So what does an example of pedagogy first, technology second look like? A great place to start is teaching with a global mindset. Project for Awesome is a global endeavor run by The Green brothers (John and Hank - John wrote The Fault in Our Stars). In a nutshell, students read a novel and identify a key problem or issue that can be addressed via a charity (a real charity). As students practice textual analysis and evidence-based thinking, they create a 3-minute YouTube video describing and presenting their charity of choice. Students are encouraged to be creative and expressive in their video presentation. The charities include a myriad of topics, from world hunger and refugees, to animal shelters and cancer societies. These projects are completed around the world and students can respond to the YouTube videos. Check out the link Project for Awesome. How is that for a powerful and purposeful use of pedagogy first, technology second?
The Visual Thinking Strategy (VTS), a technique for analyzing pictures and other visual text, also works well with the pedagogy first, technology second philosophy. Among the many ways to implement this strategy, one in particular is to have students post a compelling, controversial, emotional, and/or thought provoking picture to a school/classroom website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media outlet. The three questions for every picture are as follows: 1) What is going on in this picture? 2) What do you see that makes you say that? 3) What more can we find? This technique can be used to generate conversations within a global context via online chats, webinars, podcasts, Skype, social media, and other digital media. The fun part is how competitive and adept students become at reasoning, critical thinking, analysis, dialogue, debating, reflecting, and finding the most awesome pictures that foster these deep conversations. You can learn more from the link Visual Thinking Strategies. The New York Times, through The Learning Network, provides additional examples of VTS in practice and allows readers to post their comments about a picture.
Let's try VTS for ourselves! What is going on in this picture? What do you see that makes you say that?
What more can we find?
What might be some global implications from this picture? All of these great questions for one picture! Just imagine facilitating this strategy throughout the year - students would be more than prepared to engage in rich dialogue and discussion. Okay readers, I think I have given you enough to ponder in regards to pedagogy first, technology second. Please share your ideas as well. Remember, Leonard Nimoy says, “The more we share, the more we have." Cheers! :)