Millions of people visit the Great Lakes each year, and for the second year in a row, I was one of them. This past summer I spent a fabulous week in a cabin on Lake Michigan. The whole family was there for seven days. It was a restful week, filled with plenty of down time to reflect.
We certainly had our fun though as well. My son and his three cousins loved swimming in the lake. The waves were “ginormous” said my kiddo. And they were.
So as the adults on the trip dipped our toe into the water, carefully thinking about whether we should go in or not (the water was a bit cold), the four kids, all under the age of 9, dove right in.
These kids couldn’t get enough of the waves. As the waves grew larger, the more they wanted to ride them. Laughing, playing, bonding, it was great to see our kids having so much fun.
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And it dawned on me. The way our kids approached the waves seemed quite symbolic. Isn’t this how kids approach technology? Haven’t they just dived right in to what’s out there? And when one technology comes along that seems bigger and better, aren’t they trying to use it and see how far they can go?
Let me take a step back for a moment.
I am a multimedia high school teacher in St. Louis, Missouri. For the past year and a half outside of my classroom, I have devoted a good portion of my life living and learning on social media, building a strong Professional Learning Network to examine how technology is changing the ways we all learn. I have travelled all over the country presenting to educators ideas to incorporate digital media in their classroom. I am extremely passionate about media literacy.
But yet as educators, I have found there is still a major apprehension about using the technology that is available to us.
So as the kids played in the lake, here were the adults. Dipping our toe into the cold water. Unsure if we can handle, or even want to handle, the large waves in front of us. It’s much easier to sit on the beach and watch others play in the waves.
But maybe we would have more fun if we were out there in the water with our kids? Maybe we should just give it a try and take a risk?
My decision at the lake was easy. I dove into the water and swam through those big waves right along side of our kids. We had such a great time “riding the waves.”
I plan on riding the technology waves all year long by continuing to find new, innovative and exciting approaches to learning for my students.
So do I have you thinking now? Maybe? But you don’t know where to start you say?
To get you started, here is a small gift. Teachers love resources, so here is a snippet from my personal library of what I have found to be fantastic, useful and free resources in my classroom, and in classrooms all over the world.
Video in the Classroom
● My LiveBinder of resources.
● My teacher web page for MakingVideosfortheWeb.
● More than 10,000 EducationalVideosto support your lessons.
● SchoolTube - free to upload and view you and your students’ videos. Also offers contests for students and covers all subject matter for teachers.
● VimeoVideoSchool - learn how to make better videos through tutorials, lessons and advice.
● YouTubeEDU - a global video classroom.
● TED-Ed – lessons worth sharing.
● GCFLearnFree - Twitter 101, Facebook 101, Pinterest 101 and much more. Includes video tutorials, how-to’s and thoughtful questions
● SocialMediaintheClassroom includes 100 inspiring ways to incorporate in your classes, and permission forms you can customize!
● JEADigitalMedia – Journalism Education Association branch helps print, broadcast and multimedia journalism students with online guides, blogs and lessons.
● LiveBinder of resources.
● MediaLiteracy presentations, ideas and examples.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
● The ultimate STEM LiveBinder.
● Interactive lessons from Google
● Download the Digital Citizenship Starter Kit from Edmodo.
● Common Sense Media Announces Digital Passport™!
Project Based Learning (PBL) or Challenge-Based Learning
● iTunesU free downloads.
● Best PBLvideo I have ever seen illustrates the merits of this form of learning.
Education Podcasts & Tools
● TeachHUB K-12 News, Lessons & Shared Resources By Teachers, For Teachers.
● TeacherCast – a professional development handbook for teachers. App reviews, career center, LiveBinders and more.
● USAToday Teachers’ Lounge - A place where teachers can collaborate, motivate and participate in relevant discussions surrounding education in America.
● EdReach - educational podcasts, blogs and success stories to share from educators all over the worldedshelf – a directory of digital tools for educators.
Where do you stand? On the beach? Or in the water?
Don is in his 8th year teaching full-time at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, MO. Don serves as the Broadcast Technology, Film & Multimedia Instructor, as well as the Ladue School District Video Producer. Don was recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2011. He was also named as the 2011 Charles Klotzer Media Literacy Educator of the Year by the Gateway Media Literacy Partners. Follow Don on Twitter @dgoble2001.