Which comes first, acquisition of technology skills or using technology skills for deeper inquiry?

Ah, Arvind Grover asks in his most recent blog posts Should We Teach Software Skills, How to we blend learning skills with higher order thinking? Do we teach kids PowerPoint or do we teach them how to make fantastic presentations using digital tools? If you say obviously the latter, can you do that without a digital slideshow tool like PowerPoint? And if you do, don’t you need to teach them that tool? While someone above argued that we are using overkill tools to teach our kids (which I agree with), I don’t think we are going to find a totally […]

Parting Waters – A Digital Storytelling Project for the Rest of the 11th Grade

At our school, a junior must take either US History or AP US History during the junior year. Because of the demands of the AP curriculum and the emphasis on writing, students in this class often do not get a chance to utilize alternative ways to develop their narrative voice. Because of the success of our Vietnam project, Kevin Randolph and I have been trying to find the right time and the right project to allow these students to create a digital story using pictures and sound. Because of the timing of their coverage of the AP material and our […]

Reflections – The Machine is Us/ing Us

[my note – This posting is being created as a draft of an email that I will be sending to my faculty and staff, those not currently involved using web 2.0 tools.] Yesterday, during an all-school faculty meeting, Kevin Randolph, our History Department chair, presented one of the videos that students created for a project that asked the question, what did Vietnam mean? The example of student work and the process of collaboration between students and teachers used reminds us about what can be accomplished using visual imagery to illustrate and communicate complex ideas. This is a realm that we […]

Frustrations – A Personal Learning Experience Finally Gone Right

This semester, I am teaching a course in Computer Programming. This course is an introduction to Java which serves as a prerequisite to the AP Computer Science class that I also teach. Earlier this year, my old 40 Gb hard drive it the dust right around the time that my 80 Gb upgraded drive arrived. Instead of just porting all of the data and applications, I decided to rebuild my drive one application at a time. Since I was not teaching a programming course, I did not install a compiler. My programming course started on Tuesday. I did an introduction […]

A Long and Rewarding Saturday

Teaching and Learning, as we are well aware, does not always take place within the classroom or during school hours. Sometimes it occurs in areas which are outside of your primary responsibilities.  And this is what I experienced today, many times over. Being at an independent school, we are asked to take part in many activities and wear many hats. One of the hats which I love to wear is being a Science Olympiad coach. This is the ninth year that I have been the co-director, along with the person who has become my best friend, and we are fortunate […]