How fast can change happen when a committed educator employs the technology tools available at school. Each year, sixth grade students do a Vertebrate Animal Research Project that involves library research, hand drawn picture, and much word processing.
The report must include the following items:
- Cover Page – Colored Drawing of your animals in its natural habitat (tracing is allowed)
- Title Page – Report Title, student name and due date
- Table of Contents
- Three to four pages of text (double-spaced)
The students used Pages for the first time instead of Word which although brand new takes along time to load and has problems when used in a networked home directory setup. In addition, the tools and formatting of pictures in Pages is much easier which leads to more successful writing. That of course is the most important aspect of any technology integration. It must not hinder the learning and teaching that is happening.
By using the Public folder of the teacher where students dropped their papers into her Drop Box she was able to not print and still view and suggest improvements. She used track changes in Pages to monitor the editing and changes her students did on their papers.
By using the new Fujitsu ScanSnap that we purchased, she was able to scan in the students cover page and email it to them using FirstClass. Once the students had their cover page PDF, they inserted it into the research paper. This was done in one 45 minute period which is amazing and was not possible even last with our scanners.
So a pretty complex research project that uses a lot of technology now was done with out wasting paper for printing out the many rough drafts that would normally be printed. The money we saved on printing can be used for other educational supplies. I know some folks will miss the good old days of having the report in the hands of the students, but when you see the amount of things students already are carrying and trying to keep organized it is wonderful to see a project that uses the latest tools. In addition, the students have expressed to me how proud they are of their research papers as they like how they look. Pride in our work is a tangible that leads all of us to doing more work.