Recently my son was assigned a Science homework assignment. He was sent home a ‘fold-over’ booklet where he was instructed to record the high/low temperature, wind speed and precipitation every day for 5 consecutive days. Students were encouraged to go “beyond the assignment.”
When I received the parent email communicating the task, I immediately knew that if this was to be done in the ‘fold-over’ booklet it would be a long 5 days at our house. To avoid this misery I emailed the teacher and asked if the “weather log” could be done digitally. Permission was granted.
After talking to my son about different digital platforms to record his learning we decided to utilize TACKK. The ability for him to add video and photos that matched each day’s weather data was powerful. Additionally, he learned about citing sources, inserting pictures and video retrieved from both websites and email, and adding various features to TACKK. To add to this, from the research he learned that during this time of weather data collection in the year 2000 an extreme winter weather event occurred in the home town of his grandmother. Using this personal connection he conducted an interview to add a historical feature of interest to his TACKK. Changing from a non-technology platform to the TACKK allowed us to have great conversations about why using his first name only on his product was important, asking good questions to have a better understanding of weather events and the significance of those events, what was a source that needed to be cited and writing captions to inform his audience. The greatest reward was after completing the TACKK when the Elementary Science Coordinator for my district commented on his TACKK. He couldn’t wait to respond and the pride in his work reached an all time high.
Just the simple task that initially began as just a substitution for a paper pencil task to help my son engage in the experience, truly evolved to a product that redefined learning. Additionally, he added additional digital literacy skills that this authentic experience made meaningful.
Here is his product:
What started as a way to keep my son engaged in a task turned into a learning experience that required collaboration, research, connectivity and critical thinking a paper pencil task would have not have happened due to the fact he would simply not have been motivated or engaged in the process. This is a simple example of how, when nothing is limited, possibility with technology redefines the learning.
How have you witnessed when simple steps toward integrating technology have catapulted learning from substitution to redefinition? Please share your comments and thoughts.