Sunday, February 8, 2015

Technology Teach-In

Community High School has access to a few excellent technological resources, including two computer labs with Mac desktop computers. However, with the exception of a few trips to the lab to play a stock market exchange game, my mentor teacher and I have made relatively little use of the technological tools available to us. For my technology teach-in I plan on working with my students to develop a series of podcasts about the monetary and fiscal policies of the government here in the good ole' USA.

Later in the semester we will have an entire unit devoted to Government Roles in the Economy. Fiscal and monetary policy are difficult topics, yet extremely important and relevant to understanding how rules and regulations affect the economy and the people of a society. This lesson covers expansionary and contractionary policies, the tools the Fed uses to cause change, and effects on indices such as unemployment and inflation. To help my students engage with this material, I would like to take them to the media center to create podcasts. I hope that after thoroughly unpacking the content in class and giving them the chance to do some research on their own, my students will feel comfortable defending some sort of argument or opinion. After helping them to organize their thoughts and ideas (perhaps using a graphic organizer!) we could go down to the media center and students could begin recording.

Though most of my students have never used the technology to create a podcast, I believe that this could be beneficial in multiple ways. My learning goals are loosely structured around the following ideas. First, there are a lot of variables in fiscal and monetary policy and I think that a project or performance type assessment, such as a podcast, would help me to see whether or not they have synthesized the material into a coherent argument or opinion. Secondly, I think that this technology allows students to express their opinions creatively using an innovative new process. Furthermore, creating a podcast allows students to practice a new method of communication, using digital media to publish ideas and information. Finally, I hope that students will take this opportunity to positively interact with a new technological tool to assist them in learning.

I'm very excited about trying to utilize some new technology in my classroom, but I do have a question about this teach-in lesson for my colleagues. Do you think it would be better to have the students work in groups to create a podcast? I'm not sure if this would dilute the experience or create an opportunity for collaboration. I look forward to hearing everyone's feedback/comments!