Technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories.
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a lecture and discussion by Genevieve Bell, vice president of Intel’s Corporate Strategy Office. No, she wasn’t going to explain her patents for consumer electronic innovations (though she apparently holds several). Bell leads a team of social scientists and designers who travel the world to learn how people relate to electronics and use their findings to shape technologies of the future.
Because she is Intel’s resident cultural anthropologist, her work is about how technologies affect our relationship with time, space, and each other. Fascinating, right? You have no idea!
In Genevieve Bell’s words, she is a “storyteller” who helps people understand where technology is going. “That has become a very complex story,” she says. “We have mobile technology, fixed technology, information technology, technology infrastructure. What anxieties do people have around new technologies and how can we address them?” Bell describes herself as a futurist: “How do you think about the future? I think you have to think exquisitely and critically about the present. “
One of the things I loved about her work is her insistence that words and labels matter. For example, she was hired to be “Director of User Experience.” Her working group of 100 social scientists and designers travel the globe, observing how people use technology in their homes and in public. She changed their name to “People and Places.” Dr. Bell explained, “You have to understand people to build the next generation of technology.”
The practical application of her work to education struck me again and again as I listened to her speak of her work. She notes that in her assessments, she never asks, Does this technology help make you more productive? “That’s the wrong question,” she insists. “We’re asking too many of the wrong questions.”
She has two key questions she asks people about the new technologies she is testing:
Does this make you feel more connected?
Do you feel fulfilled?
I am adding these two questions to the top of my assessment list. After listening to more of Genevieve Bell’s stories and ideas, I am adding one more: Was it time well spent? These questions can be a guide as we observe children using any app or program in the classroom.
This week we look at technology in classrooms. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
Ruth Shagoury is a professor emeritus at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She blogs with her daughter Meghan Rose about children’s books at www.litforkids.com.
Free for All
[For sneak peeks at our upcoming features, quotes and extra links, follow Choice Literacy on Twitter: @ChoiceLiteracy or Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChoiceLiteracy or Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/choiceliteracy/]
It’s impossible to master all the new technology resources available in classrooms, and fortunately we don’t have to. Katherine Sokolowski enlists peers as tech experts in her fifth-grade classroom:
Franki Sibberson shares many excellent tech resources for literacy teachers on her Technology Learning Pinterest board:
Kevin Hodgson’s students use technology as one tool in creating peace posters — they are definitely a “quilt of love to the world,” and the post is even more moving when you realize it was shared early in the day of the Paris attacks:
David Cutler at Edutopia has suggestions for how teachers can model constructive behavior online:
For Members Only
We spend a lot of time in elementary classrooms matching students to “just-right” books. Katrina Edwards uses similar principles to help her first-grade students pick Just-Right Apps. The essay includes a downloadable chart of appropriate literacy apps for young learners:
A daunting task for teachers is to help students learn to use new tech tools, as well as understand community standards for each one. Katherine Sokolowski finds Tech Anchor Charts are a great way to provide ongoing support to students as they navigate new software and apps:
Ruth Ayres explains why filtering is one of the most important concepts writers need to understand in this social media age, and she shares a simple lesson and chart for teaching students how filtering works:
In this week’s video, Jason DiCarlo leads a lesson in third grade on character traits. This is the first video in a three-part series:
In an encore video, Franki Sibberson works with a group of students who want to create a collaborative blog of author interviews. The discussion reveals some of the challenges of blog writing, including consistent posting and developing topics that might endure over time:
That’s all for this week!