The Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) has launched a Teacher Video Challenge that gives educators a unique opportunity-- Educational publishers want to hear what challenges teachers experience with regards to digital content in the classroom. Not only do educators get to make their voices heard by publishers; the organization is awarding the 20 top videos a Flip video camera and they'll also show the top videos at their annual convention of publishers. Nothing gets the gears of my brain turning like a good video competition; so true to form, I submitted a video, which I've posted here.
If you are reading this on a Kindle, and don't have the luxury of watching on your device, I've typed the transcript of the "interview" portion of my video below. The video clip opens with me, standing in front of a white board, looking confident-- until a "snarky" voiceover (also me) asks the teacher (me) if he's ready for school to start. I smile, and nod, until he says-- not so fast. He then "informs" me that this year, it's going to be different. I have to seamlessly integrate a ton of new technology with a mountain of district-adopted curriculum. You'll have to view the clip to get the full effect.
The three questions publishers want to know are:
What are you most in need of in order to teach effectively in the digital age?
My response: In order to teach effectively in a digital age, I need digital content that will help me pull together my state standards, my district-adopted curriculum and textbooks, along with the best tech tools that I have in my digital tool box. And I need those three pieces to work together in a seamless way, so it feels effortless when I'm teaching.
What one request would you make of those who create instructional materials to make them digital-classroom friendly?
My response: To me, a "digital-friendly lesson" is really nothing more than an organized approach that uses all the best of technology. For example, it's going to follow a four pronged approach:
1) You're going to have your standards stated right at the beginning- so that the student knows what's coming.2) The lesson is going to open with an engaging opener. It could be just a question that you poll the audience with with responders, or it could be a video clip that gets the kids thinking.3) The body of your lesson is going to provide an opportunity for the teacher to provide direct instruction while at the same time allowing students to get up to the board, to click a button, to move some text around, but it's really back-and-forth and engaging.4) Then, the final piece would be a "check for understanding" with maybe four or five questions that a teacher can either choose to use anonymously with the responders, or, do a formative assessment where they actually record the students' results- and it goes in the gradebook.
How would better digital technology and content in the classroom help you and your students?
My response: If there was better digital content in the classroom, I think students would be way more engaged. And if you have engaged students, then their achievement is just going to go up, too. So, better digital content means higher student achievement, and that's what every school district wants.