Ranger Ready

Tech Thursday | 20 October 2016

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Naaman Forest High School teachers and students are really beginning to transform teaching and learning through technology integration. As teachers and students continue to use iPads in education, the digital tools they use must address the 4 Cs of "21st Century Skills" -- Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity.
What are the 4Cs?


Why This Matters?

Students who collaborate in online spaces to provide feedback “learn from each other, improve their work, and develop their skills,” making such interactions beneficial to students of all ability levels (Thomas et al., 2014).

Moving away from lecture-style teaching “allows teachers to pose gripping questions, problems, and challenges so compelling that students have to reach out to others to solve them using collaborative methods” that are more reflective of 21st century learning experiences (Wardlow, n.d.).

Live online chats can offer a fun, yet immersive educational environment—informally requiring both partners to participate and eliminating much of the fear of being judged or corrected (Chen & Eslami, 2013).

Because internet and social networking applications are not going anywhere and can be used on most any device (both in school and out), teaching students how to use web tools (even to those as young as pre-K) are likely to become a priority for schools (Ribble, 2012).

Digital writing assignments, like digital storytelling, can turn a student’s responses to an idea into an activity that allows him or her to “blend design, creativity, thoughtful expression, and technology skills” (Gresham, 2014).

Electronic portfolios allow students to personalize their work through dynamic links, provide opportunities for digital self-reflection and peer feedback, and offer ongoing storage, organization, and progress tracking (Meyer et al., 2010).

App for Communication

Adobe Spark Post is the fun and fast way for students to create stunning graphics for all occasions. Students can get started in seconds with professionally designed, eye-catching templates they can tweak in simple steps. They just pick a photo, add some text and apply themes to instantly create beautiful images. Each tap gives students completely new layouts, color palettes, typography styles and filters — no design experience required. Then they can easily share their design with peers or the teacher.


Why This Matters?

Students report that when they see their peers being creative in many different ways, they want to be like them (Gresham, 2014).

Researchers argue that collaborative writing, such as using services like Google Docs, “is one of the very few forms of group work that can prove to be as important to students’ work after college” as it is in their current classrooms (Vens, 2011).

Through digital media and social technologies children can communicate with others as close as another room in their home or school or as distant as varying continents. Mobile digital media allows them to learn anytime and anywhere and engage in communication with anyone (Barone, 2012).

Shared online documents allow students to communicate more openly on a personal level, providing teachers with a rich source of data to help them know students and their non-academic needs (Velasquez et al., 2013).

Apps for Collaboration

Sometimes students need to work on one document together at the same time. With Google Docs students can.The G Suite for Education allows students to create documents, presentations, and spreadsheets they can work on collaboratively with peers.

Critical Thinking

Why This Matters?

The urgency of using traditional skills, such as distinguishing sources and understanding plagiarism, have become heightened due to the overwhelming amounts of information available on the web (Microsoft Education Team, 2010).

When students participate in an authentic scientific experiment or investigation that calls for the use of technology, fluency in both scientific inquiry and innovative technologies are improved (Ebenezer et al., 2011).

The ability to solve problems and challenges enables young learners to develop the skills to enter a flexible workforce and compete in a global market (Gresham, 2014).

App for Critical Thinking

Students use Popplet to think and learn visually. By capturing facts, thoughts, and images, students learn to create relationships between them and generate new ideas.


Why This Matters?

Education is being transformed completely “into an experience rather than a thought process,” indicating that learning will become more focused on creative input and output (Gresham, 2014).

Digital simulations and games can provide “insights into the nuances and complexities of how students solve problems” (Bushweller, 2014).

Research indicates that the use of both words and pictures “lets the brain process more information in working memory” (SEG Research, 2008).

Students who create videos to communicate ideas in the classroom simultaneously partake in a process of self-reflection and monitoring (Henderson et al., 2010).

App for Creativity

With a streamlined design and intuitive Multi-Touch gestures, iMovie lets students enjoy their videos and tell stories like never before. Students can browse their video library, share favorite moments, create beautiful movies, and share them in Google Classroom. And with the iMovie extension, it’s fast and fun to make every video more memorable — right in the Photos app.