Saturday, March 19, 2016

Wax Museum Tech Integration Musings

Friday was the 23rd year for fifth graders at Chattanooga Christian School to have the wax museum. It is an opportunity for students to read a biography book and share the research they have learned about their person of interest. They dress like the person, prepare a brief speech and create a visual to support their learning.

This year students were given the option of creating a tri-fold poster presentation, Google slides presentation or a keynote presentation. Out of 64 students about 20 chose the technology-based presentation model. I worked with these students to help them plan the timing of their presentations to match their speech. I talked to them about the fact that a visual was there to support what they were saying but shouldn't have so much information that it could replace them. We talked about fonts and colors, photo placements, and the difference between good animation and annoying animation. And then the students ran with it. They all did an excellent job! 

Every year they are required to have a "button/bell/switch" that a viewer can press to turn on the wax museum presenter and hear the speech. Some students put time into creating the perfect button, others draw "press here" on a piece of paper and are done with it but these three below stopped me in my tracks:
Do you see their "buttons"? Yes, they found a way to use their iPads to create a button/bell/switch. You see for the first year ever, CCS fifth graders are in a 1:1 environment. They bring their iPads to school with them everyday to support the learning in their classroom. Why did this surprise me? It wasn't on my radar. I didn't know there were bell/buzzer/switches apps on the iPad. I don't even know which student started the trend but it was an epiphany moment for me. 

As an instructional technologist I work hard for technology not to drive a lesson but enhance it. I believe in technology integration as a tool to support the learning environment. I'm fairly vigilant about that but this was a first for me...student driven technology integration in fifth grade! I love the fact that this project gives our students enough flexibility that they can think outside the box to meet the needs put before them. I am encouraged by this first year of technology integration in fifth grade. I can't wait to see what well written rubrics and the power of creative minds will do in the future. 

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