When I was a kid, I wanted to be just like Bill and Ted…you know, those guys who had a totally gnarly, totally Excellent Adventure? Here’s a video clip to refresh your memory:
This time of year, spooky things happen. Some can be explained, but many others can't. Maybe it's the full moon, the change of the seasons, the weather, or the flu season to blame. Or maybe, just maybe, it's the student buy-in piece that all of a sudden creates an incredible desire to create incredible products using the tools that they have. We may never be able to explain the transition as we watch our little Frankensteins become the Mozarts of Multimedia. In all honesty, we don't really need to.
This time of year, students are becoming increasingly comfortable with the technology and tools that they have at their disposal in the classroom and outside of it. They have had more than 2 months to get comfortable in their new setting and are ready for a challenge. Now is the time to challenge our students and make them use process-based learning to create a truly incredible product. For example, check out the video of this haunted classroom:
As election season creeps up on us like a herd of thundering rhinoceroses, I am constantly reminded by CTA that I should vote to support education (no kidding?), reminded by the district that our situation will become dire unless much needed fiscal relief arrives in the form of propositions passed (is this how Marie Antoinette felt pre-guillotine slice?), and reminded by my wallet that I really need a bigger classroom budget if I’m going to pull off the 2012-2013 school year. As the budget gap widens in the state of California, educators are getting more and more creative about how they get things done. I’m pretty sure I’ve even seen this guy wandering in and out of the staff room at my school site:
If you give a school a principal with a technology vision, technology will become a priority.
If you make technology a priority, you will find a way to fund the new technology.
If you find a way to fund the new technology, every student at your school will have access to the newest, most efficient and dynamic technology available.
If you give every student at the school access to the most dynamic technology out there, it is bound to fail.
After reading through some of Dan Meyer's blog posts, I became inspired. Dan is a genius when it comes to mathematics education and integrating real-world scenarios into his lessons. As a way to challenge myself and my groups of 8th grade Algebra students, I took the approach of "Be less helpful" and ran with it.
The problem that was posed to the class was this:
"How much money would you have to make in order to turn a profit as a pumpkin farmer?"
"How many pumpkins would you need to sell in order to make this happen?"
My district just opened up a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) network and they are allowing us to voluntarily bring in our iPads, laptops, cell phones, and other devices that connect to the district wi-fi network. We are not the only district rolling this out to the eager staff, so it would be helpful to share the experiences of a 1 iPad classroom.
The iPad Jedi Masters are lead learners and instructors who are part of the PSUSD iPad Trailblazer Project. Two of the AppsInClass crew contribute to this blog:
John Stevens, Math Teacher
Jessica Pack, Language Arts, Social Studies, and Video Production Teacher