This week I read an article from Education Week about how Millennials know how to use technology, but they don’t know how to solve problems with it. This is an interesting dilemma that is becoming more and more common as access to technology grows.
With that said, there’s an important point to be made: Bringing technology into the classroom isn’t enough. Young people need to understand how to use technology when solving problems, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Here are four strategies for incorporating technology into learning:
- Use photo/video capabilities (iPhone, iPad, Flip Cam, video recorder) to document the before and after of a project. Within Earth Force, students will often take photos/video of their local community or waterway, capturing evidence that they can refer to later when they’re investigating strategies. It can be used in a variety of other ways like capturing reflections before and after an assignment, performing interviews around historical events, and perfecting public speaking.
- Use mapping software like ArcGIS or Google Earth to gather data about your local community, city, state, country, or even the world. Students often use these tools to identify community issues through Earth Force. On a larger scale, they could be incorporated in other subjects like math and social studies to learn about geography, grasp distance and space, and understand climate and weather patterns.
- Collaboration tools like Google Hangout, Skype, and FaceTime make it easy for students to connect with peers from all over the world to share experiences and learn from other communities/cultures. At Earth Force, we’ve used Google Hangout to debrief water quality testing experiences with classrooms, answering questions students have about the data they collect.
- Encourage students to share success with programs like Floodlight, PowerPoint, or iMovie. This gives students an opportunity to reflect, whether it’s on their Earth Force action project, a history project in social studies, or working through that tough math problem.
Author: Kristen Mueller
Kristen Mueller leads national communications, creating engagement and excitement around Earth Force, and its partners’, hands on, minds on programming. Specializing in traditional media and social media relations, she brings youth voice and leadership to the forefront of the environmental education field.