Thursday, August 9, 2012

CONFIRMATION: Technology in the Classroom

Technology is a tool, not a teacher!!

Some people think if you just let kids play with technology or if your lesson plan is full of technology that the kids will be entertained enough to pay attention.  This both is and isn't true.  Educational research indicates that while technological resources have the opportunity to enhance a lesson, there are still some things that provide greater learning, such as discussion, which requires both thought and interaction with the subject.  Nobody can think about anything for which they have no information and some things just need practice.  Students become better readers when they read and memory work just has to be memorized.  That being said, there are some great web resources out there that can enhance your confirmation class.

GloBible
Glo is an interactive Bible that brings the text of Scripture to life through HD videos, high-resolution images, articles, 360-degree virtual tours, and much more. Glo can be used by Mac or PC.  Research indicates that a picture really is worth a thousand words and that seeing something is far more stimulating educationally than just hearing it.  Use the atlas to see where the major stories of the Bible happened.  Use the map overlays, tours, photos and expert video.  Use the timeline to see where events happened in relation to other events.  The best way to get an idea of what it's like is to watch a YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW48IaPESsA.  Find the GloBible at http://www.globible.com/.

JeopardyLabs
This is a game template that allows you to create a customized Jeopardy game without PowerPoint. The games you make can be played online from anywhere in the world and if you use their simple editor, are easy to create.  These types of games are great for review or to find out what the students already know about specific topics.  Categories might be:  church history, Martin Luther or the reformation, Lutheran doctrine, Bible 101, Hodge Podge (anything), or Small Catechism.

EdGames - for MicroSoft programs
This site has customizable games to suit your curriculum that would be especially good for review.  The PowerPoint games will probably be most useful and there's also a timer that might be helpful for when you give students limited time to finish a lesson activity or write down memory work. 

WebQuest
A WebQuest is an inquiry-based lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web. Put simply, a web quest is a list of hyperlinks so it can be created in Word, PowerPoint, or even Excel. If you're going to call it a WebQuest, though, be sure that it is a quest for something and not an exercise that has no point. It should be an exercise in higher thinking and can take a lot of time to create.

To learn more about webquests go to http://www.webquest.org/index-create.php
To create a webquest go to http://questgarden.com/ or use a Google App.  Google has an easy template. Check one out what I created for Martin Luther.

For confirmation a webquest would be an activity that is assigned to be completed at home to prepare them for discussion the following week and should probably take no more than 15-30 minutes. It would be best used in the areas of historical inquiry, researching and understanding what other religions believe to compare and contrast to Lutheranism, etc. Students may use the webquest to gather information but the goal is to have them use it!

 (For more information about teaching confirmation, please ask for a copy of my graduate paper.)

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