This week in fourth grade enrichment/library a student was working on recording some of his research results on the iPad. He wanted to know if there was an app that he could use to draw on a picture he had taken. I replied yes and showed him two tools that might work. That was the extent of my direction, and off he went to figure out which tool he would use. In this same week I have been studying and working intensely on a professional development class in technology. These two things colliding is what led me to this post!
All of the technology articles and information we are reading for professional development speak to a changing role of the teacher. Teachers of technology are facilitators, coaches, and co-learners (I think this applies to more than technology, but this is what I am studying right now!) That moment with the fourth grader was a clear example of these roles. I wanted him to continue to problem solve what his presentation would look like independently--BUT he needed support to figure out what direction to go next. My skill was in knowing what some possible options were and sharing these in a way that made him feel comfortable trying them out. My skill was not being highly adept at these tools (I had used one once and just downloaded one at the advice of another teacher on Twitter)--- but instead, at knowing they existed, believing that we could figure out how to use them, and setting up an environment of learning and risk taking. To do this, I need to be a constant learner myself. I need to seek out the tools and methods that other people are using. I know that my students' imaginations are huge....so as an educator I have to keep learning to fuel this fire and passion for creativity!!!!
One of my favorite aspects of technology is that students believe that their imagination can be matched by possible creation tools. Student creativity is blooming as we explore the myriad of new and amazing ways to create! I am very excited about our capstone projects....but I am also enjoying the process of student investigation and problem solving as they create their work.