Sunday, April 7, 2013

Necessary Furniture

I'm always rejuvenated by articles supporting the use of technology in the classroom. This morning Twitter provided me with two I would like to share. I've long been a proponent of technology as a tool for learning. It opens the door for learning. It makes learning exciting. It encourages students to take learning into their own hands. Dependent learners are limited learners. An article in USA Today featured schools in Sioux City, South Dakota, who is spending $7.3 million to put iPads in the hands of K-2 students and Google ChromeBooks in the hands of 3-12th graders.  Sioux City schools are calling the machines "necessary furniture".  A few clicks later, I ran across a video, embedded above, of how teachers in North Carolina are learning how to use the iPad for students who are visually impaired.  Macombs and Miller (2009) cite Stephanie Pace Marshall, founder of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, who is quoted as saying, ' "We are born learning beings.  We naturally imagine, wonder, invent, and explore our way into unknown territories and perplexing and paradoxical questions.  Our curiosity and insatiable drive to know and figure things out in innate." '  Compare this worksheet my son, Mason, did while in school to this digital story (part of a state-wide digital story telling initiative the brain child of Dr. Wesley Fryer and Dr. Dana Owens).
Cliff Williams WWII Veteran.  What if Mason had completed a narrated screen cast using an iPad to describe what he had learned about chemical reactions and in it compared it to chemical reactions in fireworks from this lesson on Thinkfinity?  Technology affords the ability to learn in multilayers. This multilayered learning is like watching a spontaneous shower of fireworks.  Each display seems to get higher and higher with colorful cascades of reaction.  Necessary furniture and necessary fulmination.

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