It is easy to view technology as just one more thing we are supposed to teach and assess. But when students create with technology, they learn core content better and build essential 21st century skills.
In this age of overwhelming information, simply providing facts and content (covering the curriculum) isn't enough. It rarely engages today's learners and fails to provide them with the skills they need to analyze, apply, create, and evaluate information.
Technology tools must be in the hands of students
All technology isn’t equal. While we can stand in front of an interactive whiteboard and do some great teaching, but unless students have powerful tools in their own hands to construct and share knowledge, we are missing an opportunity for powerful learning.
Tech4Learning develops creativity and productivity software like Pixie and Share because we feel it is essential to provide students with a 21st century canvas to explore knowledge and share their ideas.
Multimedia authoring promotes both content learning and 21st century skills
In his article in Computers at Cognitive Tools, Richard Lehrer shows how student-created multimedia lead to knowledge that is "richer, better connected, and more applicable to subsequent learning and events."
When her students were having trouble locating information in nonfiction texts, Sheila Buscemi, of Frederick, Maryland did review the features of nonfiction texts. But then, to truly cement student understanding and skill, she asked students to apply these features in their own work of nonfiction.
Students should be media and content producers, not just consumers
Asking students to create media-rich content makes learning relevant to the media-rich world they live in. Rather than “power down and unplug” when they come to class, we should be asking them to “plug in and power up!”
After reading Judi Barrett's "Things That Are Most in the World", Miss Alia's 2nd grade class at Woodward Academy in Georgia created their own book. As a class they brainstormed superlatives. Each student chose their favorite, wrote a sentence that provided a context clue to the meaning of the superlative, and illustrated their page in Pixie. All of the student pages were then combined to create an original class book.
While each student worked on the same set of skills and learning goals, each student’s very different , yet correct, “answer” provides a clear window into academic ability, personality, and student interest.
Students must CREATE with technology tools
Giving kids technology that lets them answer and respond may make teaching and assessing easier, but it doesn't directly, or significantly, impact student learning. If we are to engage students and prepare them for life in the 21st century, it is essential to put technology tools into their hands and ask them to create!
If you aren't already using Pixie, this is the perfect tool to give students to help them get started creating. Find out how Pixie can help you create a 21st century classroom or download Pixie for 30-days and see what your students create!
How are you using a multimedia approach in your 21st century classroom?