There has been a lot of debate on the merit of things like the Khan Academy (interesting comments in the linked post) and the idea delivering lecture style through a video format. I believe that if this is the only thing we are doing with technology, we need to look at other ways this time can be spent to serve our kids. Creating things like a “Voki” with your students is something that is neat, but it is not enough. What is the purpose and long term objective of creating a character using this tool? What are you doing with it? How is this improving the learning environment of the student? Is this only a “step” in a long term goal? These are questions that need to be asked.
We have to move from “neat” to “deep”. Neat can be the start and the initial engagement from students is definitely important (we all want to do things that we enjoy) but how will we move forward? As we see all of these tools come our way, it is sometimes imperative that we narrow them, so that we can deeper with what we have.
Something that I have recently seen that I thought was powerful was the Daily Shoot Twitter account (thanks Alec!) that gives a challenge of a photo to take daily. People from all over the world will upload their images based on the short criteria that is outlined within 140 characters. The question does not need to be extremely long to be effective. Here is the challenge for today:
A definite open ended assignment that is up for a lot of interpretation, yet will inspire some creativity. (Check out the difference between this picture and this one, still meeting the requirements of the question.)
As educators, instead of using technology to lecture in a different way and share information, maybe we take the cue from Daily Shoot and ask questions of our students, so that they can create their own content. Educators are asking more questions of their students and inspiring them to be creative. This sound pedagogical practice is something that we need to shift into our digital environment as we cannot only inspire and develop our own students, but kids all around the world.
If we are going to effectively use technology in our classrooms, we need to ask more questions, and give fewer answers. Our students need the opportunity to create this powerful and deep content. Neat is not enough.