Computational Thinking - Apps in the classroom

What happened to pen and paper

This weeks’ guest speaker was Tyler Letkeman, an English teacher from Vincent Highschool in Brandon Manitoba. I found his presentation quite impressive, especially how Tyler managed to use IT in his classroom and at the same time still incorporates some of the more traditional ways.

Tyler recognized very quickly that using online apps like blurb.ca or Quizlet.com are well received by his students and finds that they are more engaged. Writing is created for an audience, and apps like blurb.ca enables students to upload their stories, create a book and then have a selected audience read them.

I agree with Tyler when he pointed out that it is not enough to use an app in the classroom simply for the sake of using an app, but the success and the engagement of the students depend highly on the relevance of the task.

I can certainly see the power of Quizlet and I know that I will be using it often in my French Immersion literature and Social Science classes and all other teachings.

There are many reasons why someone may be against students using apps in the classroom. And the fear of students wasting class time on Snapchat instead of using a task-specific app is most certainly a valid point, but I think that teachers need to teach students about digital citizenship. A big part of it is students taking responsibility for their learning and teachers providing tasks that students find important and worthwhile knowing.  I also believe that teachers need to provide students with opportunities to make mistakes and use them as teachable moments, where the students can learn through discussion and insight. The world is full of great apps. Thanks for reading my blog.

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