Being an Iowa farm girl, Field of Dreams was a magical movie that unveiled the possibilities of open land full of waving rows of corn. I still think of the whispering, “If you build it, they will come,” and smile. So many times throughout my teaching career that same whisper ran through my mind…
”If you…..they will….”
and today I heard that whisper again.
I had this amazing opportunity to bring in a set of classroom iPads with students that have very little technology in their classroom. As you can imagine, the students were so excited for ‘sandbox time.’ In my experience, allowing students to explore the possibilities of the technology on their own with few parameters allows choice, problem-solving, exploration, and so much more. I also know when I expect my students to create for a certain task, I can almost guarantee they will be more productive and on-task because there was time to explore.
For the next 45 minutes, we watched, asking a question here and there, but mostly we watched. We watched students problem solve while coding, even though they had limited experience. We watched as they collaborated and discussed. We watched as they created stories with funny voices and couldn’t wait to share with someone next to them.
When our time drew to a close, they reluctantly handed over the iPads. When asked about the experience, every hand shot into the air. We heard things like:
“I loved that I could create a story.”
“It was so fun to use my imagination.”
“I was really challenged with that coding app. It was pretty tough, but I figured it out.”
“I got to make my own movie!”
The truth is, I still hear naysayers in regards to technology in the classroom. Had any of those opponents been witness to the learning and creativity that was happening today, I believe they might have also heard the whispering….
“If you provide it, they will benefit.”
--Mindy Cairney, GWAEA Technology Consultant
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