Friday, September 23, 2011

Tech Workshop

Each week I pose a blog question on our classroom NING that every student has to answer.  This week I asked, "How is the year going so far?  What do you like?  What do you hope for?  As I plan the learning for the weeks ahead, I want to include your thoughts and ideas."  There were a variety of responses from my twenty-two fourth graders, and several mentioned that they liked "Tech Workshop."

Like most teachers today, I'm infusing more and more technology into our daily learning.  I'm learning about ways to do this that engage and empower learners while meeting System, State and Federal standards.

This is the model I'm using for Tech Workshop.
  • Focus Lesson and Student Share:  I facilitate a brief skill, concept and/or knowledge focus lesson as students sit at desks or gather on the rug. Students share tech exemplars and/or work they need help on utilizing a document camera, white board and computer.  
  • The Tech Menu is introduced.  The Tech Menu is a list that begins with "have-to" tasks ordered by priority, then choices.  
  • Students work at desks and in small groups at tables or other classroom learning nooks.
  • Teachers target instruction and respond to student needs one-to-one and in small groups.
  • At the end of tech workshop, classical music* is played as a signal to clean up, put away the computers, and prepare for the next event.
  • Later during a class meeting, we'll use our Google Learning Action Table to review the learning efforts and target follow-up activity for both in-school and at-home learning.
Children are engaged throughout tech workshop. There are lots of questions as well as terrific creativity, problem solving and learning. At this point, I'm observing carefully how individuals and the whole class respond to this learning effort.  As we move forward, the students, teachers and I will finesse the system so it best meets the learning interests and needs of the class.

Do you employ tech workshop?  If so, how does it differ from this model?  What do you find most effective and why does it work well?  I look forward to your feedback.

* Soon, I am going to make a web page of optimal, transition music.  If you have links to offer, please do.