The eInstruction Classroom Makeover Contest winners have been announced, and they are:
- K-5: “The Room Nine Kids: I Wanna Class Makeover” by Lincoln Elementary – Escalon, CA
- 6-8: “When we have technology” by WALKS – Mayaguez, PR
- 9-12: “eInstruction is Forever” by Alief Taylor High School – Houston, TX
Each will receive classroom makeovers valued at more than $US60,000 dollars each. This press release has more information about the winners.
I had the pleasure of being one of this year’s judges, which I thoroughly enjoyed – but also found extremely challenging, as each class/school chosen as finalists had contributed something that was unique and reflected their particular ‘personality’ and perspective. Having worked with classes to enter video competitions back in the 1980s (yes, using tape and editing gear – no computers) I marvel at just how sophisticated young people have become in their ability to create these sorts of movies.
As judges we were provided with criteria against which to score each entry, and I’d have to say that I spent a lot of time considering the ways in which the entries portrayed the use of technology for what I’d describe as genuinely transformational purposes, demonstrating what I’d see as a learner-centred pedagogy, rather than simply as a teacher presentation tool, or simply using technology for the sake of it. It would be inappropriate of me here to share how I voted (all had merit to win in my view) – but if you care to spend time viewing the range of finalists on the e-Instruction site, I’m sure you’ll be able to see what I’m driving at here.
I guess it’s something on my mind at the moment. I’m currently presenting a ‘hotseat’ in a Master’s course offered by Middlesex University in the UK.The group of teachers enrolled on the course appear very enthusiastic and motivated – and have participated fully in the forum I set for the first week’s challenge in which I asked them to share an example of a successful learning experience with students involving the use of ICT. I also asked them to share why they felt it was successful. Interestingly, over half of the teachers shared an experience where they used technologies (i.e. interactive whiteboards, powerpoint, prezi etc) in the classroom as presentation tools, and judged the success by the apparent increased interest shown by the students. As you can imagine, it has generated lots of discussion as we’ve unpacked more of what it means to be learner-centred in our classrooms, and adopting constructivist pedagogical approaches.
I guess it all attests to the notion that technology in and of itself does not change poor pedagogical practice, but technology in the hands of a pedagogically adept teacher has the power to transform teaching and learning in ways we haven’t imagined!