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By: Kristi M. Kamps, Educational Technology + Art, K-Grade 5
The idea of “techKNOWLEDGEy” immediately resonated with me immediately the first time I saw it. The discourse surrounding the use of technology has evolved from analyses and critiques of devices, programs, and skills-based instruction to discussions about the best ways to use technology to synthesize learning to demonstrate essential understandings. This is exciting. This is about technology as another tool to inspire and to challenge our students. Technology can be a champion of creation, collaboration, communication, and concept-based learning—another resource we can leverage to motivate and teach our young artists, writers, scientists, and mathematicians. And the best place for technology is as a fully integrated, everyday tool in the classroom.
As a new “Computer” teacher at AISC, I brought my expertise as a Grade 3-4 classroom teacher from a progressive independent school that celebrated inquiry, discovery, and experiential, integrated curricula. I knew I wanted to translate these values into my work with students across multiple grade levels, but initially, I was challenged to figure out how to do this as a specials teacher. Keyboarding is an important skill, but not the most important tech tool 21st-century students need. Then it all came together. “Digital Literacy” is Literacy. “Digital Citizenship” is Social Curriculum. “Digital Art” is Art. The possibilities and opportunities were endless.
I collaborated with my elementary colleagues to create “tech” projects for their students that integrated with the content they are teaching in classrooms, and the results have been extraordinary. When technology is truly incorporated into projects—and not positioned as the project, e.g., “How to make a PowerPoint”, students thrive and engage. From research and inquiry into weather, Australian animals and Chinese dragons, to the brutal realities of slavery in America, my students have used technology to investigate and then to create. We recently celebrated this learning in a series of short films highlighting work from each grade level—work that could just as successfully been done in the classroom as in the computer lab. I am proud to share that at AISC, this is exactly what we are doing for next year. Every elementary student and every teacher will be able to use technology every day as a creation tool . . . in the classroom!
The projects my students have created are the best examples of how technology can be incorporated into the classroom and concept-based learning. Check out my blog for details and to watch the movies we have produced together: https://mskristiscomputerstudio.blogspot.com