I’m wondering when and why classrooms became these boarded down rooms, where teachers closed the doors to the outside world, and decided that students learn best within four walls and little or no outside interaction. When did this happen, and Dear God, why? Why in this day in age do we walk into schools and see doors closed, students sitting quietly at desks; no collaboration, no connection. That time is over, my friends. It is over. This is an exciting time to be an educator, because limits and boundaries that once held us back are gone, we, as educators, as people, just have to reach out and grab those opportunities to connect with the real world.
During a research assignment generated by my students interest in sea lions, my students developed questions that they just simply wanted to know the answers to. I did suggest to them, these questions should be original and something most people wouldn’t know the answers to. After conducting research, my students created a Google Slide presentation, a digital book, if you will. Students divided themselves into partners, and each partner team created their slide, fully equipped with videos, text, and pictures that answers or reinforced the answer to their questions. I truly believe, technology should be the method when there is no other medium that can deliver as effectively. However, the project did not stop there.
If there is one thing I know about students and people, in general, the best work is authentic, meaningful, and needs to be shared. What better audience than my students parents and loved ones. By using the Remind app, I shared the link for our Google Slide presentation with my students’ families, and gave them the opportunity to comment and watch their students work in real time. You just don’t know the excitement my students felt when their loved ones logged on and commented as they were working. What a driving force.
The takeaway from this experience: create and share. Provide students with a chance to truly show their hard work. The possibilities within Google Slides (and other Google Apps) provide such a platform share and collaborate. It blows my mind. All you have to do, is take a chance. Push that button. Your students will thank you for it, and trust me, these are the lessons your students will always remember.
I should also mention, I teach second grade. My students need little or no help logging in to a computer, and/or using it. They just had to be taught. Take the time to do that, it will be in the best interest of everyone.
Whitney Haynes – NBCT and Google Certified Educator
2nd Grade – Deer Park Elementary School – Owensboro, KY