Sunday, August 08, 2010

Addicted to technology? Or super shopper? You decide.

While attempting to organize my home office and get ready to take some things back to school, I realized that I have purchased a lot of new technology this summer.  I love it, it's great, but am I letting technology drive what I do?  Because of this question, I went searching for answers, and yes, I turned to the Internet.  I entered the phrase, "design 21st century learning environment" and got some interesting responses.  Of course, there are companies designing pre packaged learning under this new label, but I also found this.   It is the latest white paper from P21 (Partnership for 21st Century Learning), 34 pages long, but a wonderful read!  We can't just buy all the new stuff, throw it at teachers and say, now you are a 21st century teacher. 
Back to the Innovation conference last week, I listened to a presenter who said, before getting any new piece, ask yourself, how can this be used to enhance education for my students.  Not just how can we add "razzle dazzle" to our final report.  With all that said, here are the items I purchased that I am betting will engage and deepen my student's learning and/or my teaching.
1. Flip camera. ($159) These are not new, but I really want to turn mine over to students to help us document what we are learning as we go though a study together.  This will help me as I reflect at the end of a unit, what worked, or more importantly, what didn't, and why.
2.  Pulse pen. ($129, plus $$ for the peripherals) It's the pen that will upload notes to your computer, and record the talking that went with it!  I want to share with teachers, I see lots of classroom application, but for the library learning center, I am going to challenge the kids to help us discover its best uses. 
3.IPEVO Point 2 View USB Camera  ($67 dollars on Amazon, new.)  It attaches with a USB connection, does NOT use the expensive bulbs that Elmo's use, and can be attached to lap tops around the room to design more "student at point of need" learning.  (Disclaimer:  I saw this at a conference, have not yet used it with kiddos, but I will as soon as I have some when school starts and will update!)
4.  Smart board.  OK, I had this last year, but this year I want to "re brand" it as a student used learning opportunity, not my glorified white board.

All of these tools should help me use inquiry in my daily teaching; small groups, at point of need, as well as using inquiry as my foundation on which I will design all of my teaching for this year.

My next blog I will share the next step of my journey toward an inquiry based library instruction.  It has already become a collaborative event, planning with another media specialist in my district to design a reciprocal communication between our students as we design this.

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