We Can and Must Do Better with Our EdTech Use
Andy Losik blogged on a report on how Chromebooks are being utilized. Basically, low-level tasks and no creativity. It is essential that our students are able to communicate digitally and visually.
The chart from the report in Andy’s post shows that the majority of use is with Google text documents. “…it is highly likely that a huge chunk of that 62.1% is typing term papers like it’s 1985…albeit using a really tricked-out Smith Corona.” It is possible that students are doing highly creative and visual things using Google Docs but I also suspect a lot of substitution of paper. Much of what I see on Google Docs would actually be better on a Google Form. Consider instead of using a Google Doc to use Google Slides. Each slide is like a blank piece of paper, what can you not do on a slide? But each slide is also a unique link so students can direct you to specific spots where they are having trouble. Slides are also multi-media. Students can add pictures and video. It’s also much easier to add visual feedback for students when you use Google Slides. The best part of Google Slides, getting away from the model of all students doing their learning individually by themselves at the desk to the possibility of collaborating and learning from each other. Instead of individual Google Slides consider using ONE Google Slides with all students on the same one. This is less digital paperwork for us to manage and a shift towards more collaborative learning.
An American Chromebook Crisis: new report shows sad trends of how students are using the devices
Digital Skills are Essential
Our students ABSOLUTELY need to be digitally literate. So students should be used devices. But they also need to be digitally literate beyond playing a computer game and typing on a document. Today’s world uses video. How many creating video assignments do we ask students to do? WeVideo is a video editing tool that works on the Chromebook. Here is a TED Blog on 10 tips for editing video. While we were likely not taught how to do video editing when we went to school, tips are a Google search away. How can students more clearly communicate their ideas through an edited video?
Can We Write on the Screen?
I cringe at this question. What I hear is, “how can we use this like paper?” We need to think beyond substituting paper tasks and ask how we are developing creative critical thinkers? We will not use the Chromebooks more creatively if we are not intentional with the goal of being creative, collaborative and critical thinking.
Need an alternative to a Google Doc, try having students create a podcast with SoundTrap. It is a collaborative tool that allows for podcasting and music creation in some ways similar to GarageBand. Do not feel that you need to be an expert. My recommendation when introducing new tech to students is to NOT show them what to do but rather offer the challenge “What can you teach me about SoundTrap” and see what they can figure out. I guarantee you that some student will figure out something cool you didn’t know. Here is a blog post on collaboratively creating a podcast.
Try Canva Instead of a Brochure
A 21st-century skill that every single business needs is social media marketing. Small businesses do not have the resources to hire a fancy company so they just pick someone in-house to be in charge of the social media. This means for any job our students will get they can brag at a job interview that they can handle the social media and have a leg up.
Canva has visual templates for different social media platforms. “Create a social media campaign” will be a much more useful skill for students than “make a brochure.” Here are 40 tips for your students to consider.