Using technology with purpose.

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One of the joys of my job is that I get to spend time in other classrooms besides my own. Last week one of my visits was to Year 3. At my school Year 3 is the first year of laptops. In the infants department they had access to an iPad so for many a laptop is totally new. No more touch screen swiping, it’s time to use a mouse and keyboard. So these young students need to be taught some essential but basic skills, such as how to type and save documents in Word.

So how to achieve this in a meaningful way? Well, as part of their Inquiry unit these students are researching significant people from the earliest colonisation of Australia. Guided by their teachers they have developed a range of purposeful questions and chosen their significant person. To meet both their learning outcomes and technological needs, their assessment task will be to create a poster. A poster is the perfect multi-modal text for stage two learners. Creating a combination of images and text allows them to represent their ideas and combine their learning. By synthesising the facts they have found through reading and then transferring their ideas into a poster. They will be thinking deeply, producing new meaning and developing richer and stronger understandings.

So will this poster be on cardboard? Of course not, what a waste of paper that would be. Will this poster be created in Glogster? Certainly a fun site to use for students. One in which they can add videos, typefaces, colour and more. But to my mind a site which many students use to end up with over designed flashing gizmos, at the expense of relevant factual information.

No what these students will use is Microsoft Word. Boring perhaps, predictable certainly. But with specific targeted skill based lessons in how to create a headline and insert pictures and text. They will end up by creating a product that will have used technology with purpose, as well as met their learning needs and their inquiry outcomes. A win-win situation all round.

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