I do not have a computer in my classroom. None of the classrooms in my school do. Our population has access to computers in their homes and we feel that in our little red schoolhouse, we want them to play, see, smell, touch, listen to and taste real materials.
That said I do use technology with my projects as one source of information. We talk a great deal about how we can learn and the different resources we can use. When we are in the midst of a project and technology can help us with one of our wonderings, I bring it in.
An example occurred today. One of my fellow teachers who knows we have been investigating questions about winter animals-the latest project that emerged, sent me a link to a great article. Scientists have created simulated bear caves and have footage of bears snoring. We made a cave in our our classroom and we are in the middle of preparations for the play, Bear Snores On. This article was perfect for us.
I played the snoring from my laptop and had the students listen a couple of times and make predictions as to what creature made the sound. Then I skimmed the article for them into language they could understand and showed them the pictures. They felt like cutting edge scientists as they had made a bear cave of their own. It was fascinating for them to hear that you can grow up and have a real job building bear caves.
We also had been reviewing our project web to see if we had any questions left unanswered or if they had any to add. We realized that we still had a question about what raccoons eat. The children were curious if they ate bunnies.
We couldn’t find it in any of the non-fiction books we had in class about animals, so I showed them how I typed the question into the computer and the raccoon information that came up. We read the paragraph about what raccoons eat.
Today I learned along with my class, that raccoons do eat small animals, but they do not eat bunnies.
And my class learned that technology is one way to help us answer our questions.