Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Students on Pixie

Today was the second time my class has had a chance to explore Pixie this year. Knowing they have had a previous year's experience, I decided to ask them to practice two skills
(taking a picture with the camera feature and creating a text box with their name) and then give them time to experiment with tools of their choice as they created a label for their own book bin. I tried to begin our time with a mini lesson (using the camera button to take a photo, using the text box to type a name) then give independent time to experiment as they created their labels.

As they worked independently, I had one say "my computer is broken" when he was stuck. I chuckled to myself remembering feeling the same way back when I started understanding technology in college. Most kids asked each other questions (and me) when they were at a standstill but MANY of them naturally dove into trying buttons and features on their own. I was completely impressed with their problem solving.

At the end of workshop, we gathered to talk about new "tricks" they had learned. One boy showed the class how to use the paint brush to created 3-dimensional colors in the background. Another girl, showed us how to choose a shape around our face before taking a picture. The kids were dying to get up and share a new tool.

These labels (really, I just printed their creations as half- sheet) turned out to be such an expression of who the kids are. From the creative poses they used as they captured their images to the fonts they choose for their names, the kids were able to express themselves using technology.

I was surprised to hear one student ask if we would ever have a chance to just play when we visit the lab or pull out the laptops. In my mind, I thought I had given them time to play?? I answered "oh yes" but had to think about what didn't feel like play? Is he associating play with more competitive "video" games? Does he need to play with less boundaries on Pixie? His his question is really big for understanding how to balance learning and exploration. I need to ask him what he means (and I will tomorrow) For now, you'll have to imagine their expressive labels. I have attached mine but it is not nearly as creative as theirs.

1 comment:

Mike said...

I really liked your last paragraph. For my entire 30 years, the educational community has argued about the value of play, especially with technology. When I taught math, I planned play time for students with calculators and manipulatives just so I could say, "Okay, we're finished playing now." But I also believed they were learning while they played, if nothing else, about how the technology and manipulative worked. Aren't children learning whenever we purposely stimulate their brains?

Teacher Food