When Life Gives You Lemons, Throw Them BACK: Lack of Access to Technology in the Classroom
It’s hard to believe that I’m already four weeks into the school-year, but we are rockin’ N’ rollin’ at full speed this quarter!
Two weeks ago, my school’s administration told us that there would be a surprise for the entire staff! I crossed my fingers for more technology at our STEM school, especially the middle school floor, but that never happened. Instead, we received a bag of supplies (paper, scissors, glue, markers, etc.) While the surprised was certainly needed and appreciated, I found myself pondering how in the world would I implement my newest edtech techniques in the classroom, with no technology?
The solution? Ask around and beg for unused technology! Luckily, I spoke with our school’s technology specialist; he SECURED fully-functioning computers that I could station in my classroom for the entire year! YAY! I am excited to share the exciting things that are happening in my room, with the technology we DO have!
Two weeks ago, I began teaching my geography unit! We started off with the five themes of geography (location, place, region, movement, and human-environment interaction). One of the characteristics that all of the themes share is population. TO help my students understand rapid population growth and movement of people from region-to-region, we used Gap-Minder, “Gapminder is a non-profit venture – a modern “museum” on the Internet – promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.” The students then worked in small groups to modfy the variables affecting population growth (GDP, age, gender, quality of health, etc.) It was neat watching my students discover the impact of population growth beyond their neighborhoods in Baltimore City AND identify problems associated with population growth!
In other news, my projector is working again so I have launched ClassDojo, an online classroom management tool that allows students to earn points (or lose points) for behaviors exhibited in class. In return, teachers can use the program to reward students for their behaviors and track their progress in class! in my room, I use the program as a mangagement tool, but also as a means of reinforcing soft skills scholars should exhibit (presentation, collaboration, time management, resilience, among other skills). So far, the students have been very excited about ClassDojo and appear to be strongly motivated by the program.
Even though I would prefer for my classroom to be 1:1, that is not realistic goal at this point. In the meantime, I will be making reservations in the computer lab every few weeks until I can find more technology to use in my room.
Until next time…