Tech or Treat with Gail Lovely: It's Not The Technology; It's The Learning!

All sessions will be archived!

Steve Dembo introduced our East Coast Keynote Speaker, Gail Lovely, as someone from whom he borrows ideas and learning all the time because she is an expert in early education. Having said that, Steve gave the microphone and controls to Gail, who began with an interesting question. Can you be a good teacher without technology? And the answer is yes, but technology is a part of learning. It’s not about the technology, states Lovely; it’s about the learning.

Monitor students with questions

Lovely’s students engage in project-based learning, but reminds us that we need to watch their access and monitor what they learn. An end result for a young student working on a project about missions should not necessarily conclude that today missions look new and years ago they were older. You just cannot turn students loose without monitoring what their outcome learning should be. You do that by continuing to ask students questions.
Tools are only one piece of the learning. So, why technologies anyway. Because of the advantages. They ease tedious tasks. Keep things neater and cleaner in the copying process. Relieves the tedium. Easier bibliographies.

We also want to think about how technology brings us access, and that is almost overwhelming. We need to get beyond the stuff. Wolfram gives students access to things in one place. We need to be looking for organized information in one place, and that access point is getting easier and easier. We have access to experts and others.

Storylineonline.net lets students listen to book read by famous people. There are many sites that are sharing sites and open access sites. Wallwisher is a great site for organizing and collating information that students create. Technology also gives us the power to explore things digitally that could otherwise be dangerous. Media gives us additional access, and Lovely cites the Discovery Education platform of tools that provide unparalleled access.

Storybird.com is a great collaborative site that allows students to share the story writing. There are many ways to work on vocabulary; try www.visuwords.com to engage students with another choice for learning.

Voicethread connects students to the world

Technology also gives us different ways to share what we learn. Instead of a conventional map assignment, where the book gives us all the information, try for a deeper learning experience with Google Maps, using pinpoints to embed more information. Technology also gives us an authentic audience, moving beyond just one teacher, bulletin board, or hallway. Audience changes a product, and when your audience is the world, the learning changes exponentially. You give your students an interface to the real world, and that is what educational technology should do. The power of sharing outweighs the danger of commenting, because you can monitor and proctor comments, deciding who may/not participate, as well as deleting via editing. As a classroom teacher, the rewards are tremendous when we become comfortable with the riches that come with technology.

Thinking tools to help

So how do we become cognitive about what tools we use, since there is such a proliferation of technology access. First, take a look at local, state, nation curriculum and then ask yourself what do you want your students to learn. Next is strategies. Social learning, self skills, learning styles. You also need to think about the technology tools and assessessments. How will we know we made good choices in selecting a plan and a tool.

Thinking tools help: Bloom’s Taxonomy connects to technology. The Differentiator gives you verbs to use in planning. Educationeye is a cool new mapping tool in a new format and venue that is interactive. Many opportunities abound with this tool. Part of what we love is finding the geeky new cool tool, and this tool fits the bill. We take it and massage it to make it fit.

So, after the decision-making, how do we know what we have planned is truly effective? Lovely suggests that we check out this resource. Ending on the finest note, Lovely reminds us to honor our students as teachers and learners. If you want to stay in touch with Gail Lovely, check her contact information.

Comments

  1. Kari Maskalis

    Who knew that there was something out there like visuwords?!? I love that there is this resource out there that my students can use to better understand words from passages in class. It allows them the opportunity to see the meaning behind the word, but even better, they are given the opportunity to see how a particular word relates to other words. I can\’t wait to begin using this in my classroom!

  2. Megan

    I agree that technology should be used for it’s purpose, which is to make tasks easier and more efficient. I loved the websites that Gail provided because they are helping teachers to make learning more exciting and better. Storyonline.com makes reading books more exciting because it’s being viewed online. Skyping an author helps the students to relate to the author even more, without paying for the high cost of him/her visiting the school.
    I’ve skyped with Laura Numeroff for the past two years, and my kids LOVED it! It was so exciting to them (and me) to hear their own personal questions being answered by a world renowned author!

    Keep up the great work Grace! :)
    Megan

  3. Lori Baxter

    I couldn’t agree more that technology brings us access, but it is oftentimes very overwhelming. That is one of my biggest challenges with using it in my classroom. I am thankful that I can go to forums like this and have a professional learning community that I can access to help narrow down useful tools to use in my classroom. The information and sites you provided have been very helpful in my decision-making process. Thanks!

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