￼One hundred thirty miles up the road, Newell-Fonda students run not just one but multiple online news channels, make bullying preven- tion videos, and use blogs in Public Speaking class to express their voice and reach authentic audiences. Composition students use Twitter to contact (and then profile) professionals who have made a difference in their fields. English students collaborate with other schools on a Romeo & Juliet project. Spanish students interact yearlong with peers at a school in Brazil. Science students collect data with Vernier probes in preparation for building their own biosphere models.
Near the Minnesota border, the students in Spirit Lake model politicians’ Twitter usage as part of their mock election campaigns, use their laptops to participate in the Lexus Eco Challenge, and employ various social media channels to encourage reusable water bottle use by the student body. Elementary students are collaborating — and co-writing books — with classrooms in Canada, Georgia and Hawaii. Middle school Language Arts students contact and videoconference with CNN Heroes.
Further east, Waverly-Shell Rock students use their iPads to make digital picture books to help younger peers with essential science concepts like ‘force and motion.’ They check out library resources using QR codes and create standards-based art portfolios which then are shared using Flickr and Facebook. They co-host local Parent iPad University workshops and make movies reinforcing healthy behaviors. They use CAD software and 3D printers to help create award-winning community-based projects.
All of these districts are technologically progressive. But many other districts in Iowa also are doing interesting and powerful things with digital learning tools. Do you have some #edtech stories to tell? I bet you do. Please submit at http://bit.ly/shareyouredtechstory and I’ll share in a future column. I’m looking forward to seeing what you’re doing!
Dr. McLeod currently serves as the Director of Innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Iowa. Visit his website: http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org.