This ninth featured post in A Series of Classroom Connections comes to us from the English classroom of Geoffrey Young at Grosse Pointe North High School.
So, I am that guy. I love technology. I usually read up on any new gadget. I know that “technologies of the classroom” engage kids as much as they engage me. I want them everywhere, and in all forms. I am also that English teacher. I believe that my job is to help my students become better readers, writers, and communicators.
I know all of this to be true; that’s why I want students to engage in word play, in conversations, in dialogue with complicated texts, and in reflective writing sessions. But why then would I want an Apple TV in my English classroom?
I have a love-hate relationship with technologies in the classroom because, for the English teacher, I don’t find a lot that actually helps me be a good English teacher. It might make my classroom interesting to have the latest technologies, but it doesn’t mean it makes my classroom any more learning-rich for communication and language.
That’s why, when I consider the range of “first step” technologies I can have in my classroom, I value Apple TV. It allows me to do several things that are already part of quality English instruction and that provide a venue that makes those practices readily accessible. And then, it offers students ownership in the processes of the classroom–which is important in fostering engagement and willingness.
It’s Technology’s Meijer
It’s a one-stop. I have access to all the podcasts, videos and pictures in my professional and personal library. I use these to spark discussion, to provide and inspire argument, and to help students cull data and experience. I don’t have to move from one repository to the next. That means class runs more smoothly, and learning-segues are easy and uninterrupted.
Mirroring Apps From an iOS Device
This allows me to be visually spontaneous, in ways I wouldn’t be able to with a traditional SMART Board. We brainstorm ideas in Lino. I swipe. I’m visually organizing ideas into categories on Bamboo Paper. I swipe…I can move quickly from one step of the thinking and writing process to another, while keeping student engagement and comprehension levels high.
Easily Showcase Student Work Before the Entire Class
Before, I’d ask students to take a picture of, say, their argumentation brainstorming. Then, email it to me. Then I’d bring up each picture from my email to show on the board. Now, connect to Apple TV. There it is! Simple. We’re ready for discussion and we’re moving!
I look forward to whatever is next, because, I’m that guy. But as that English teacher, I also look forward to seeing how we get students to use “what’s next” in ways that keep them learning about communication and language…
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