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What is the Reward?

At Deploy Learning, we think about the role that technology plays in classrooms every day.  It is refreshing to see that most classrooms these days have moved awayfrom the idea of tech as a reward… for example,  you can watch videos on the iPad when you have finished reading a chapter in a book. Regardless of how you are using it, how is that technology working for you? What is your real reward of using technology in your classroom? 

As a former film teacher, I can recall the many occasions where people looked at my program as kids running wild with video cameras.  While true at times, those moments when students were constructing their videos was the culmination of a week of planning and work so that their idea would pay off. My favourite parts of “running wild with cameras” were the laughter you could hear bouncing off the walls of the school coupled with the fact that recording video was just the beginning.  Those laughs you heard had stories behind them like the ”oh crap, that didn’t work” laugh,the “I feel really vulnerable around my peers” chuckle, or the “we rule because this video will be amazing” confident guffaw.  

To me the hard work came when they returned to the classroom and began piecing together a story, reluctantly giving up on shots that they were attached to and the realization that they had to ask me for more time to reshoot.  Oh, the noise those brains made while cranking out decision after the decision was the real reward for me.  

I was reminded of all that when a great friend, collaborator and creativity educator, Monica Martinez, shared her Instagram carousel post called  “What are the skills creatives achieve when designing?”. Beyond the beautiful graphics she created is a message that I think is missed by many when considering the role creativity, design, or even video play in the classroom.  The deep learning and skills students acquire will pay off so many times across their education and, of course, into their careers.  

The post inspired me last week in a way I didn’t expect.  I bought a drone and decided to make movies for myself again.  So when my 3 year old daughter asked me if we could fly “the helicopter” at the park,  I was inspired by Monica’s work to do something that I hadn’t done in years. I made a movie to capture joy… in this case, it is the joy my little kids bring me. 

This was a challenge. Learning to use a new piece of technology like this drone to tell a story was a bit stressful for me. Add this to the vulnerability of unpacking an old skill again. Then mix in that I just shared it with you. The result is the ticking off some of those rewards that Monica shares in her poster.

I think that as teachers, we forget to challenge ourselves with these tools and learn to capture the joy we get from teaching. Maybe it is time to dust off those creative cogwheels in your brain and design something that will reward us all. Using a pencil or a stylus or a drone, it comes down to using the technology at our disposal to get busy creating rewards.

How do you begin to bring that into a curriculum so jam-packed with requirements? How do you start when you, the teacher, don’t have the background? Well, you just do. You pick a lesson and go for it. Or send us an email and we will guide you along the way. Expect to get dirty because rewards are best when earned.

-Jim

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