Friday, April 18, 2014

Creating Fluid Learners: Mixing Technology and Tradition

I have been seeing so much online from both sides of the technology divide about what students "MUST" do. The voices are so loud! Almost deafening at times and they aren't always very nice. Each side fears that that the other wants to take away what they hold most dear, and they both  fling scientific studies, data, and experts at each other, but to what end? I am very much a tech geek (obviously) , and I fly my geek flag high. Whenever I go on vacation I almost need a separate bag to carry all of my devices and their chargers.  

I was raised on a steady diet of nice hefty books, freshly sharpened pencils, and boxes of sixty-four Crayola crayons (with the sharpener in the back), but I also had computers in my school and in my classrooms starting in kindergarten, and a computer at home starting in fourth grade. Granted the floppy discs were bigger than my hand, but I digress. As you can see I grew up moving fluidly between screens and paper. I want that same thing for my students. Quite frankly I believe that students MUST have both if they are going to be successful in life!

If you've been reading this blog for a while you know that we are a 1:1 iPad school.  Many times when people hear that they assume that we've thrown out all of the paper and pencil tradition and panic ensues. "They have to learn to write" naysayers shout in a panic, and my kiddos do. We plan, draft, revise, edit, and illustrate on paper. We take dictation in cute little notebooks, and scribble, scratch, and scrawl with colored pens in our writing center.  

Then we whip out our iPads and type out final copies faster than you can say "oops I ripped my paper while I was erasing". I can sit down with my kiddos and really go deep into editing and revising without the stress of them having to worry about copying it over again. Nothing gets in the way of others enjoying our writing, even when those fine motor skills are still developing.

We also love to read, and we read everywhere…big books, Kindle books, mini books, chapter books, poems on paper, poems on the screen, poems on charts, Myon books, Razkids books, books to color, and books you hold. Every one helps us to become better readers each and every day.



In math manipulatives hang out alongside fact practice apps, and worksheets in Notability, and we practice that pencil grip with our styluses.  We buddy up to roll virtual dice, play games with real cards, and color by number! 

We get the best of both worlds, and everybody wins. Particularly my students! They will grow up being able to access information anywhere they choose, and they will be able to slide fluidly between technology and tradition. They won't have to choose!

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