Technology as a Tool for Learning

School is just around the bend and those frantic dreams have already begun for me (and for others, I notice, as I read some other Weblogs of teachers). So this is a perfect time to reflect a bit on last year and think about projects that were successful and projects that need a bit more thinking time. 🙂

For my sixth graders, learning how to use Powerpoint was an eye-opener. I know that PP is so overused in so many different ways, but it still a valuable tool for research dissemination for students. However, I wanted to use PP in another way in the writing classroom — as a template for creating picture books.

So, my sixth graders spent about six weeks (much longer than anticipated) writing stories for a younger audience with a theme of mathematics, and then using Powerpoint to create picture books. No clip art was allowed!

When they were finished, we invited younger grades to tour our classroom and watch the Powerpoint Picture Book Shows and ask questions about the stories, technology and production. I then arranged to have print copies made of the shows for both my students and for our school library. Finally, I uploaded all of the picture books to our Weblog site so that family members could also view the shows.

The results were wonderful — students very engaged in writing, integrating math into writing instruction, and the use of technology in a meaningful way.

You can view the Math Picture Books yourself, if you would like.

If you are a teacher, good luck at the start of the year!