The past two weeks have been some of the most inspiring for me as a teacher. I have had the privilege of hearing Will Richardson speak on two separate occasions and my eyes have been opened and my creative juices are flowing. Will spoke of having students create texts for a global audience and that concept really speaks to me. I think students live in a virtual world where they are constantly putting themselves out there in cyberspace (sometimes in a way that makes us cringe) and by allowing them the same avenue in their school work, I think the levels of engagement in the classroom have nowhere to go but up.
After hearing Will speak for the first time, I took that message back to my grade nine English class and ran with it. We decided to create a video for the ECOO Multimedia Conference Contest celebrating the concept of citizenship. Our school board has a major focus on character education and allowing them to create a video that would be seen by people all over Canada (and the world too since I put it on Twitter) really allowed my students to complete their best work of the semester. They worked together to create a concept that would resonate with everyone yet show their own interpretation and I couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishment! If you would like to see the video, it is available here.
Over the past weekend I attended the OTF technology conference held in Toronto where I was able to face to face network with some of my Ontario Educator PLN as well be even more inspired. It was so great to be in a room full of educators who have a passion for technology in education and I am still buzzing with excitement from the weekend. I have brought this excitement home with me and was able to inspire some of my students with a technology based idea. We are taking a popular song “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift and are changing the lyrics to reflect our thoughts on technology. The students are then going to videotape and edit a parody of her music video which we are then going to enter in a contest. The contest is open to classrooms all over the world and they are so excited about the possibility of it going viral. They really love the idea that something they are going to create will be put on the web and accessible by anyone. A couple of them have even asked if they can post it on their Facebook pages because they are already anticipating that they are going to do an awesome job.
After seeing the motivation, enthusiasm and laughter that has been taking place in my classroom over the last few weeks, I can’t feel anything but inspired. Many people in our profession seem to view technology as the enemy and I really wish they could understand that these are the realities of our students. They don’t learn like we did (personally, I didn’t like how we learned anyway) and if we could just speak their language, we are going to get so much more. I am hoping that with the media creations we are seeing come out of classrooms, that the students themselves will be able to persuade the naysayers to see the light…
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