"Technology should be present but ‘invisible’. When we pick up a pen or pencil, we don’t call it a ‘pencil activity’, the same goes for any other technology." ~ David Truss
It's amazing how things come together. On Friday I was fortunate to be covering for a principal at a school close to mine while she attended a meeting. Fortunate because I was invited to be a guest in a grade 5 classroom that was presenting their research findings to the local member of provincial parliament (@JeffYurekMPP), the mayor of Central Elgin, representatives from Kettle Creek Conservation Authority and Erin Mutch our learning coordinator for environment education. The project was designed by the classroom teacher and Jen Aston, an instructional coach with our board. As I moved from group to group and talked to the students I began to formulate this blog post in my mind. Then, this morning I saw a tweet referencing a blog post by David Truss that consolidated my thinking for this post.
This research project was the first opportunity for student to make use of their Google Apps for Education Account and the school Chromebooks. They were placed in groups to research the topic of blue-green algae, which has a strong local connection considering the proximity to Lake Erie. Many students live on farms close to the Lake and have seen the effects that blue-green algae can have. The presentation started with an Adobe Voice story that you can see below. Then groups were given time to show their Google Slides presentations to the guests and answer their questions. They demonstrated very clearly their knowledge of blue-green algae. It was very impressive, but what happened at the end was equally impressive.
The final 10 minutes was dedicated to asking questions of the guests. The students learned about government initiatives to help protect the Great Lakes and how the Kettle Creek Conservation Authority supports keeping Lake Erie healthy. When the students finished asking questions the guests had some questions for them. It was this question that sparked today's post - "What was something new you learned from researching this topic?" The responses were what you would expect:
- what causes blue-green algae
- what causes it grow
- why it's bad
- how it can be good
- possible treatments to fix the problem
What I didn't hear:
- how to Google the topic
- how to use my GAFE account
- how to use Google Slides
- how to use Adobe Voice
- how to use the Chromebooks
For these students, who were using their GAFE accounts and Chromebooks for the first time, made the technology invisible. Their teacher and the instructional coach made the project about the research, not the technology. Exactly the way it should be. Kudos to all involved! A perfect example of a teacher stepping outside of her comfort zone with the support of an instructional coach creating a project that was engaging and relevant for their students.
Don't forget to check out the Adobe Voice story below. I'd love to hear your thoughts.