Using technology in schools is no longer just about preparing our students for college and career. Not only do they need the skills to navigate and utilize technology, but they need to understand how technology can connect them with people, places, and resources that were previously unreachable.
My high hope: Why not show students how to create with VR and AR? One student could incorporate guided virtual reality into a presentation or lesson she shares with their classmates about a historical site. Another student could find photographs of places or inventions he wants to study and then create augmented reality-triggered videos of himself explaining what he’s learned. A couple of years ago, my high school students created their own scavenger hunt with QR codes, and loved learning from one another that way. We can expand that idea to virtual and augmented reality.
High Hope #2: Project-Based Learning That is Real-World
Where we are: Students are tackling simulated scenarios via project-based learning in classrooms across the country. They work on real-world problems, but often their final solutions are submitted only to their teacher and not to the adults who are trying to solve those real-world problems.
My high hope: In order for high quality OERs to be combined with high quality instructional design, teachers need tools that allow them to curate the resources and make them easily accessible to students. A promising new iPad app is TES Teach. (It’s also available through any browser.) I made this TES Teach lesson about student-driven learning for some teachers at my school. Not ready to dig through all OERs and curate on your own? Collections from your fellow educators from around the globe are available at Participate Learning and BloomBoard to get you started. Consider encouraging students to research, curate, and design their own lessons with OERs. What a great way for our students to demonstrate learning or even teach their classmates.
Note that all of these high hopes focus on empowering students to research, design, serve, build, and publish. If we are going to use technology in our schools with our students, it should be because that technology allows them to find information, connect with people, visit places, and create things that were never possible before.
What will edtech make possible this school year?
Kerry Gallagher (@KerryHawk02) is a Digital Learning Specialist at a 1:1 iPad school serving 1500 students grades 6-12. She is also the Director of K-12 Education for ConnectSafely.org.
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