Engaging Digital Learners
February 15, 2011

Educators from around the state participated in this excellent learning event focused on how to use technology most effectively to engage students in learning. Mary Beth Bazanella, Matt Cormier, Julie Starling, & Jill Montoya did an excellent job of facilitating this hands-on workshop. Participants had the opportunity to explore a variety of technology tools using Jeffco laptop computers.

Just a few of the tools shared include the following:

  • Jigsaw Planet  
    • Great for brainstorming
    • Input “stuff” & it puts information into a puzzle
  • Tagxedo
    • Turns words into visually appealing pictures
  • GoogleDocs
    • Similar to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
    • Available online for easy access and collaboration

Besides learning about some useful technology tools, each of us came away with our own "nuggets" of valuable learning. My "most important learning" helped put me at ease when I think about the myriad of technology tools out there. According to Marc Prensky's book, Teaching Digital Learners, there are two important "parts of speech" when it comes to technology:

  • Verbs: Verbs are the skills kids should know & be able to use which change little to not at all.
  • Nouns: Nouns are the tools we use to learn, practice, and implement those skills (verbs).

The tools (hundreds of applications) change with increasing rapidity. Teachers do not need to be the experts on "the nouns" (in the use of all those tools). What we do need to know is what is the skill ("the verb") that we want kids to know and be able to do. The role of the teacher is to be a partner, guide, and controller of quality and rigor.

The presenters based a portion of their work on two resources: Teaching Digital Learners (Marc Prensky) & Choosing Web 2.0 Tools for Learning and Teaching in a Digital World (Pam Berger & Sally Trexler). You might want to check them out.

Thanks, Matt, Mary Beth, Jill & Julie!
This was a great workshop!

View slideshow of this event.

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