school yard visitor: the crow.
Lesley McKillop will be the first to tell you that she is not a “techie,” but rather a “fearless explorer,” who is willing to forge new territories beyond her comfort level because technology extends her students’ learning community and levels the playing field.
As her students delve into a year-long study of the birds of the Sacramento flyway, they not only become experts on the animal and plant life of their community, but also connect with students in the Voices on the Gulf project to study the impact of our nation’s worst oil spill.
Miles away and in a very different socio-econmic environment from Seattle’s Jewish Day School, the Prairie Elementary students again use technology to transform learning into action. Thanks to tools such as blogs, PhotoStory3, and VoiceThread, these students are taking their voices beyond the walls of the classroom on a regular basis. And they would love to hear from you!
Please take a few minutes to explore the VoiceThread below and the links in the right-hand side bar. The links are an assortment of grade-level or subject-matter driven content. As you explore these teacher blogs, ask yourself, “How can technology enhance lessons I’m already teaching in my classroom?”
Part 2 – An Introduction to VoiceThread
Note: All tutorials and resources for learning about VoiceThread are on our workshop wiki, including:
- Registering for a VoiceThread Educator’s Account
- An Educator’s Guide to VoiceThread
- Bill Ferriter’s Using VoiceThread for Digital Conversations
Part 3 – Hands-on Time to Explore Tools and Strategies for Powering Up Lessons and Curriculum