“…the aim here is not to provide a cast-iron categorization of educational media, but to provide a framework for teachers in deciding which tools and media are most likely to suit a particular teaching approach.” – Tony Bates
At times during the readings this week I found myself feeling like I didn’t completely agree with what Bates was suggesting. As I read further I appreciated that he highlighted that this reading was intended to provide a framework for pedagogy. Although, I still had some questions.
I often feel that in education we can get caught up in the specifics. In reality though, teaching and learning is not black and white. One educator may view one resource or tool one way and another may view it completely different. Without understanding each persons rationale behind their choices, I don’t believe we can make a judgement on whether they are using that tool in the ‘right way’. I think this is where my questions around the points Bates made came from.
Is there really a right way?
I definitely think that we can get too caught up in the hype of teaching in a digital age and this at time can lead to some perhaps misguided decisions around how technology is integrated into our classrooms. If our students are not hands on and learning is not the main focus of the integration then I think we have a problem. When we have a problem whether it be at work or in our personal lives we strive to find solutions. In terms of education and technology integration I think one of the best things we can to avoid such problems is to set a purpose and be intentional before we integrate technology into our classrooms.
While doing some further reading and trying to understand why I was maybe disagreeing with some of the points Bates made in our reading this week I came across the article 7 Characteristics Of Teachers Who Effectively Use Technology. I felt the infographic in this article would provide any educator an opportunity to set their purpose and be intentional when integrating technology into their practice. However, as I tweeted the article out I did feel that there was one critical piece missing so I added a #8 to the list!
— Nicole Reeve (@nicolereeve) February 4, 2017
Although I found myself having questions about the readings, I also felt that it was perfect for this week. We have been asked to look at a list of creation tools and discuss the specific strengths and weaknesses of one of our own choosing. This is perfect timing not only for our project as we begin to create our modules but also for an app I have on my classroom iPads that I have been wanting to check out more in-depth.
A colleague had told be about the Book Creator app but prior to this week I had only made it as far as downloading the app! I had intentions of creating a screencast to highlight the app but as I began researching it I realized there were multiple videos already doing the same thing. After watching several how to and getting started videos I’ve created a list of the highlights:
- Students can create their own stories in many different formats
- Stories can be created using a combination of pictures, words and voice overs
- Sound and video can be embedded
- Students can take their own pictures to use in their stories
- Published books can be added to the iBooks app and students can read classmates books once they have been published
- It appears to be very user-friendly
- The website for the app provides a section for teacher training
- They have a #BookCreator chat where you can join in for ideas, tips and tricks
- Provides students with a voice
- Books can be downloaded as a PDF and then shared onto Seesaw for parents to see
- Students can export a comic book from the app to create an animated video in Explain Everything (how to video)
- Students can collaborate on a story
I have yet to find one downside to this app! I presently have my grade 2 class working on a fiction story and will be having them use this tool to share their stories. I am really looking forward to seeing what they create and learning along side them as we discover this app. I plan to share a blog post about the experience in a couple of weeks once they have finished up their stories. If you’re curious about the app, check out this video as a beginner’s guide to getting started!