I am in a class with a mix of year 5 and 6 students. Many of the students are working in pairs, using one of the school’s MacBook Airs that live on the charging trolley. As I look around, I see many students looking for a way to arrange their screen so that they can have their song lyrics visible and still see the important parts of GarageBand.
We have been learning about earthquakes – what causes them, where they occur, and what damage they do. Students have looked everywhere to find out about the science of earthquakes, and some of the more personal accounts of earthquakes victims around the world. Each pair of students has worked on a way to incorporate their knowledge into a song or rap that they can share with others.
At the moment, many students are getting to the part where they need to record the vocals for their song. The beats and melodies have already been tracked in GarageBand, so we just need to find a quiet (ish) space and do our best Justin Beiber/Will.I.Am/Psy/Rihanna impressions.
When the song is recorded, we can export it as an mp3 and possibly even email it to Mum or Dad at home. More importantly, we can begin the task of shooting our music video. Most students have collected plenty of images that complement the lyrics of their song. Add in some live video recorded on the MacBook’s front camera and our students are instant stars.
I am in the staff room. There is a teacher venting his frustration at not being able to use his data projector. We finish making our teacher-grade caffeinated beverages and go to his classroom to investigate. Troubleshooting isn’t really part of my job description, but I am willing to take a couple of minutes to see if I can ease this teacher’s pain. It turns out there is a box in Windows’ display settings that just needed a tick, and we are back in business.
We get talking about the activity that the teacher has planned for the session immediately following recess. It occurs to me that this teacher could make great use of the school’s laptop computers. Actually, any device with an internet connection would suffice, it just so happens that there is a laptop trolley with 20 PCs on it.
After a quick signup for a teacher account on a website, the teacher organises the laptop trolley. I go to work with a different teacher for that session, but all reports indicate that the activity with the laptops was a hit. The teacher tells me there were no problems, and the students loved the webtools they learned to use.
For all the time in this role, i am yet to find two classrooms the same. Sure, I learn a lot from each class I visit, and I carry that experience to another class, but each combination of students and teacher requires a slightly different approach. Apart from the fact that it is a real buzz to see students creating amazing things while learning, you can’t beat it when a teacher walks out of their classroom grinning at the success of the lesson they just delivered.
If this sounds like something you would enjoy, you should have a look at our ad on Seek, and perhaps have a look at this. Winthrop Australia are looking to hire teachers with a passion for learning and technology who would like to join our team of Professional Development Coordinators. Get in touch soon!