Sunday, January 29, 2012

Speaking Loudly

As I sat in a presentation being given my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. K, about China, I could not fight the urge to blog about the experience. Mrs. K was using an actual slide projector. (One of my students asked while she was setting it up, “What is that thing?”) Every year she comes and talks about her trip to China, shows some great slides, shares some great stories and provides a great first-hand knowledge based learning experience for my students.

This year my students and I tried to incorporate technology into this presentation. We used to back channel during her presentation. (I cleared it with her first.) The students did an amazing job of following along, asking questions, making comments, reflecting, connecting to their own experiences. I sat in the back and tried to answer some questions, shared additional websites and pictures for them to look at during the presentation. They started to answer each other’s questions and engage in conversations about the presentation. All without interrupting the speaker!

This is why I teach! It was so fun for me to watch, react and learn right with the students. They gained a voice when they are normally supposed to be quiet. They got the live presentation plus additional, relevant information instantly. Another benefit was that I was able to invite parents to “watch” the conversation. This provides a connection between school and home and allows parents to be involved in their child’s education.

Technology opens up the world to our students. It shrinks the world for students and allows them to experience things we as teachers could not provide without it.