“The technology keeps moving forward, which makes it easier for the artists to tell their stories and paint the pictures they want.” – George Lucas
Say the word “technology,” and I’m the most excited teacher in the room. Tell me we are adding new technology and I will be first to volunteer my classroom for test implementation. Sometimes, however, the newest gadget or application isn’t the technology needed. And getting creative with tech that has been around awhile can still offer the right results.
Even if it’s not the most recent, technology can serve many purposes. It can help accelerate learning. It can engage students. It can drive relevance. And, as the Lucas quote reminds me, it can be a tool to help students communicate creativity and personalize a writer’s expression.
Before young students have mastered writing, they draw their stories, use creative spelling, and write using basic sentence structures. We want them to develop a love for writing and expression through storytelling before developing more complex writing structures.
But what do you do when you have a young student who LOVES to write and has so much to say yet once his words or drawings are on the page they are too hard to read or understand?
I can’t tell you how many times my heart has sunk as a student picks up their writing, eager to read it to me, only to look up in a panic that they (and I) can’t read the written words.
As a Personalized Mastery Learning teacher, I want my students to have a voice. A voice in determining what they write about, a voice in showing their learning and a voice that leads them to understanding what it means to take ownership of their learning. But, when they cannot effectively communicate their work, their voice and sense of ownership is diminished.
By combining a simple QR (Quick Response) code with an iPod, I found a way to support student ownership. With technology, my students’ stories transcend what is written on a page. For students whose writing is undeveloped or for those who struggle with writing and rely primarily on drawing out their ideas, this technology gives them and their stories a voice.
As students complete their writing assignment, we have them record it on the iPod. After recording, we upload the audio to a website and assign each student a QR code that an adult can scan with a smartphone or iPod and listen to the student’s story.
The QR code, coupled with an iPod, is an amazing way for students to personalize their creative expression. Like a paintbrush adds color to a drawing, a QR code and iPod adds color to a story that on the surface may not seem coherent.
Technology can be a powerful and meaningful tool. Just as we point to a regular kitchen spoon to encourage students to “scoop out the words” and learn to read with intonation, so too does technology serve as a simple tool that helps students shine and own their learning.