Tech-savvy kids play teachers

At Williamsville North High School, the students are teaching the teachers.

October 15, 2010

Tech-Savvy Kids Play Teachers

The gym at Williamsville North High School was packed. Tables with computers ringed the room as teachers went from station to station, quizzing students and reviewing projects.

But students weren’t learning anything. They were teaching.

At one station, a high school French teacher was asking 12-year-olds how to apply the digital poster program Glogster to her student assignments.

At another, a fifth-grade teacher grilled another set of middle-schoolers about how cheat-proof electronic clickers were when kids use them to complete classroom tests.

In an evolving era of interactive white boards, screencasting and wikis, teachers everywhere are finding it more and more challenging to keep up with the technology applications that are capable of reaching computer-savvy students in ways that pen and paper never could.

“There’s some teachers who really have a good grip on the technology, but there’s others who don’t,” said Bayli Schlierf, a seventh-grader whose group was showing teachers how they used screencasting to help peers solve a complex math problem. A classmate added, “Some teachers don’t even know how to turn on a projection screen.”

There’s no denying that a technology gap exists between students and their teachers, nor is there much debate about how much more interested students are in learning when digital tools and social technology principles are integrated in classroom lesson plans.

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