Recently I visited a math classroom where Jeff was trying a new digital tool that Keisha had shown him. The tool is specific to math, but the demonstration of learning was something everyone could benefit from watching.
Jeff set up a lesson that began with guided practice and continued with challenge problems. The tool allowed students to move at their own pace, but also allowed him to insert hold points to keep students from going too far ahead. Students were graphing equations, testing what would happen if a variable changed, seeing what their equation looked like, comparing what the graph should look like against their equation and vice versa, and more! Jeff was able to monitor class progress as a whole in addition to looking at individual student work.
How did this tool deepen student understanding? The ability that students had to walk through the learning process and test various results provided students the opportunity to test their learning and see the "what if" answer. Students were engaged in a learning tool that empowered them to take their learning to the a different level that they owned.
Students could test their work and see immediate results. They were challenged in their thinking. Individual students who needed a modified assignment could proceed at their own pace without feeling like they were falling behind. Jeff had individual contact with everyone in his class and had the ability to check in on students who might not have otherwise asked for help. Students were not only engaged, but empowered to try additional possibilities that would have been very labor intensive on paper and wouldn't have had immediate feedback.
We have so many tools in our toolboxes these days: text, paper, kinesthetic, visual, audio, digital. What's important is choosing the right tool for the learning outcome. In this lesson, the digital tool was able to provide a deeper, more empowering learning experience for the students. It was fun to watch!
I am a Technology Integration and LMS Specialist by title, but lifelong learner in practice. An Apple Teacher, Google Certified Educator and Microsoft Innovative Educator, my goal is to assist educators in investigating and exploring resources to embed in their instruction. I also hope to be a part of their journey toward an innovative and transformative practice that empowers learners and strengthens their own craftsmanship. I spends my free time with my family, my dogs and a good cup of coffee.