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Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Web and Students: Give Students the Keys and they Will Drive Instruction (Part 1)


I recently heard a quote that resonated with me. The author had mentioned, "if  a 50 year-old seventh grade teacher takes a web design course and develops a class website about the Civil War and an actual seventh grader designs a website with the same content, which site would seventh graders actually use?"

Seventh graders would probably gravitate towards their peer because they would most likely fill it with elements that would capture their attention and engage them in a different way. Sometimes we forget the fact that a teenager knows how to design a website for teenagers. We often fail to let our kids use the web as a tool to demonstrate their creativity. Is this why our students often feel like they have to "power down" in class?

Recently, I created a video about this very topic. Check out some of these interesting statistics:


How can we foster creativity? Here are some suggestions:

1. Give Students the Keys and They Will Drive Instruction - why not give students a chance to create web content? There are a variety of free web design websites that will help students design a website in minutes. Wix, Google Sites, and Weebly are some of my favorites.

2. Collaborate. Collaborate. Collaborate. - The model of teaching has changed. We need to learn how to include our students in the learning process. Wikispaces, Zoho Tools, and Google Drive are great tools for students to use to collaborate with you and each other.

3. Ask and You Shall Receive - Unfortunately and fortunately, we are no longer the sole experts of content in our classrooms today. Why? The world is changing so quickly and there are so many tools available that we may or may not know about. It may not be a bad idea to ask your students for feedback. What ideas do they have? What resources are they using that you are not incorporating in your classroom? This humble act can change the dynamic of an entire classroom. If you are not comfortable doing this face to face, why not periodically give a Google Form or Survey Monkey survey?

Over the next few posts, I want to give you some ideas on how to use the web to create dynamic learning experiences for your students. Stay tuned!

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