Gadgets and Gizmos of Plenty…

…I’ve got who’s it and what’s it galore! Got a thingamabox? I’ve got 20, but who cares, no big deal, I want more…”

If you have a princess at home you know that song. I know every word (can’t blame my princess I was actually in elementary school when the movie came out). If you don’t have a child, that song is from Little Mermaid. I cannot tell you how many times over the past week while at #ISTE10 that song came to my mind.  I think it best sums up what I got most out of the conference.

There were sessions on how to use this or that “gadget or gizmo.” I think that is great, many people attending are there because they do not know how to use some technology or are still learning how to be comfortable with them. Also, so many do not read blogs or have a PLN and have no way to keep up with lastest technology. But I did not go to many of those. Many of the sessions I did go to all had common theme: Creativity.

It does not mater which tools you are comfortable using with your students, it doesn’t matter how difficult or simple they are. The important thing is HOW you use them.  Technology – gadgets and gizmos – are worthless if just being used to regurgitate facts or practice for a test. We need students to be creative.  We need to teach them to think outside the regurgitating typical school mindset.

Teachers must have that climate in their classroom. A climate that allows for failure. I “try and try again” safe place.  Also a climate that asks “what can you do” not “you must do it this way.” Have kids make music, movies, blog, websites, whatever. Use those wonderful gadgets and gizmos to promote this creativity. That is what they are here for, but also lead students throught he creative process. Give them examples, do not just have one due date – have dates throughout the project so you can give feedback (and youbetter give imediate feedback).  The students need to use tools they are comfortable with not just one to choose from. Let students use thier abilities and talents to create wonderful things.

We are preparing students for their future (well we are supposed to be) and careers more and more rely creating something. So lets teach them how to do that correctly.  Lets teach them to be comfortable with trying something new and comfortable with the positive negative feedback that comes with it.  Lets teach them how to use that feedback for good.

The Little Mermaid ended up getting her legs at the end of the movie. Let us help our kids get their legs and grow into the creative/thinking adults they deserve to be.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Good post! I have been thinking about similar things lately (though I didn’t have the fortunate experience of attending ISTE…).

    It’s not about the tools that we use, but how we use them. I really like what you say about having a climate that asks “What can you do?” and not “You must do it this way.” This kind of student-centered teaching will only reap great benefits for our students.

  2. Lisa Nielsen says:

    Nice reflection and insights. I’ve been following #ISTE10 and reading reflections like yours and feeling fortunate to get what feels like the highlight reel 🙂

    One thing I’d add to this is the importance of having students find authentic audiences resulting in the most important feedback for students…tat of those who share their passions, rather than those of a teacher. It’s better for the student and takes some pressure off of teachers.

    Creating is really the second step. Finding your audience and medium should come first but still rarely does.

  3. ktenkely says:

    Gee thanks, going to have that song stuck in my head for eternity now! ;o)
    I walked away with the same feeling, especially in the vendor hall. Talk about gadgets and thingamajigs! But it is what we do with them that is important. It is about how they influence learning, deep thinking, and creativity. Without those, the gadget is worthless in the classroom.

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