Two of our fifth grade teams of students are geeking out right now - it is the eve of their Google Hangout or Skype with Ms. Abigail Harrison, an aspiring Astronaut Student, and also Dr. Thomas Marshburn, a NASA Astronaut! As excited as they are to ask their questions and hear the answers of these individuals, I think it's safe to say that we as teachers are just as excited for this opportunity for them!
When it comes to tech, there seems to be a new app or instructional practice around every corner. Something new and "shiny" to interest us as well as our students. It's really interesting to hear the latest talk about the "next big thing" in their eyes, that they're doing - and it's ever so engaging and empowering when it's something where our learners can take the lead in for their learning to demonstrate their understanding around a concept or a skill.
Yet, what happens when you get stuck? What happens when you're fresh out of ideas, and the tank has run dry? Herein lies the power of collaboration, which is beyond just the communication, but the co-working and co-creating with educators together to design new lesson and ideas with our learners in mind. From EACH OTHER we can learn so much and figure out what's best, brighter, and brilliant for our students.
Through this thoughtful process, we take our thinking and our students' thinking to new levels, with the trudacot model, or Technology-Rich Unit Design and Classroom Observation Template - click for more info - which couples well with our SAMR Model for technology integration. With this thinking and guide, we can challenge ourselves to how we can take our lower level thinking lessons to higher levels - moving our students to richer, deeper levels of inquiry, demonstrated with their uses of technology.
But, as has been a central theme, it doesn't have to be big or the next Skype or Google or the coolest tech tool - it's about starting small with that collaborative nature of students and teacher in mind. It's those conferring notes and reflections from our students that allow us to see the process of their thinking, and our next steps as teachers to make the "educational magic happen." Go beyond the C of communication to Collaborate. Create together. Reach out.