Lately, as I reflect on the learning that occurs in my classroom, I am energized by the realization that we are just breaking into the notion of 21st century learning.
The greatest discovery I have uncovered as a teacher is the idea of students constructing and creating their own knowledge based around specific objectives. My role is to provide the tools and ask the essential questions. However, providing a cookie cutter lesson is not the vision I have for a modern classroom.
Marazano's Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works offers several ways for this vision to become a reality. This book contains many resources and provides corresponding research. Russel and Sorge are quoted supporting this approach, "technology can give students more control over their learning." The shift that is happening empowers students to be the leaders and facilitators.
In our 3rd grade classroom, students are engaging in this empowerment. I'm encouraging them to construct and apply uses for our ipod touch as a learning tool. Instead of the old approach of teaching the technology (how to make a powerpoint, imovie, etc), students are discovering the apps and working to find applications.
My objective is to teach in a classroom where students are artists, builders, discovers and CEOs of learning (Creators of Enduring Ownership). I hope for my students to understand the difference between being handed a coloring book and a blank canvas. I want to provide the canvas, tools, inspiration and environment necessary for a masterpiece. I'm trying to divert from handing out coloring books, worksheets, workbooks and any other tool that forces learners to stay neatly within the lines.
How am I providing a learning canvas? Below you will see a list of just some of the tools I have discovered to support learners constructing their knowledge. I am eager to see this list grow. Please post suggestions.
Story Kit and Story Robes-Add photos, text and audio to create a digital book
Sketches-Insert and create images including text, shapes and drawing features
iMind Map-Interactive Brainstorming web
Notes- Make lists, take notes, write ideas
Freesaurus-Get to know unfamiliar words by finding definition, synonyms and antonyms
Brushes-Paint, layer and draw artwork
Flashcards-Make your own interactive FlashCards
AudioBoo-Record and publish a podcast
ClassPress-Student-friendly blogs including lots of personalization options
Wiffiti-Interactive virtual board to brainstorm and collaborate
Capzles-Create an online time capsule
Wordle-Design a word collage