Tech Helps Kids Do Important Things: Cheryl Arnett
Position: Second Grade Teacher
District/School: Moffat County School District/Sunset Elementary School, Co.
Number of Students in District/School: 2,400/300
The objective of my project, encompassing all the technology listed above, was to engage my second grade students in meaningful learning by giving them opportunities to explore real world topics. They were encouraged to share their learning with others, including a world audience, and participate in service projects. The students learned that even at a young age they could make a difference and have a voice.
One of my students said it best, “Even little kids can do important things and make a difference.” Every adult visitor to our classroom, including experts, news reporters, substitute teachers, and the principal remarked on the students’ depth of knowledge, vocabulary, and confidence in discussing real issues. Parents reported that their children were excited about school and sharing their new knowledge at home as they made connections to real world situations.
The learning curve was adjusted as I put aside units and lessons I had taught in the past and, instead, took into consideration current event opportunities and the passions of the students, creating new lessons that would incorporate the different technologies. The lesson began with a standard or skill, and the available tools. Even at a young age, the students knew technology could be used to answer questions, and they were excited to use the technology tools to research meaningful real world topics. It was not necessary for me to have the answers to all their questions. We learned together.
How We Use It:
We covered core skills and content, but we did so in the context of real life settings and subjects, using technology as the tool. We used Skype and flip cameras as students learned history by interviewing grandparents then producing a video using Windows Live Movie Maker and burning DVDs.
Students learned to create a brochure while studying the deer population in our city, using Microsoft Word. Students also Used Microsoft PhotoStory3 to create visual presentations of lessons, and Mouse Mischief to develop quizzes to test the knowledge of their peers.
Our school is using collaboration time to share innovative ideas and help other teachers make the transformation in their classrooms. The district is supporting innovation as well and exploring the best ways to use and incorporate technology for all students in all classrooms. Five local teachers have been selected to attend the Microsoft Partners In Learning US Innovative Education Forum in Redmond, Washington.