Teaching with Technology

Background

During this week’s lesson with CEP 810, I investigated many different technology tools (GoogleDocs, Kidblog, Prezi, JeopardyLabs, and ClassTools). Throughout my inquiry, I fell in love with Kidblog. I loved the idea of students being able to vent their frustrations with math, ask for help outside of school, and write papers in a modern setting. I even had many discussions about this website with the Technology teacher at the middle school where I currently teach. Since this is a tool I would like to implement next year, I decided to create a lesson that centered on the use of Kidblog.

Connections to Curriculum

Currently, my middle school implements the Carnegie curriculum. Carnegie is a way to “reinvent the traditional way of teaching math.” This curriculum is about asking “why” and investigating instead of memorizing steps.

Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown (2011) suggested that the “classroom is replaced by learning environments in which digital media provides access to a rich source of information and play, and the processes that occur within those environments are integral to the results” (p. 37-38). In addition, “playing is how people generate new understanding” and students must “focus more on where information comes from” and how to generate content that represents their learning (p. 91-99).

To keep with both of these new waves of teaching, I decided to have students investigate how to solve a one or two-step equation on the Internet. This allows for the “play” factor of Thomas and Brown’s theory and improves students’ ability to retrieve reliable information on the Internet.  Using Kidblog allows for the teacher to identify where students are still struggling with the concept as well as for students to “show off” their new information by writing in their own words.

Renee Hobbs (2011) uses “five communication competencies as fundamental literacy practices that are now part of learning across all subject areas” (p. 12) which include access, analyze, create, reflect, and act. I used these to outline my own lesson. First, students must access important information that answers both of their assigned questions. While they are investigating, they must analyze this information for reliable sources and for understanding. It is important for students to understand what they are reading so they can rewrite it in their own words. Using Kidblog encompasses the reflecting and acting. Students are publishing their new information by reflecting on what they have learned and putting this understanding in their own words. The class discussion that will occur the next day in class also allows for students to act on their new information and lead to the understanding of how to solve one and two-step equations.

The Lesson

For the complete lesson, student worksheet, and rubric, click the link below.

Teaching with Technology

References

Carnegie Learning. (2013). About Us. Carnegielearning.com. Retrieved June 8, 2013, from http://www.carnegielearning.com/about/.

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky: CreateSpace?.

Hobbs, R. (2011). Digital and media literacy: Connecting culture and classroom. Thousand, Oaks, CA: Corwin/Sage.

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