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As the year ends. A brief look back.

May 26, 2014

This school year was full of new lessons, not just for my students but mainly for me. As we delved into integrating technology in our daily class we had the opportunity of testing what worked and what didn’t work for each particular subject. There were many victories and many lessons to learn and as the year ends for us, I would like to share some of those lessons here.

  1. Students+Technology=Awesomeness. This year gave us a sneak peak into what students are capable when given tools and activities that are related to their daily lives. Nothing is more related to their lives than technology and bringing it into the classroom allowed them to show what they were capable of.
  2. An open prompt can elicit the best of works. We are used to students just doing the least possible, to just do enough to pass the grade. This year and in particular this semester we tried giving assignments where they would only have enough to know what was asked of them but not so much that they did not have space for their creativity. The results were just amazing. When they were not told how to do things they came up with solutions that I hadn’t even thought about.
  3. Even the most apathetic of students can be excited about class. We all have that student that is not interested in doing anything. When we saw that even those students that were not usually into class were doing all their work and were participating of the discussions we knew we were on to something. Just by allowing them to use their devices in class we had them working and collaborating in class.
  4. Technology alone is not enough. In the science class we tested different technologies to present their science project and although in all cases they used pretty cool tools like QR codes, Augmented reality and the sort, we noticed that when students came up with their own research questions their projects were better than those who had to select a question from a list. A lot better.
  5. Integrating technology takes time. Because our students are not used to looking at their devices as something used for learning, getting them to get in the habit of using it as an educational tool can take some time and effort. At first we had some struggle with students who just wanted to play but after a couple of weeks and some hard work they were able to see their devices as tools that could make their learning process more efficient.
  6. Sometimes pencil and paper is all the technology that we need. In those instances where all of their attention was needed to complete a task, the tablet became a distractor more than a tool. In those cases we resorted to the old paper and pencil and that would do the trick.

There were many other lessons that could be shared but this was supposed to be a brief look back, so I will leave it at this.

What lessons did you learn this year?

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