Transforming Lessons with Technology: Elaine Plybon at 2012 Social Learning Summit

DEN STAR and GURU Finalist, Elaine Plybon is a super-nova. Get your seat belts ready for a fast ride. An IT in a 1:1 district for 10 years, Elaine’s session will be about a way of thinking, a philosophy, and not about 1:1 and what can be done with it. This session targets high school lessons but can be pushed back for use with younger students.

Elaine began with a video to illustrate what she means when she discusses transforming education with technology.

RICE–choose wisely. An acronym, technology should be relevant; implementation factors should include bandwidth and time constraints; cost means can the district support it or is it FREE, and experience both on the part of the teacher and the students. The screenshot to the right is an iPhone chat where a teacher had the students define vocabulary on their phones. Not a great use of technology. A better use was a chemistry class where the students created a texting conversation they would have had with their peers, but one student was sodium and the other was chlorine. A much better use of technology, don’t you think, because the conversation was relevant, used text language, but had to connect to content. Very clever intro to a bonding unit and how elements interact. Creates something new, couldn’t be google searched, and was meaningful and authentic because it eliminate copying.

Fakeiphonetext is an interesting site that allows students to converse as fictional characters or historical figures; or you could use it as different geometrical shapes in conversation, or a farmer and a banker in conversation during the Great Depression.

One example of marrying technology to content was an English class developing content using Pinterest. You could create an entire biography in depth for a character that could come to life on a board. I like this idea, and it definitely has application in other subject areas.

For Social Studies, to avoid just a research and report was to create a fake Facebook wall. While Elaine mentioned two sites, I preferred a template that I used with my students because it bypassed the website and gave students total control. With 3 minutes and counting, I had to leave this session to open the next one. Thank you, Elaine, for your presentation.




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  1. Elaine Plybon said:

    Thank you, RJ, for this post! It was a great virtual day, and the collaboration between Discovery and Classroom 2.0 proved to be a wonderful thing!

  2. Mary said:

    Hi, I’m Mary 🙂 Very interesting post! And I must say I totally look foward to introducing technology into the classroom. One of my favourite free apps is called Nearpod. Have you heard of it? It works wonderfully, my students love it! I think this is much connected to the topic of your post.


  3. Charles said:

    Technology is definitely transforming education. Mary, I’ve heard about Nearpod too and some colleagues told me it’s great and all those real time assessment tools are awesome for teachers. I’ll try it soon and tell you how it went.

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