Homework as Meaningful: “T if or Technology”
Homework: the pros and cons … a hotly debated topic among teachers and parents.
I actually believe in homework (see http://bit.ly/qMSR5X) as a means of encouraging the development of organizational skills and good study habits, for example.
So I found myself thinking about ways in which to ensure that homework assignments are meaningful; that they engage and extend students’ understanding of concepts presented in class.
…. Then I got to thinking: My students really(!) enjoy playing math games on the smart board, going on virtual field trips, etc. They log onto and play computer games, watch videos, etc. all the time … so why not combine the two? Why not combined educational computer games, virtual field trips, videos etc. with homework?
The next day I decided to put my idea to the test … I called my idea:
The idea is this:
Every Tuesday my students’ homework is now on the computer.
Last week for example they played a multiplication game (http://bit.ly/xczDzl), practiced long division (http://bit.ly/1Fp79E) and went on a tomb adventure in ancient Egypt (http://bit.ly/wQxVhw). The week before that they contributed to our Egypt Game Blog (that I had created and previous to this they had only used at school), played a division concentration game and watched a Study Jams video followed by an online quiz all about fractions (http://bit.ly/ArmkJB).
The students loved it, as did the parents! So now (as of last week) I have extended Technology Tuesdays to “T is for Technology”. Homework is now done on the computer on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
When I asked my students why they love “Technology Tuesdays” they listed many reasons, including the following:
1. “The games are fun and the videos are interesting.”
2. “Working on the computer gives me a break from using a pencil and paper. It gives my hands a rest.”
3. “Virtual field trips are great because I can visit places that I have never been before. I loved going inside a pyramid! It was dark and cool with secret passages. I liked going inside a museum and seeing artifacts. I loved seeing what everything looks like in “real life”. We can “go to” places that we have never been before.”
4. “The games and videos guide me so I can do things on my own. I didn’t have to ask for help with long division.”
5. “I use less paper, which saves trees. “T for Technology” is eco-friendly.”
Yay! We love “T is for Technology”!