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It’s Not All About the Technology

    Another article written for The Apple.  If you aren’t part of this teaching community, you should be!  Sign up today and be sure to add me as a friend ktenkely.Kelly Tenkely | TheApple.comThis may seem like a strange title coming from a technology evangelist and integration specialist. But it is true, it isn’t all about technology in classrooms. Don’t get me wrong, technology can and will do amazing things to increase student learning, differentiate instruction, and meet students where they are. Understand, technology alone can’t do this, it isn’t the golden ticket that when plugged in solves all educational problems. I see many schools who purchase the latest-and-greatest technology, software, and infrastructure only to have the technology collecting dust a few years later when it didn’t solve the education problems of the school. This isn’t the technologies fault, it doesn’t mean that the technology has failed to deliver. What schools often miss is that it isn’t really about the technology at all. There is a foundational level that needs to be addressed in schools first.Many classrooms still look the way they did in the 19th century. The teacher is at the front of the classroom giving students facts to memorize, rules about grammar, math, and science. The role of the student is to take it all in, memorize, and regurgitate the information back in the form of an essay, worksheet, or test. The teacher marks up the student work, puts a grade at the top, and returns it to the student. The process repeats itself as the teacher works to squeeze in all of the curriculum before the end of the year. Technology can’t improve this learning environment. In fact, technology will feel forced and unnatural in this classroom model. Technology invites students to problem solve, create, think critically, and collaborate. The focus is not on memorization and testing but on discovery and creativity. In this classroom model, technology may be used to replace the chalk board with a PowerPoint presentation. This may be more visually appealing, but it doesn’t change how students are learning. The teacher is still the center of the classroom and students are still taking it all in and regurgitating back on worksheets and tests. Learning hasn’t really changed so the results continue to stay the same.Students learn by doing. Students learn through making connections to things they already know. Students learn through discovery. Students learn when they are the center of their education. Technology lends itself naturally to this type of classroom. Technology enhances learning exponentially when introduced into a classroom where students are at the center of learning. Think about the most popular technologies with students today outside of the classroom. For elementary students those that top the list are Club Penguin and Webkins. For secondary students they are Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, and Twitter. What do these have in common? They are all social. Each of these tools invites communication and collaboration. Students aren’t interested in technology for the sake of technology, they are hooked by the increased ability to communicate ideas and work together. In the traditional classroom students complete work for one person: the teacher. There is very little communication after the paper has been handed back. What can technology do to make learning more of a collaborative effort? Web 2.0 tools (those online tools that invite communication and/or collaboration) make learning collaborative.Blogs, wikis, videos, slideshows, and websites can be used in the classroom as a place for students to create and share their work with a wider audience. This audience could be as small as a classroom and parents, or as large as the whole world. These online spaces make students the ‘experts’ and put them in charge of their own learning. They have a sense of ownership in their education. It isn’t about the teacher, it’s about them. Technology invites students to discover learning. Students today find very little value in memorization. It is no wonder that this is the case, many of them walk around with smart phones in their pockets. At any given time they can Google anything and be given thousands of resources that will answer their question. This introduces a new requirement of education. We must teach students to think critically about the information they find. Yes, they can Google anything, but will they know what information is factual and what information is bad? Technology allows students to experience things that they may not other wise have the opportunity to experience. For example, taking a virtual field trip to Egypt to see the pyramids, hear an archeologist speak, and ask the archeologist follow up questions. These experiences help students to make connections to their own lives that would not have been possible with note taking followed by a quiz.Technology alone will not change education and student learning. First, the classroom environment needs to change. We need classrooms that value student centered learning, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. We need classrooms that value learning. Our goal as teachers should not be to get our students to pass a test, but to teach them how to learn, unlearn, and relearn. Regardless of the technology being used in the classroom, students need these foundational skills to succeed in life. When partnered with this type of classroom, technology will increase student learning and performance. Before any school looks at hardware or software for the classroom, they need to set up a solid educational foundation. The expectation needs to be set that students will no longer be memorizers, they will be thinkers and creators.

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Make your own QR Code Scavenger Hunt!

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, Character Education, Classroom Management, collaboration, Fun & Games, Geography, History, inspiration, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools | Posted on 22-08-2011

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Today was the first day of school.  Ever.  It was pretty epic.  Since the students didn’t know where things were located in the building yet, I thought we would have some fun locating them with a QR code scavenger hunt.  It was SO easy to do, I thought I would share the process here.

1.  First I made a new website where each page of the website contained a clue.  I made my site with Weebly.com because it is SO easy to use.  I made the entire site in under 10 minutes.

2. Next I used goo.gl URL shortener to shorten the URL of each webpage and generate a QR code.  Just copy and paste the long Weebly URL into the goo.gl shortener and voila. A short Googlefied (that is a technical term) URL.  Click on “Details” next to the shortened URL to view your QR code.  I just dragged and dropped these QR codes into a Pages document so that they were all in one place for easy printing/copying.

3.  Print out QR code sheet and make enough copies for each classroom.  Because we have a 10-1 student-teacher ratio, I made up 10 clues to find.  Each student was in charge of one clue.  I cut up the QR code sheet so that each student had a little QR code clue card.

4.  Set students out on their mission.  Each student takes a turn using the Scan app to uncover the clue.  They read the clue out loud to their group and brainstorm what the answer could be.  When they thought they had the answer, they went to that place and took a picture of it using the camera app.  For example, one of our clues was: “The Grub Hub”, students went down to the kitchen and took a picture.

5.  When all pictures have been collected, students gather and add up the points they won.

*Below is my example of the QR code and website they were connected to.

This was a really easy activity to prepare for from a teacher perspective.  The impact was huge with the students.  They had a great time with this!

We used this hunt as a way for students to familiarize themselves with the layout of the new school but it would also be a great activity for a math scavenger hunt “Find an item that represents three times four”, or colors in art “This is the color you get when you mix yellow and blue”, or literature “find an object that represents this character in our novel”.  The list could go on and on if you use your imagination!  The QR codes are so easy to generate, students could use these for almost anything!

Comments (28)

[...] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Make your own QR Code Scavenger Hunt! [...]

I love this! Just before I came across your Twitter post with this link I had been pondering the idea of using QR Codes in the classroom; problems to solve in order to find the location of the next code etc, like a treasure hunt. Would you say that it was an academic success as well as being fun for the students? Also I wondered if the students could create the QR codes and clues themselves for their classmates to solve; perhaps an on going project, one student a day? I would really like to hear your opinion, I am so excited by your new school and the fact that you were able to go out and achieve it! I wish you all a world of success :)

[...] Make your own QR Code Scavenger Hunt! Source: ilearntechnology.com [...]

Looks like they had a great time! I had a similar activity planned, but I think I like your idea better. :) Thanks!

Using QR Codes to Engage! http://oldschoolteach.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/qr-treasure-hunt-generator-using-qr-codes-to-engage/

Great minds think alike Lisa :)

Yes, it was an academic success for us. The goal was to familiarize kids with the new school building and they can now find their way around (we also have new nicknames for every room thanks to the hunt!)
Yes, the students could definitely create these QR codes on their own. I used goo.gl which requires a Google account but there are lots of services that will make a QR code easily.

[...] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Make your own QR Code Scavenger Hunt! Source: ilearntechnology.com [...]

I saw your post on Twitter and thought I would try this activity. I now have a treasure hunt set up for my Grade 4s when they return to school on the 7th of September. They will love this. Thank you for sharing this great idea and for the wonderful directions you gave. I have never done anything like this before but you made it so easy. Thank you again.

[...] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Make your own QR Code Scavenger Hunt! RT @AngelynCheatham: Make your own QR Code Scavenger Hunt!- great step by step write up!! LOVE IT! Source: ilearntechnology.com [...]

[...] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Make your own QR Code Scavenger Hunt! Source: ilearntechnology.com [...]

[...] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Make your own QR Code Scavenger Hunt! Source: ilearntechnology.com [...]

[...] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Make your own QR Code Scavenger Hunt!–Today was the first day of school.  Ever.  It was pretty epic.  Since the students didn’t know where things were located in the building yet, I thought we would have some fun locating them with a QR code scavenger hunt.  It was SO easy to do, I thought I would share the process here. [...]

How fun! You will have to come back and let us know how it went!

[...] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Make your own QR Code Scavenger Hunt! Source: ilearntechnology.com [...]

What a brilliant idea! :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

I teach Family & Consumer Science.What about having THE STUDENTS create it for Kitchen Safety & Kitchen Terms or utencils?

Not sure how to get them started…The questions they would need to use??

Thinking,
Amy

Love it Amy! The students could come up with the questions to lead another group to answers?

[...] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Make your own QR Code Scavenger Hunt! [...]

I love all of these great ideas. We have used QR codes in planning meetings. I would live to extend this to the classroom however I teach 5th grade and most kids don’t have cell phones at that age-any ideas?

Hmm, we have 1 to 1 iPads which makes life easy in that capacity. Any iPod Touches (latest generation) in the building that your class could use?

Hi! I’m trying to create a QR code scavenger hunt for my kindergarten students… I’m a resource teacher, so I want it to include things that they are working on. Do you have any suggestions on how to do it? Fun sites to include, etc.?
Thanks!

I have lots on my page that are good for kindies (look at the first grade tab) http://tenkely.org

Have been doing some research on QR codes and creating a treasure hunt for work and article submissions. Was going to use the entire web as my hiding place for qr codes. The difficult part is designing the questions that are not super easy nor impossible to figure out. Thanks for the inspiration and idea’s.

You bet Nicolas, best of luck!

I love your idea. I am looking for to try it. It’s my first time that I am using QR code. Can you share a link of the website that you created for this activity? I just want to make sure that i fully understand how to set up this great activity.
Thank you so much for sharing!!!

The site doesn’t actually exist anymore, served it’s purpose and has been remade! Basically, I just created a page with Weebly.com for each clue that was given by QR code. The QR code was linked to the url with each clue.

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