Done well, social media and technology integrated into the classroom feels like a familiar old leather softball glove. It becomes an extension of your hand and you almost forget that it’s there. Done badly, it’s a waste of time and the return on your investment is nil.
Anytime I can find something that grabs kidsâ€™ attention by the collar and pulls them in, Iâ€™m ready to learn all about it. A Google a Day is one of those things. It’s a sweet puzzle site that improves searching (and discernment) skills by asking all sorts of questions and encouraging users to get better and better at finding answers.
Without the advantage of lots of experience, newer teachers struggle with curriculum pacing, instructional and behavior management, and knowing how to keep ever-increasing numbers of students learning in small classroom spaces. Experienced teachers have these basics mastered and are ready to tackle the challenges of experimenting with all kinds of new instructional toolsâ€¦including new technology.
They first learned to own the learning, and now I see a second big change in the way my students perceive learning and school. They are willing to experiment with how to organize themselves and to evaluate if it worked or not. Owning the learning AND owning the learning environment are two separate things. I believe having both perceptions in play is essential for students to maximize the learning potential.
This article, reprinted with permission, appears as part of the “Why I Write” celebration, sponsored by the National Writing Project, and taking place this week across the nation. Science and math educator Marsha Ratzel, who writes regularly for PLP’s Voices from the Learning Revolution group blog, was one of several teachers asked to submit essays for the NWP project. In her piece, Marsha explains why it’s so important that students write as a way to learn scienceâ€”and why science teachers should write as well.