Out With Erin

Exploring the Beauty of YYC and Beyond


At my school we have an iPad cart, with a set of iPads that can move from class to class. This has proven to be a little challenging, and we had many hiccups along the way, but they finally seem to be up and running consistently. I brought them into my class yesterday, and as a fun activity wanted my students to create a movie trailer for their parents, for our student-led conferences next Thursday. Prior to starting the activity I questioned how many students had used iMovie before, to which I was shocked by the surprise of only 3! I went through some minor instructions, but thought it might be best for the students to play around with it themselves.

After the first 5-10 minutes of constant questioning, “How do I do this? How do I do that?” it was incredible to see their abilities with a tool they had never used before. It was so intuitive for them to discover how to use it and their level of engagement was significantly high. They were out of their desks, collaborating together, mentoring other students, and fully appreciating the task at hand.

I think sometimes as teachers we over think our lessons. Our perfectionism and desire for control over takes the voice and ability of our students. I think we’re scared sometimes to let go and let our students lead. This proved to me, that if they have the tools necessary, the technology to enable, their voices and skills are apparent. Being a teacher in the 21st century, we need to be able to give control to our students over their learning and allow them to shine.

My class thoroughly engaged in their iMovie project.

My class thoroughly engaged in their iMovie project.

3 thoughts on “Give Children the Tool of Technology

  1. John Deines says:

    Interesting post! Check out Sugata Mitra’s work on ‘Hole in the Wall’ learning (http://www.hole-in-the-wall.com/MIE.html ). He talks about ‘Minimally Invasive Education’ (MIE), where children can learn on their own without intervention. Also, check out one of his TED talks about building a school in the cloud: http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_build_a_school_in_the_cloud.html My question to you is – how do you see this fitting within our teaching and learning framework?

    1. ekpetley says:

      I absolutely LOVE that video and Mitra’s work. It’s fascinating to see the things that kids can do without guidance, and what they can discover on their own.
      In this case, I still believe that it fits into our framework for a few reasons. First, the kids were given minor instructions on how to use iMovie, it wasn’t entirely a free fall. Secondly, in terms of technology, there are varying ability levels. If we spend all that time on the “I do and We do,” do we not lose engagement with certain students? If students have the knowledge and skills, why are we restricting them and forcing them to fit into our model?
      I believe our teaching and learning framework is flexible and allows us the ability to cater to different skills. I was able to help the students who needed the one-on-one attention, and the others could go at their own speed. Additionally, it allowed the students to collaborate, and learn from one another. Instead of asking me for help, they were asking other students. I think that is a powerful way to learn, as students are acting as the teacher as well.

      1. John Deines says:

        I agree. I also believe that our teaching and learning framework is flexible enough to cater different learning styles. Thanks for your response!

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