Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On Being Resourceful...

Teachers have always been a resourceful lot. Whether it is the student who shows up to class without their book, limited class access to resources, or only one Internet connected computer in the classroom, we just find a way to make it work. This has always been the case and its no different with digital learning tools. Have the need for photos? Have the students who own a cell phone with a camera take the photos. Need a quick website for a project your class is working on? Create a wiki in wikispaces or a blog in posterous.  

Yesterday in our French IV class we had the unanticipated need for a small team of students to do a quick recording and post it online for use within a google site that they were working on. The solution? One of the students had an iPhone so I asked her to install iPadio, do their recording, and then publish it online. After this was done, she embedded it on her team's site (I'm also embedding it below-its in french, which means I have no idea what the students are saying). All told, this process probably took 15 minutes-contrast that with the typical process of tracking down a school owned audio recorder/mic, doing the recording into garageband/audacity, editing, and then posting online.

I can imagine a bazillion other ways to use student owned iOS devices in our classes. Teaching music theory and don't have enough guitars/pianos to go around? Ask students who own an iOS device to install a guitar or piano app. Have a need for students to do some sketching, painting or drawing? Have interested students use a drawing program for their cellphone to try creating in the digital medium (see this piece from the NYTimes titled, "Subway Sketches").

As some of our students return from winter break in January outfitted with new digital devices, I wonder how we can ready ourselves to be resourceful and to make use of student owned technologies in positive ways in our schools.

What are some ways that you've been resourceful in your classroom with digital tools?

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