Networking 3rdGrade Style


So with what has been a whirlwind of a year in my ever courageous plunge into fully integrating technology in my classroom, I still find myself imdulging an ah ha moment that even surprises me! If you are like me, and use technology in a multitude of ways daily, you certainly know that every day is an adventure. Doing it with 3rd graders is even more so an adventure… From…” I forgot my password.”, to “How do I upload this again?”… there is never a dull moment. My recent ah ha moment came a couple of weeks ago when I introduced my students to Glogster, and had them sign up for a single student account with my teacher code. Now, I typically do a mini lesson prior to the lab on the main features… how-to kind of things, but this time decided against it. I showed them where to go, added the link to edmodo, and told them to have at it.  The assignment- Poster Yourself… Who are you? Upon arriving in the lab, I told them that once they were on, they could spend the first 15 minutes just “playing” with the features. Quickly hands shot up with questions galore, but I told them to explore… see what they could do… 

What happened next was the kicker… While being up and roaming in the lab has traditionally been a  NO NO– I saw kids start to get up, walk over to a friend, who was trying to figure out a certain feature, and show them how it worked. Then, two or three were up… helping, showing, suggesting. Soon they returned to their seat, and resumed working on their own poster. This went on for the remainder of our lab time… and I didn’t say one single word!!! What was happening before my own eyes, was educational networking among 8 year olds!  Thus… my ah ha moment….. (as follows)…

In the last couple of years I have felt this stagnant, unexplainable, nagging itch to change roles in education. I haven’t truly known why… that is until this day in the lab. I realized that I don’t believe in the 22 individual desks scattered in groupings around the room. I do not believe in stacks and stacks of papers, or irrational standardized tests being thrown at young children these days. Where I want to be is in that room with TABLES… round ones… with tech hubs in the center. I want to tell my kids that on this day we will be studying 3D objects… and then I want them to network, brainstorm, and use technology to build a base of understanding about 3D objects. I can facilitate learning, using the information they bring to the lesson, give them a project to work on, and then watch, share, and learn right along with them. Imagine that… Project Based Learning… all the while having some authentic assessment in place. A girl can dream, can’t she?

I realize this is a slow moving train we are on here with educational technology implementation in schools, but I am holding out hope… Hope that someone reads this and has a similar ah ha moment… ( And that someone has lots, and lots of say in American Education:)  In the mean time, I suppose I will keep on trucking and making the most of my 22 individual desks…. ** sigh**

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