The "Step Aside Teaching" Method.

#elemchat #edtech #edchat #elearning The other day I had dinner with a fellow educator and we naturally started to talk about technology integration in the classroom (of course), so I shared a story about my daughter and Wikipedia.

The last week my daughter came home and explained to me about a game she and her classmates play on their smartphones when they are bored in school. They call them “Wikipedia Races,” they like to use Wikipedia because it is banned by most teachers at her school so they feel a bit like rebels by using this “outlawed” website – evil Wikipedia.

The game goes like this; someone names two terms that are totally unrelated and then they race to see how they can use Wikipedia to get from one term the other the quickest, kind of like using six-degrees of separation but with terms instead of people.

Here is the one that she gave me: Turtles and Photosynthesis

What the? Turtles have nothing to do with photosynthesis!

Then she showed me how she won this round just that afternoon.

She looked up turtles in Wikipedia. Then under culture she found that a turtle is used on the Cayman Island’s coat of arms. So she went to Cayman Island, then to scuba diving, then to oxygen and finally to photosynthesis. Voila!

She said that they love playing this at school – weird, I know.

This reminded me of the scene from Jurassic Park when they realized that the female-only population of dinosaurs were somehow reproducing. “Nature will find a way – Nature always finds a way.”

Our students want to use technology to do their school work, and if we don’t let them, they will still find a way to use it. So rather than trying to make our entire population of teachers tech-savvy, maybe we just need to step aside and let the students just do it.

Case in point:

I wanted my 4th grade students to learn how to make video games.

I know nothing about making video games.

So I let them watch some video tutorials on Atomic Learning to get the basics on how to use the free application called Scratch and before I knew it, they were making video games. That’s “Step Aside Teaching.” If you don’t know how to do something with technology, just step aside and let the students teach themselves.

By the way, I now know how to use Scratch because my students have also taught me while they were learning themselves. So check your ego at the door and learn a little from your students.

Enhanced by Zemanta