Creativity and Innovation is ISTE’s first technology standard area for students. This standard asks students to “create original works as a means of personal expression” and “use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.”
The Functions and Trigonometry classes, led by Chris Lucas and Greg Zupek, used the free online graphing calculator Desmos to create works of art. The students used equations to create lines on a graph that came together to form beautiful works of art. (I apologize if my math terms are incorrect in describing this process!)
Each line and curve is created with a different equation. The Dia de los Muertos skull below by Alison Pogorelc was created using 158 separate equations!
After the artwork was created, the classes came together for a gallery walk to view and critique each other’s work. The class culminated in a fast -paced quiz game of Kahoot.
This is an excellent (and fun!) example of students using technology to learn content, exercise creativity, collaborate, and communicate with one another.
What is technology integration?
Teaching with a SmartBoard? Students using iPads? Skype? Chromebooks?
The answer is yes and no.
Those are all tools to provide the best learning opportunities for our students, but it is HOW we use them that matters.
Technology standards used to focus on the tools themselves. Now the focus is on skills and knowledge students need to thrive in a digital society. The International society for Technology in Education (ISTE) provides a well-recognized set of standards for “what students should know and be able to do to learn effectively and live productively in an increasingly digital world” (ISTE NETS for Students)
The six broad categories:
- Creativity and Innovation
- Communication and Collaboration
- Research and Information Fluency
- Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
- Digital Citizenship
- Technology Operations and Concepts
The emphasis here is on cognitive skills requiring students to plan, create, and innovate. When integration is done right, the technology itself falls away. It is what you are able to do with it that is in the spotlight.
Students can now explore the Taj Mahal using google Street View. They can learn about other cities, countries, and cultures through a Mystery Skype with another classroom. They can write for an authentic audience through an online newspaper or personal blog. They can quickly and easily research the answers to their own questions.
This is a big task, but it’s an exciting one! We are all at different levels of expertise and comfort with technology, and that’s ok. Let’s try something new together.
So this year, I challenge you to ask yourself what small step you can take to give your students an experience that was never possible before. Then let me help you make it happen.