This new book by Bill Ferriter and Adam Garry can join the ranks of Troy Hicks’ Digital Writing Workshop and Will Richardson’s Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for the Classroom as a reliable guide that I can hand off to teachers who want to know how to take that first step into bringing technology into the classroom.
Teaching the iGeneration: 5 Easy Ways to Introduce Essential Skills with Web 2.0 Tools is jam-packed with useful information about the rationale of technology and also, with easily adapted reproducible hand-outs that will do a lot to ease the concerns of some teachers around assessment, reflection and exploration. And, the hand-outs are linked online to the book’s website, making it even easier to use (and you don’t have to buy the book to use the resources, although it would probably be nice to support the writers if you can). The handouts are geared both towards students at work in the classroom and the teachers, themselves.
Here, for example are the resources for the chapters around multimedia:
- The Characteristics of Memorable Images
- Checklist for Creating Influential Visual Images
- Public Service Announcement: PowerPoint Slide Scoring Rubric
- Scoring Influential Visual Images
- Public Service Announcement Scripting Template
- Examining a Video
- Teacher Digital Video Checklist
- Public Service Announcement: Video Scoring Rubric
I really like how the authors (Disclosure: I know Bill through various online networks and he sent me this book as a complimentary gift, just to be open about the review) group the topics in the book around the themes of Information Fluency, Persuasion, Communication, Collaboration and Problem Solving. Those do seem like important themes for the classroom, and the writers argue successfully about students harnessing technology to meet those goals.
At one point, the authors list out what draws teens to digital projects:
- Self-directed exploration (the freedom to find something of interest and delve deep into that topic, with multimedia as one tool)
- Peers to demonstrate authority and expertise (by turning to teach other for learning as much as to the teacher)
- Students to wrestle with meaningful issues (as they use technology to enter the public sphere and engage in matters that impact local and global communities)
It is also admirable that Ferriter and Garry present many of the projects that use technology around the theme of global poverty and social justice. They note that the target audience for the book is middle and high school teachers, whose students passions around injustice can often be motivation for creating projects that can make a difference in the world. “… global poverty can provide a natural context for digital projects that have meaning and motivate kids,” they write, although noting that any of the projects outlined here can be adapted for other important topics.
The book begins by addressing ways in which students can learn to manage information in the era of information overload, and then moves on to writing to persuade world leaders on issues, using digital storytelling, collaborating on challenging topics and ends with an interview with a student, Michael, talking about what he learned from using technology in the classroom. I liked the way the student voice framed the ending of the book and brought us into the classroom through Michael’s voice.
I’ll end by noting something Ferriter and Garry wrote in the introduction:
Today’s learning environment — influenced by the technology already being used by students outside of school — ” ….requires nothing more than a teacher who is willing to show students how the tools they have already embraced can make learning efficient, empowering and intellectually satisfying. Are you ready to be that teacher?“
I hope so. Teaching the iGeneration is one of the many emerging resources that can help you on that path.
Peace (in the sharing),