Adding Tools To My Technology Tool Belt
In the last six weeks, I have learned about many different activity types (involving technology) that can be implemented in the classroom to help engage students and incorporate their different learning styles. Of all the activity types discussed and explored this term, there are two that stand out to me as being especially useful in preparing tech-enhanced lesson: comic strips and livescribes.
Comic strips present information and stories in a fun and visually appealing way. Teacher’s can use this as a teaching tool to present boring and/or difficult information to their students in a more interesting way, acknowledging and engaging students of all different types of learning styles.
Since the process of creating comic strips is fairly easy, it can be used for many different grade levels, from primary to junior aged children, for purposes ranging from learning the skill of writing to a more complex idea such as studying narratives. The software is easily accessible (ex. Comic Life) and can therefore be downloaded easily onto computers in a computer lab. Creating comic strips invites students to activate their “creative juices” in order to create their on comic. This activity allows children to make their own choices in creating their final product. They choose backgrounds, characters, props, plots, dialogues, etc., and through this process of making choices, students become more efficient at organization their thoughts, ideas and information in a way that is meaningful to them. With this type of activity, children can create drafts and revise their work as they see necessary until they are happy with the final product. At the end of the activity, students could present their comics to the class and these presentations could be used as a form of assessment.
The other activity type which I found to be very useful in teaching would be the use of livescribes. Livescribes consist of a smartpen, paper and associated software. The smartpen is a ballpoint pen with an embedded digital audio recorder. When this pen is used on the proper paper, it records what is written and can be uploaded to a computer later on. Along the way, students can choose to record audio in addition to their handwritten text. I see this tool being especially beneficial to students who struggle with written communication. Though they’d be encouraged to persevere with their piece of writing, the pen allows them the opportunity to verbally explain their thoughts as well.
In my grade 2 placement, there is a little boy who is very behind in his written communication skills, but can communicate quite well verbally. Thus, this technology tool could be used with him in order to capture his thoughts and ideas without having him feel stressed about the writing part. It would allow him the opportunity to verbally communicate his thoughts by using the audio recording option.