3. Social studies is critical to students’ lives beyond the classroom–educators should use every possible tool to engage students in this critical discipline. Stacey Higgins, a fourth grade team leader at Forest Lake Elementary School, engages students with a host of exciting digital resources that help students connect their lessons to the real world. Those digital social studies tools help Higgins enhance her delivery of instruction and expand students’ knowledge of the country’s history.
4. Minecraft Education is a perfect example of taking a digital resource students already love and using it for learning. “When kids use Minecraft in the classroom, they’re so engrossed in what they’re doing that they forget they’re actually learning,” said technology specialist Kristen Brooks of the Cherokee County School District. “Students excel in their learning when they’re encouraged to create projects in a style or format they prefer.”
5. Virtual reality and 3D can be instrumental in helping students develop durable skills. Once a novel technology, the current mindset seemed to be that VR was just another toy used to consume games and other media. Megan Bateman, a technology/media literacy specialist, art specialist, and data/intervention specialist in Minnesota was not looking to use VR to gamify her classroom. She wanted her students to be able to use virtual reality as a medium for developing the higher-order thinking skills that are critical for thriving in today’s digitally connected society. To push students past the consumption mindset, she developed an immersive design adventure that awakened and inspired the 4Cs of learning: creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.
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