Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A whole new world

When I was in elementary school, I struggled with spelling. I love watching my son succeed with his spelling homework and spelling tests. We have had issues off and on this year with him leaving his homework in his desk at school. On days such as that, we do alternative activities at home and then the next morning he goes into the classroom before school starts to work on his homework. More often than not, he gets it done. This happened yesterday. This morning, I started my day by sending a Class Dojo message to the teachers letting them know they should see him in the room first thing. A little while later, while still on my commute, I received a reply. He was in the classroom working on his homework. There are not cards being pulled in this classroom, but Dojo points. I have excitedly watched as my son has had really awesome days, especially this week. Of course, I also use Class Dojo as a teacher and I am in the process of helping a colleague start it with her class.

I started my day as a parent corresponding with the teacher through Class Dojo. Then, I arrived at work and took my fifth graders into the classroom where they polished their podcast scripts and plans. Then, recording began. We recorded the first two episodes of Fifth Grade Life today. We are eager to finalize things and begin sharing them. I was impressed with their commitment to the projects, as well as their enthusiasm.

Later in the day, the sixth grade class presented their TED-style "talks." One of which was absolutely outstanding. They followed the assignment to a "T" and their presentation went incredibly well. Bravo!

I had my "usual suspects" in the technology lab after school and kept it open a little while longer than usual. It was a great day. After the last couple of students left, I worked some more on editing a recording that will become the first episode of the Primetime Podcast Adventurers (named by my son) podcast. This is a family effort to put into action some of the things I am teaching and it allows me to work a little more with audio editing which is still somewhat new to me. If I am going to teach it, I want to know it and do it. My children are more than happy to assist in such projects. Thus, our family Edu-awesome adventure podcast was born.

I packed up my things and headed for the door. The phone rang. It was my son. He asked if his teachers had sent a copy of the spelling list this week (sometimes they send it through Class Dojo). They had not, but I still told him I would look. Just in case. Of course, the list was not there, but I found a link to their class website. I clicked on it. It did not load. Oh, bummer. Still, perhaps it was an issue on my end. So, I sent an email to my son with the link. I called him, he grabbed his tablet, and tried the link. It didn't load. We came up with a new idea. I sent a Dojo message to the teachers and asked where I might find the list. A quick reply, despite it being 5 p.m., and I had a new link to try. It worked! I kicked off another email to my son. Another call to him, another check of his tablet, and another success. The link worked! By the time I arrived home, he had completed his spelling homework, cheerfully. Normally, he has to finish his homework and practice piano before using his tablet, but emails from mom for the sake of homework completion warranted early access. We have started talking about working on a claymation style video in the future as inspired by one of my students' Lego stop-motion video for a project. We entered the planning stages tonight with a target to begin filming by Spring Break. First, though, we have science fair projects to work on: rotting fruit with my five-year-old and melting bomb pops with my eight-year-old. Tablet use...optional.

We have entered a whole new world, folks!

Today, all of today, is proof of some of the wonderful things that EdTech makes possible...as a teacher and as a parent.

How has EdTech made a difference in your day today?

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