Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TECHNOLOGY FRIDAYS! Made for Children by Children

My students wanted to develop a space of time we set aside each week to learn how to use ICLT's in our classroom.

I have stated previously that I work with a class of 26 students.  Over the course of the year I have developed a massive amount of respect for the 5-year-old learners in my classroom.  As expected, we encounter technology in our classroom every day.  We experience it in our daily routines, we experience it as we negotiate our classroom behaviours  (Read Me!) and we experience it in our learning.

Our school has put an enormous amount of money into Information Communication and Learning Technologies (ICLT’s) for our classrooms.  In my classroom alone I have:

2 Desktop Computers.
2 Laptops.
6 Mini Laptops.
1 Dual Pen Interactive Whiteboard.
2 iPod Touch devices.
2 Flip Video Cameras.
1 Digital SLR Camera.
2 iPad 2’s.
2 Webcams.
1 Wii.
Wireless Internet to all devices.

However, having this many ICLT’s in my classroom doesn’t ensure that my children will be technology literate by the time they leave my classroom. From experience, I think sometimes educators and educational planners can loose sight of the teaching and learning that needs to happen with these devices for them to become effective tools of learning.  About 15 weeks ago, I was working with my students to see how they thought we could improve learning in our classroom through technology.  It was at this time a quiet girl in my class said something that changed the way technology is used in my classroom.

“Don’t you think there is just too much?” A small voice chimed in. “Don’t you think there is too much technology in our classroom, it’s a bit confusing.” I looked at this child and immediately the rest of the students in my class started supporting her. It was like a mutiny against the use of technology in our classroom.  I was dumbfounded, until I asked” How do we stop making it confusing then?”

What happened next was amazing.  For a solid day I worked with my 26, 5 year old students to negotiate how we as a community can make technology less confusing in the classroom.  We negotiated how technology was used, when it was used, when we should be using it and when we shouldn’t be using it.  We negotiated what we wanted to be using technology for and what we wanted to see happen in the future with technology.

Then a boy said something that changed Fridays in our classroom.
“Can we have a day each week that we use to learn how to use computers and stuff?”  The class went silent and I found myself asking the same question in my head.  Why Not? I said.  We negotiated a day of the week that was easy to implement the learning of new ICLT’S and refine our understandings of old ones.

Behold the creation of


On Technology Fridays we spend the morning session of our day finalising any work left over from the week.  Then from11:30am on a Friday all we do until 3:00pm is learn how to use different pieces of technology, apps, websites, etc. We split into mini groups and are assigned mini projects that relate to the ICLT we are learning.

For example with the COMIC BOOK! App on the iPad we negotiated the rules of its use, learned its features, taught everyone in the group how to use it and then made a short comic book with it.  Before we rotate groups and ICLT’s we show the class what we made and explain to them the expectations the group had when using the app.  We spend approximately 30 - 40 minutes on each ICLT.  TECHNOLOGY FRIDAYS have assisted us in making ICLT’S invisible in our classroom.  The learning promoted on this day has become an integral part of our everyday learning. 

This post is a sign of respect to my students who have taken charge of their learning and developed a time for them to build on and share their understandings of ICLT in their lives.  We hope to share their resources with other students to promote effective ICLT use in classrooms across the world. 

Our first resource is below.  If you’ve ever wanted to used Little Bird Tales in your classroom this might help remind your learners of what each of the buttons mean.  It is made by children for children.  We hope you enjoy it. 

"Little Bird Tales Prompts"

2 Responses so far.

  1. Inventory says:

    yeh great technology on friday!Children for Children..........

  2. Wow, Fantastic Blog, it’s so helpful to me, and your blog is very good.

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